Tuesday, January 31, 2019

Woke this morning with sore hands after driving 380 miles and moving furniture.

Lots of stuff to keep us busy in the office. President Grayson needs a new apartment by the February 20th transfer for Spanish speaking elders in Augusta. Found a potential and the zone leader looked at it and thought it would be OK. Looks like Thursday we'll be back on the road to have a look and deliver a new dryer to Beaufort, SC and new mattresses in the same vicinity.

A couple of sisters called today to ask what to do with a full bucket of water under their sink. Last week they called complaining about a leak in the kitchen. I said put a bucket under it and call the apartment manager. Today, I told them to take the bucket to the bathroom, pour it into the bathtub, put it back under the leak, and I would call the manager.

Tom Ridgeway, a member of the Macon Ward, blind from birth, a marvelous musician, taught music, math and braille at the local blind school, came this evening and tuned the piano. Did I talk about the piano? In looking for various household stuff, we went to a local Salvation Army store. It had three pianos. The Baldwin looked to be in excellent condition. All the keys worked and weren't broken or stained. The inside looked good. I didn't buy it the first time but decided to go back. The price was $89.99 but because it had been in the store more than ten days, eleven to be exact, I got a 10% discount. The APs (assistants to the President Grayson) helped me move it. Tom said it appeared to have been played very little—the hammers weren't wore at all. Who would have thought one could go to the mission field and get a great piano.

Monday, January 30, 2019

Up and leave early. Get the mission pickup, hookup the trailer and head for Moultrie, GA, 2 and a half hours south of Macon. Arrive at 11 AM. Drive to the back of the apartment house where the missionaries live and lived. We're cleaning out and closing an apartment. Spent a half an hour getting the pickup and trailer turned around in the parking lot. First time for some things even at 74.

With lots of help from the missionaries we got the furniture moved down the stairs and into the trailer except for a decrepit dining table and coffee table that I was wondering how to get on the trailer until a neighbor in the building came along. When I offer the tables to him, he was delighted, excited, etc. It seems his hobby is restoring old furniture. My first good deed of the day.

Had a late lunch with the elders and moved on to Nashville, GA. The sisters there had an extra bed. Onto the trailer and onto Douglas, GA.

Four sets of missionaries, the zone leaders, the Spanish elders, a pair of sisters and a threesome of sisters live in the same complex with the same complaint—dirty carpets. We had been trying all afternoon to reach a carpet cleaner, Enviro-Clean. Finally, late in the afternoon, he called. Seems he had been called for jury duty. Anyway, Chris, the Enviro-Clean guy, came by the apartments, we struck a deal for all four, paid him and decided to head for Macon as the sun was setting.

Stoped at Happy Huddle for some supper. I don't know maybe I'm still learning Southern and Happy Huddle means some kind of slow. Upshot—we got back to the office after 10 PM.

Sunday, January 29, 2019

Drove to Forsyth, meet the sister missionaries, drove to an investigator's home, picked up Patricia, a blind grandmother, Skyler, one of her granddaughters, drove to the stake center in southern Macon, attended meeting, drove back to Forsyth, took the long way home, took long naps.

We were impressed with how solicitous Skyler, 15, was of her grandmother. The special musical number was Eric Binkhuvesen playing the viola accompanied by Tom Ridgeway. Tom is blind, a well known local pianist, and agreed to come this week to tune the piano.

Saturday, January 28, 2019

Cleaned the floor in the living room, moved the furniture around several times until Dorothy was satisfied, got a new rug and moved the furniture again.

We went to see the movie, Hidden Figures, about three black women who had significant influence on the math, computer programming, and engineering in the race to space and the moon. Great movie, great story, great acting.

Friday, January 27, 2019

More office work. Made plans to go to Moltrie to close an apartment.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Today was Elder and Sister Finlinson's last day. We all had lunch together at Joy's Home-cooking Buffet, took some pictures, and the headed out to Dallas, TX and then to Utah.

Got a handle on some of the paperwork. We're going to have to go about three hours south Monday to get furniture out of an apartment and clean it. The last day we have the apartment is the 31st. Hopefully, in the future, we have time to plan better and not have to close up apartments on such short notice

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Back in the office. Each day a little more aware of what we're doing and when I say little, it's very little but each bit helps.

There was a broadcast from the missionary committee in Salt Lake City that we all attended. Here is a picture of the missionaries in the Macon area less Elder Finlinson, nobody could find him, Dorothy and I:

They are, left to right:

Back row: Sister Smith, Elder Ray, Elder Ballard, Elder Lovell, Elder Parkin, Elder Jensen;
Front row: Sister Finlinson, Sister Lloyd, Sister Dayton, Sister Goff, Sister Jensen, Sister Jackson, Sister Poynter

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

10 hours of cleaning. Not what I imagined missionary work to be. The Elder and Sister Finlinson are leaving for Utah and Sister Goff is taking over their apartment. They had left it clean but we felt it needed a really deep clean so we recruited Sisters Lloyd, Smith and Dayton, the Macon Sisters, to help and scrubbed every surface, washed all the dishes replacing a bunch, and purchased or got from the housing storage locker a bunch of stuff. I'm exhausted.

Monday, January 23, 2017

We accomplished work today! Wrote letters, answered calls, and got a start on a way to file information by missionary apartments.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Elder Cordón spoke again and told a story of his youth. His father had a factory in Guatemala and he was required to work when he wasn't in school. He was the middle boy and, while his brothers were required to work, they often went home across the street and played instead when their father wasn't around. He usually resisted joining them but one day he didn't, resist, that is. Shortly his father came home with a gift for him, a watch. He was the only student in his school with a watch. His father said it was because he was so good at working when his brothers often were playing. He likened it to our Heavenly Father. Sometimes he blesses us because we been good. Other times he blesses us because we're his children. The Grace of Christ is his gift because we're his children.

One of our assignments in the mission is to go to church in Forsyth, north of Macon. There is an dependent group of the Macon Ward that meets there. Elder and Sister Finlinson, who are leaving Friday, have had that assignment. They had picked up the four missionaries serving there and brought them to Stake Conference and invited us along when they took the missionaries back to Forsyth this afternoon just so we could see where the group meets and where the missionaries live. The Finlinsons are from Delta, UT and he knows what a trilobite is.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

It been taking an effort to get everything into place and we've bought a few things to enhance the apartment, a couple of rugs, food storage containers, etc.

This weekend is the Macon Stake conference. The visiting authority is Valeri V Cordón of the Seventy. Delightful speaker. Saturday evening he spoke of losing a generation of members and likened it to how language is lost from one generation to the next. He ask, "How many of you have German ancestry?" Several people raised their hands. Then he ask, "How many of you speak German?" None did. Typically, the second generation and certainly the third generation of immigrants lose their native tongue. It's the same with the gospel. Unless parents model the behaviors of the gospel, prayer, scripture reading, sabbath observance, fasting, and paying of tithes, they can hardly expect their children to exhibit those behaviors. If children don't hear the language of the gospel in the home, they will lose that language as well.

After the session, Sister Grayson had all of the missionaries gather in the Relief Society room for a picture with Elder Cordón. A sister missionary walked in and I thought, "Gee, she looks familiar." Then I looked at her tab, Sister Jex. Turns out she is a sibling to Keri Jex, late of Lancaster Ward, and Elder Jex, a former missionary in the Lancaster Ward. Small World!

Friday, January 20, 2017

We met President and Sister Grayson today and got our official assignments. For me:

For Dorothy:

Our interview with them was way too short but other missionaries were waiting in the wings. Pres. Grayson is a pharmacist who had his own business in Louisiana for some thirty years. They joined the church early in their marriage and raised their four children in the gospel.

It been very warm and severe storms are forecast for tomorrow. Temperatures have been in the high seventies. The Saucer magnolias and star magnolias are both blooming and we saw daffodils.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Meet with Elder Grigsby, the current housing coordinator in the Georgia Macon Mission, and began to get a sense of what the scope of the housing coordinator is responsible for. Among other things it means learning to drive a pickup pulling a trailer. Pulling is no so bad. It's the backing up that scares me.

The housing coordinator not only get apartments but furnish and maintains them as well—all of the furniture, appliances, etc. This frees the young elders and sisters to proselyte and teach.

Elder Grigsby took Dorothy and I out to introduce us to one of the vendor he uses for furniture for missionary apartments. Harvey buys used furniture from hotel chains and has an old cotton mill full of castoffs. We got a couple of additional items for our apartment including a floor lamp, two end tables, a mirror, and two pictures. Elder Gribsby hangs mirrors and pictures with Command hooks of, in this case, Command Velcro strips. This reduces the damage to walls and is easy to install.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cleaned, lined shelves, moved stuff onto shelves. Really exciting stuff but necessary to get the apartment into a condition in which we can live cleanly and efficiently.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Met Jim and Susan Wyman for lunch in Cartersville, GA. We enjoyed two hours of getting reacquainted talking about their mission and our various kids.

Arrived at the Georgia Macon Mission home at 5:20. Elders Grigsby and Jensen were waiting for us outside the door. Had supper with all of the missionaries at the office and them they took us to our new home, two bedrooms, two baths, two walk-in closets, kitchen (small), dining room, and living room. Did some unpacking, shopping, collapsed.

Monday, January 16, 2017

First breakfast with Abby and her eight kids. I kidded Josey about seeing him in less than two years. He asked, "Is your mission over?" The last time I saw him just before we left for California in December and he said, "I wouldn't see you for two years."

Phebe just wanted to sit on my lap and eat off my plate. We're going to miss seeing our grandchildren.

As soon as we left the MTC, I was suddenly the object of some curiosity because I was dressed nicely, dark suit, white shirt, tie, but mostly the name tag, Elder Chadwick, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In elevators, at checkouts, everywhere, people notice the name tag. Some comment. The executive director of the JCs sat between Dorothy and I on the plane from Chicago to Philadelphia. The first thing he said, "No need to proselyte, I'm one of you." Our waitress, Tammy, in Bristol, VA was so excited to see us. She had lived for a while in Petersburg, Alaska where there are a number of Mormons and she had been welcomed and treated well. We gave her the address of the nearest chapel. I asked if there were still rooms available at a Holiday Express. The response, "Of course, anyone with Jesus Christ on their lapel can get a room."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Another late morning. Thankfully. Joined Sara at the York Ward meeting. Repacked preparatory to travel tomorrow.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

We slept in. We met Sara at the Philadelphia Temple to do an endowment session. I talked to Blaine and Dawn Shahan and Dorothy talked to Eileen Swavely. It was wonderful to see ward members if only a brief hub and hand shake.

The three of us meet Toby at a Brazilian restaurant north of Philly and ate way too much meat.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Today was a travel day: Salt Lake City to Philadelphia where Sara's picking us tomorrow. We had the taxi take us to the wrong hotel so we talk a couple of blocks to the second wrong hotel and, finally, a block and a half later we got to the right hotel—or at least the hotel with our reservation.

For supper we went to this small noisy Greek restaurant, Opa, at 1311 Sansom St. in Philadelphia. Marvelous food. We shared five dishes, a selection of olives, a soup, a beet salad, blue fish with mashed sweet potatoes with parsnips, and baklava.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Last day at the MTC. Ready to go, sorry to go, anxious to go, will miss the MTC.

The office training group we've been in scattered to their various assignments: Elder and Sister Schow to Africa, Elder and Sister Smith to South American, Elder and Sister Flockhart to England, Elder and Sister Webb to Arizona, and Elder and Sister Chadwick to Georgia.

The MTC was a wonderful experience to meet other missionaries and get to know them, both young and senior.

We had a farewell dinner with Summer, Jake, Rachel, Jason, and Heather. Getting to know Jake and Jason was great, two special young men married to special young young women.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

More computer training. The scope of what we're going to be doing just seems to get bigger and bigger.

Russ Runtin from church headquarters talked about cars and missionaries. There are approximately three missionaries killed in auto crashes each year and church leadership is doing everything they can think of to reduce that. Missionaries must qualify to drive. All drivers receive special mission driving training. If you have more than one incident you must take additional training and may have to wait nine months to even take the training. All church vehicle have TIWI installed. If you don't put on your seat belt, it reminds you until you do. If you speed, it tells you to slow down. If you take a corner or brake to fast, it asks you take it easy. Moreover, it records incidents that you response too slowly to to the mission office. You can only have one such incident per transfer (a six week period) your driving status goes from green to orange. If in two transfer you have an incident in each, you must retake the training. Three incidents and you are suspended for two transfers. If you have a fourth incident, you lose your driving privileges. In addition, each companionship has one individual who is the designated driver and only he/she is permitted to drive. Sounds tough but saving one missionary makes it worthwhile.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We learned more of the details and responsibilities we'll have in Georgia and the software, IMOS, that is used to manage and monitor missionary assignments, housing and car. The magnitude of the job is beginning to sink in.

Neil L. Anderson, an apostle, spoke this evening at the devotional. He talked of three subjects:

Then he bore his witness of the living Christ and His atonement.

In talking about missionary service, he called Elder Uceda of the Seventy to speak of his call to be a mission president. We asked if we might might Elder Uceda. His nephews, Juan and Mario, were teenagers with our kids on Staten Island while I was branch president.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Today was our first day of office training. I was chosen as the leader for our new training district of five couples because I was seated closest to the computer the trainer uses and hadn't been a district president last week. My responsibility is to pick a song for each of two session daily and assign an opening and closing prayer and a spiritual thought for each session.

In introducing the week, our instructor, Bro. Hewlett, quoted Joseph B. Wirthlin:

No matter who we are—no matter our talents, abilities, financial resources, education, or experience—we all can serve in the kingdom. He who calls us will qualify us for the work if we will serve with humility, prayer, diligence, and faith.

I liked that.

We saw the talk about the character of Christ Elder Bednar gave on Christmas Day, 2011 at the MTC again this evening. I understand how much still needs to be done personally to be more Christ like.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

We attended an international branch for Sacrament Meeting this morning. The members were 27 young missionaries from non-English speaking countries going to English speaking missions. (The senior missionaries were instructed to sit in the back and be quiet.) Each young missionary is asked to prepare a talk and then two of them deliver their talks. Thus these young missionaries have, by the time they leave the MTC, several talks that they can deliver in the language of their mission.

The sister that spoke is from Mongolia going to an Australian mission, the elder from Samoa going to a mission in California mission.

Supper with the granddaughters: Summer and Heather made fruit salad and beef stew but the pièce de résistance was sour dough bread. I had three pieces. Dessert was chocolates made by Rachel and Jason.

This evening's devotional speakers were Kelly and Kathy Mills. He is the Director of Training for all 15 MTCs world wide. Delightful, fun couple. He served as a young missionary and later as the Mission President in Japan. His take away: "You can not bring someone closer to the Lord without coming along yourself."

Saturday, January 7, 2017

We said goodby to most of the senior couples, there are only three couples left, ourselves, Webb, and Hockisson. Webbs are going to be office specialist with us next week, Hockisson, serving their fourth mission, go to Salt Lake Monday and then to Des Moines to learn how to use a new scanner they'll be using in Gainsville, FL to digitize county records.

The Hockisson told about, in a previous mission, finding the original extermination order signed by Gov. Boggs to drive the Mormons out of Missouri while they were scanning other records.

Washed clothes, napped and generally relaxed.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Our last day of "Preach My Gospel" training. One of today's activities was TRC, Teaching Resource Center. A local volunteer can in and we had 15 minutes to get acquainted with them, 10 minutes to prepare a lesson, and 20 minutes to present the lesson to them. All of the volunteers were active members of the church. (The MTC is a closed campus and you need a temple recommend to be on campus.)

The member we meet was Karen Lee Orton. She is in a motorized wheelchair. She has lost six children and been in a coma for five months from a brain injury. She was such a sweet spirit and we fell in love with her instantly. I don't know how adequate our lesson was but it was a teaching experience for Dorothy and I.

The very last thing presentation of our training was a video of a missionary couple, the Wymans, who served in the Pacific Northwest. They are from Atlanta, Georgia. They appeared on the screen and I poked Dorothy and said, "That's Susan!" It was a couple we knew in New Hampshire in the 1970s.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Yesterday, we had pictures taken. Here is the group of senior missionaries of which we're a part:

Fifty-six total. Three couples are from east of the Mississippi, several from the West Coast and the balance from Utah and Idaho. Oh, one single sister from Colorado. Their backgrounds vary from a pet crematorium owner to a university provost. It has been a great experience to learn to know them a little and learn gospel and missionary lessons together. They are going to places as diverse as the county of Jordan to the Polynesian Center in Hawaii.

We've met part of the time as a large group and part of the time as groups of eight. Our group included Dorothy and I, of course, the Allens on our left in the bottom photo, The Browns, third from the right in the middle photo, and Sisters Carlston and Allred, the two sisters on the right middle in the top photo.

Our instructors in the small groups have been Sister Jonk and Sister Peterson. They are wonderful teachers.

We went to the Provo City Center Temple last night. Elder Smith, second from the right in the bottom photo, arranged a van to take and pick up ten of us. He had family names that Dorothy and I did endowments for.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The training coordinator, Nichelle Yazzie, told us the story of her grandparents conversion. He was Hopi who was slated to be a snake dance priest but an uncle had a dream in which two messengers came to call him to a different religion. Then he married a Navajo and was thus twice rejected by his tribe. Sister Yazzie's mother was Anglo. I couldn't help thinking that our half Navajo granddaughters might one day be making similar contributions to the gospel.

There is a book store at the MTC that has books, snacks, drug store items, stationary, etc. I wanted some gum and couldn't find any. When I asked, this supercilious clerk said, "Missionaries are not allowed to chew gum, page 42 of the Missionary Handbook. That's why we don't sell gum." Well I looked on page 42 and it says," Do not do anything that is inappropriate or offensive, such as chewing gum in public." I think maybe he was stretching the admonition a bit.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I am so impressed by our trainers. They are recently returned missionaries with knowledge and testimonies of the gospel. The teach with conviction and power.

Every Tuesday evening there is a devotional with a general authority. As many as desire may be part of the choir so I did. We rehearsed Sweet Hour of Prayer but the rehearsal was much more. Elder Egbert, the director spent more time teaching principles than rehearsing the choir.

I sat between elders going to Korea. During the time after the choir practiced and the beginning of the devotional, they studied flash cards. The got out their Korean song book and sang in Korean the hymns before the meeting and the opening and closing hymns. Only the choir hymn did they sing in English. Great dedication on their part.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Today was orientation and initial training. We learned our purpose as missionaries:

Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

We meet all of the other senior missionaries, 56 in total, among some 1,100 young missionaries.

The highlight of the day was a video of a talk Elder Bednar gave at the MTC on Christmas Day in 2011 regarding the Character of Christ. He told us to learn and live the character of Christ. The lesson: stop whining, study, ponder, pray, and serve your fellow men.

Dorothy and I in front of the world map at the MTC


Sunday, January 1, 2017

We arrived at the MTC mid-afternoon, got our badges so we're officially missionaries, got our room for the next two weeks, unpacked, and went to supper. At supper we meet the Rollins from Virginia going to Jordan as humanitarian missionaries and the Hovinghoffs from Washington going to the Colorado Fort Collins mission.

On Sunday evening, a devotional is held for all the missionaries at the MTC. Elder Hemingway of the Church Missionary Proselyting Department spoke. He made four points regarding missionary work:

  1. Missionary work is the work of the Lord;
  2. Missionary work is a work of faith;
  3. The purpose of missionary work is to teach repentance and baptize; and
  4. Nothing happens in missionary work until you teach.

He emphasized the importance of finding people to teach, first by exercising faith and, second, by asking the right question: Who do you know that would be interested in and benefit from this message?

Some first impressions

There are missionaries of every size, shape, and color here in the MTC. There are a group of missionaries whose assignment is in the MTC. They have limitations that would make it problematic for them to serve a normal proselyting mission but here to answer phones and chat on-line and do excellent work. Two of them presented a musical number at the beginning of the devotional, an elder accompanied a sister who sang most beautifully.

The food is institutional but OK.