Sunday 24 September 2017

This is a catch up. I had a moment to work on the pictures from earlier in the month. On Friday, September 15, we cleaned out an apartment in St George, took furniture to an apartment that is reopening for sister missionaries, stayed overnight in Savannah, did a couple of mission errands on Saturday and then went for a tour of the First African Baptist Church, which we were unable to do earlier, and went to the beach.

Here is a quote from the church's flyer:

The First African Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia, the oldest black church in North America, was established when the Baptist Church was laying its foundation in America. The "Heroic Age" of George Leile marks the beginning of the church in 1773. He constituted the church December of 1777 and thus became the first pastor.

The congregation of the First African worshiped in four different locations before laying the foundation of the fifth and present site, located at 23 Montgomery Street on Franklin Square. They pooled their personal savings of $1500 that could have been used to purchase their freedom to instead purchase the land and wooden structure from the First Baptist Church in 1832. Their sacrifice was made after responding to the gospel preached by the third pastor, Rev. Andrew Cox Marshall. The congregation worshiped 23 years in the old wooden structure before commencing construction on the present building in 1855. The church mostly enslaved members worked on the surrounding plantations all day and built the church at night, completing it in 1859. The edifice is rated excellent in architecture and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is the first building constructed of brick in the State of Georgia owned by Blacks. For years it was known as the "Brick Church."

Religious symbols mark the area where slaves hid while awaiting safe passage on the Underground Railroad. The church houses a 1834 Henry Erben pipe organ which was installed in 1888. The church also houses the first museum in any black church. It contains archives and memorabilia that date back to the early 1800s. First African organized the first credit union in a black church in 1954.

First African Baptist, being a survivor of the Revolutionary War, became a thriving and continuous congregation through the Civil War and Reconstruction period. The church played a strong and vital role for the Black community during the 1960s and remains a standing monument for the role she play in rendering service to the least, the last, and the lost.

Now some of the pictures:

The front of the sanctuary:
Plaques on the right: Plaques on the left:
Details of the plaques (The rule is, only take pictures with people in them.):  
This is an older altar made of gopher-wood, like Noah's ark (Oops, forgot the rule.):  
This quilt details information about the underground railroad: Here is the interpretation (The part covered by the reflection says, "Story of the Underground Railroad.):

I took a page from daughter Amy and rather than haul a bunch of shells from the beach, I took a picture instead:

Of course, Sister Chadwick also collected some which she brought home to put in a jar.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

As I mentioned, Walmart canceled a bike order and I made arrangements for the elder to get a loaner bike. His parents purchased a bike from another source and Sister Chadwick and I went to Warner Robins to pick it up. On the way there is a boiled peanut stand at a filling station. We stopped and bought $3 worth. Boiled peanuts are usually served hot but these were cold. Boiled peanuts have a very soft, almost custard like consistency and, in this case, are very salty. It's a southern thing and an acquired taste.

We saw the following on the back of a very beat up Chevy pickup, "Speed kills, drive a Ford and live forever." I got it right away, Sister Chadwick took a moment.

Week, 13 to 19 September 2017

First I should mention I did a stupid thing. During Irma, I parked the car in a mall lot across the street from our apartment complex then coming back, I decide it would save a minute or two if I took a short cut. I lost control coming down the steep slope and fell running onto the street. The result: scraped right elbow, sprained and bruised left hand, bruises and scraped right knee and hip. It's all healing but I keep Aleve in business for a week.

This weekend was transfers which is always crazy. We have eighteen new missionaries so that means 18 sets of bedding, 13 bikes for elders, two poppy seed cakes and lots of travel. Among other things Walmart explicatively canceled one bike order and I had to arrange a loaner bike for one elder. Another elder's order was transferred from Macon to Milledgeville "because of the hurricane." Really lousy excuse on the part of Walmart and it meant more than two hours of my time rather than 30 minutes.

President Grayson set up a three-some and four-pack (three and four missionaries in one apartment) so we had to take additional beds to two cities. The new van cannot be used for towing the trailers so we only have the pickup to tow two trailers, both of which are used during transfers. Monday night we were out until 8 PM moving trailers, loading trailers, and purchasing beds and chairs for apartments. Tuesday after everyone got their bedding and bikes and companions and assignments, we did another round of moving trailers with one pickup, moving bikes to temporary storage, loading a trailer with bed, desks, chairs and bikes and taking all the stuff to Warner Robins and Columbus.

We did get to have supper with granddaughter Summer and husband, Jake. She suggested an Indian restaurant which turned out to be very good. Summer volunteers at the infantry museum at Ft. Benning. She working on a collection of Civil War correspondence including a letter from a general resigning his commission in the US Army and another accepting a commission in the Confederate Navy. Jake is third in his class of officers training at Ft. Benning, a class 60% West Point graduates and 40% ROTC graduates. A couple of his classmates came into the restaurant and he introduced us. The woman was tiny, maybe 5' 2". Jake talked about an exercise where everyone carried a 96 lb pack on a long hike. She was right in there with the best of them.

Regarding the Confederacy, may I make a comment. Everyone was appalled several years ago when the Taliban blew up some ancient Buddhist statues to demonstrate their religiosity. I'm getting the same sense about taking down Confederate statues—all the politico types are rushing in to get rid of the monuments to demonstrate their political chops and how right they are about their beliefs.

We got home at 10 PM, a fourteen hour day. I've lost four pounds over the last two days.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Elder and Sister Wilson are going back to Beaufort tomorrow and in appreciation they took us to dinner at Natalia's, an Italian restaurant here in north Macon. The decor is overblown but the food is superb. The portions were just right and everything was prepared to perfection. Sister Chadwick and I shared a buffalo mozzarella/tomato salad—that water buffalo not American bison. We had calamari that was served with zucchini and jalapeƱo and a sweet sauce. The service was unobtrusive and excellent. If you're in Macon, try it. It's a little pricey but worth every penny.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Today was a lock down day. All the missionaries stayed in their apartments because of Hurricane Irma. There were eight elders, two sisters, and a senior couple who evacuated from the coast to Macon and are staying in the four apartments in our complex. We had all of them plus the seven that are living here for dinner tonight.

Sister Chadwick had an ice breaker. Everyone wrote a unique thing about themselves on a piece of paper when they came in and then she read them and everyone tried to guess who the individual was that went with the comment. We had the makings of a band, a sister born with only one lung, a senior sister who started wearing glasses at 18 months old, and a senior sister who delivered secret CIA document in a limo. Sister Chadwick put down that she had been at a peyote ceremony at the Ute Mountain Reservation in Colorado.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Busy, crazy week. With the forecast of Hurricane Irma threatening parts of the mission, plans have had to been made to accommodate missionaries in area that are likely to be less vulnerable than the low lying coastal areas. I read that the are 1600 sq. miles of area around Savannah, GA that are less the 15 feet above sea level and 650+ sq. miles less that 3 feet above sea level. You can imagine what the storm surge from a hurricane could do.

We have Elder and Sister Wilson staying with us. They came in Friday and will be here until it's safe to return to Parris Island in South Carolina. They're from Idaho and are military relations missionaries and work hold a service every Sunday for recruits at the Parris Island boot camp.

The APs baptized a couple in Macon on Saturday and all of the missionaries displaced by Irma and staying with other missionaries in Macon were there—some 40 young elders and sisters. The Jensens, the financial secretary and mission secretary, have four elders staying with them and Sister Goff, the nurse, has two sisters. President Grayson has all the mission on lock-down tomorrow. No one knows when everyone will be able to go back to their apartments.

We had excellent talks in Sacrament meeting today. Tremaine Jackson had everyone in stitches. Here is one comment, "Everyone's a Christian until the go home from church."

One other item: The Pickles comic strip is drawn by a member of the church. We've always enjoyed it and laugh alternately depending on which of the protagonist are the butt of the joke. Amy called to say that Opal, the distaff member, was reading the Ensign in the strip on Saturday. Sister Chadwick was the one laughing:

Monday, Labor Day, 4 September 2017

The mission office is closed today and Sister Goff mentioned that there was going to be a blood drive at the Bass Pro warehouse a couple of miles from our apartment. Given that I'm O- and haven't given blood for a while, I thought it would be a good idea.

Jasmine, the intake nurse, asked me if I would be willing to get red blood cells rather than whole blood. The hurricane, Harvey, in Texas has caused a shortage of red blood cells. I had never been asked to get blood components rather than whole blood so never been hooked up to an apheresis machine. It takes longer to donate in this way, about three to four times of long. Blood is drawn, the red blood cells separated, and the plasma and white blood cells are put back in. The only real problem is my best vein has been used for blood donation for some 30 years and is somewhat scarred. Getting a needle in and positioned can be painful but it's usually temporary. To prevent clotting, a citrate solution is added and so the donor—in this case, me—can have a response to the citrate. I had a tingling in my lips.

I browsed in Bass Pro for about an hour. Looked at my favorite fishing lures, Martin Panthers spinners and Rapala lures. I was impressed with the dioramas on the walls about the sale floor.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

On Friday night the office staff went to the local theater for a performance of the Agatha Cristy play, And Then There Were None. As we arrived the diurnal denizens were exiting:

The performance with strictly amateur but we enjoyed it. Sister Goff figured it out before the climax.

While we were talking during the intermission, a facebook post from the Macon Relief Society was discussed. A member was moving into the Forsyth group boundaries and was inquiring about meeting times. Somehow, I was designated to text her the information. Early Saturday morning I did so but I forgot to include the times. She texted back with that question and I responded.

This morning I got a text saying she wasn't going to be to come to church since they needed to empty their rental truck, return it by 5 PM and what was the exact address of the building we meet in. I missed the part about the address but in discussing her arrival in Priesthood, I noticed the request for the address. I couldn't have told you but someone pointed out that it was on the window over the door. I texted her the address and then as an afterthought I asked if they might need help unloading the truck. She came back saying yes because the people that had promised to help went dove hunting instead

I got her address. We decided that this was an "ox in the mire" situation. All five missionaries when home to change (three elders, two sisters), David Phillips, the group leader, and his wife went to meet her, Dorothy dropped me at the new family's home and took the blind sister we pick up for church home.

I helped the husband get the Jeep off the trailer. The missionaries arrived and we took bikes and chairs and sofas and tables and boxes and beds off the truck into the garage. In the meantime, Sister Chadwick stopped to get water and something for lunch. She arrived just a couple of minutes after we got the truck emptied.

Sister Holman turns out to be a force of nature. Born on Staten Island and raised in California, she teaches at a juvenile detention center to help the kids get GEDs. She's been a foster parent and all of the bikes in the truck was part of that effort. She has a foundation that provides housing for homeless young adults 18 to 25 years of age and has taken in a 21-year old herself. She has three dogs, two cats and an obviously adoring husband. A thoroughly delight person!