Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas week in Kentucky

On Monday, the 23rd, we had an all-mission Christmas conference. We had missionaries who live 2 hours or more outside of Louisville come in the night before and stay overnight with other missionaries in the area. A Senior couple from Olney, Illinois stayed in our apartment with us. We drove a lot of missionaries to and from the conference and Jason drove back and forth to get the mail.
Me and the Halvorsen's were in one of the rooms at the conference dispersing mail to the missionaries. 
The cultural hall was set up with tables for the luncheon.  There were over 270 people who attended. 
The food served  was ham, funeral potatoes, rolls, salad and green beans with brownies for dessert. It was great.
We worked in the office on Christmas Eve day then that evening we met up with Elder and Sister Hiatt. We went to Panera Bread for dinner and then went to an event called "Christmas under Louisville".  It was set up in an old limestone cave that is under the Louisville Zoo. It is usually used for storage and is big enough for large trucks to enter.  We drove our car through it. There was about 2 1/2 miles of light displays.  There was Christmas music playing and it was a fun thing to do.  It reminded us of the "It's a Small World" ride at Disneyland.
We had a quiet and enjoyable Christmas Day and appreciated all of the gifts that were sent to us. We went over to the Hiatt's for dinner that evening.
The Thursday and Friday after Christmas we were back at work.  On Thursday evening we went out with the missionaries to help them with one of their investigators.

On Saturday, we went to a baptism of an 8 year old boy in our branch. It was very nice. After the baptism we went with Elder and Sister Hiatt for a drive across the Ohio River to Jeffersonville, Indiana. It is a quaint community on the river.  Then we crossed back over to downtown Louisville and went to the famous Galt House Hotel. 
We went to a display called "Kalightoscope Christmas". It was a display of a lot of Chinese Christmas lanterns that are put together each year by Chinese artisans. They were much taller than us. It was amazing.  
They also had rooms with old animated store window displays and a room full of gingerbread houses. The last picture is a gingerbread house made to look like Church hill downs.
Today, Sunday, we had a lot of people and investigators out to church. We continue to drive them to and from church. We had the elders to our house for dinner after church. Salmon, creamed peas and potatoes, salad and a chocolate cake and ice cream to celebrate Elder Clarke's B-day.
We can't believe Christmas is over and we are on our way to a new year! 2014.  We love you and thank you for all you do. It was so fun to see and talk to our family on Christmas. We wish you a happy new year!
Elder and Sister Moulton

Monday, December 23, 2013

Branch Christmas Party

We had another busy week. We received another load of mattresses at the mission office.  An 18 wheeler drives up and the driver drops off loads the mattresses. It is the office staff's job to move them from the parking lot to the basement of the office. Luckily another Sr. Elder came by to help the men and I (Barbara) dodged mattress duty again. These will be delivered to new apartments and to existing apartments where mattresses need to be replaced. The mattress with cars came off the bunk bed in the mission office basement. I'm not sure why it was in the picture. Jason said it's for the " Jr". elders. 
We got a new van for the mission assistants. It took 3 days of going to the dealer before the Halvorsen's got it picked up. Then it needed a trailer hitch put on for a bike rack on the back, so Jason was the lucky one who got to finally bring it to the office, because the Halvorsen's were off setting up a new apartment.
This picture is of the cute sister missionaries. It was red day (they dress in matching colors for District meeting) and they were sweet enough to pose in front of the office tree.
My job is forwarding the mail. The perks of doing all that mail, is that  I see cute letters like this. The Santa is hand drawn on the envelope. Someone is loved!
Tuesday night at 6:00 and Wednesday night at 7:30 we got to go teach with the missionaries. We taught twin sisters Jamella and Jameela. Jameela has a 1 year old daughter, who loves to entertain us. They live in an apartment building that used to be a big high school.  Jamella is planning to be baptized in January.  They were taking a bus to Chicago to stay with their mother for Christmas. Teaching the gospel is always a highlight for us.
Next comes our branch pictures. Wednesday night at 6:00 we went to the church to help set up for the Christmas party. We have one room that switches from chapel to multi-purpose room. We could set up 8 tables in it. Different ladies decorated a table. We had long tables with food set up in the Relief Society room.
Saturday night was our party. You can see that the room was packed. We ended up setting up more tables in the foyer and some ate in the Relief Society room. We had over 100 in attendance. President Russell invited them all to come to church the next day so they could make us a ward.  However, On Sunday we had a small crowd. It seems that lots of people were home sick with colds and flu. Santa even made an appearance at our party.
Sister Russell (who is the Branch presidents wife standing at the podium) was in charge of the party  and she did an amazing job.  She is an amazing woman. She plays the piano for us to sing. Then she sang a solo. She brought all the table cloths and other decorations and cooked all the ham and rolls. Then stayed to the last to clean up and take everything home to wash. The Russell's live about 40 miles from the branch building. There was a thunderstorm and tornado alert that night and we barely got home. We had to stop in the road at one point as we couldn't see a thing, because of the windblown rain.   Luckily we could take back roads. The Russell's had to get home on the freeway, so we were worried about them. But of course, they were back again on Sunday. She played the piano again, sang another solo. Then she Taught a Sunday School class and taught Relief Society- because the teacher was sick. Love those people!
On Saturday morning, we picked up 2 members at 8:00 am and headed to the temple. The Hiatt's picked up 1 and met us there.  It was stake temple day and our time to do  baptisms was 9:00 am. It was a great experience. We take the people who are new members. President Russell met us there and he did the baptizing. We stopped at McDonald's for breakfast on the way home.
Sunday we fed the missionaries. We brought them to our house and had pizza. Monday we are having a big Christmas conference, so all the missionaries will be in Louisville. The ones who live more than an hour away will come in tonight and stay overnight with other missionaries, in the office or mission home, etc. We are having the Thaxton's a Sr. couple from Olney, Ill. stay with us, so we are trying out our new air mattress.
Jason and I are hoping to make it to the conference tomorrow. We need to hang out at the office so we get all the Christmas mail that is delivered and then we take it to the conference to distribute.  We already have a room full of stuff to take over. The conference is at a stake center about 30 minutes from the office. 

We are grateful to each of you for your thoughtfulness and love and wish you a wonderful Christmas.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The office is ready for Christmas and a Baptism

We had another good, but fast, week.  We had a lovely snow storm on Friday and everything was "Beginning to look a lot like Christmas". I love driving home from the office each night and seeing the Christmas decorations in the snow.

  Here is the sign outside the Mission Office. 
The decorations outside the office.
This is the tree inside the office
Here is the nativity and decorations on the counter in the office.
We were able to go to a teaching appointment with the sister missionaries on Tuesday night. We taught a lovely lady whose house was super decorated for Christmas. Fun to teach and also to visit and see her decoration. She had made this tree on her kitchen wall pictured below. She said she got the idea on pinterest. Look at all the cute details. She could be my friend, except she lives in another ward boundary over by the office.   I hope we can visit her again. Truly the best part of being a missionary is visiting with the people and watching them learn about the gospel.
Today, Sunday, we had our Primary Sacrament Program.  Only 10 children were in it, some were sick, but the leaders pitched in and the congregation helped with singing some songs.  It was a wonderful program-the spirit was definitely there. There is nothing sweeter than Primary children. We had a lot of visitors today, also.
After church, we had a baptism. The picture below is of the girl who got baptized, Her mom who has been a member a year, and her grandma who is not a member.  A member of the branch who is friends with her family baptized her.
Today, because of the baptism being right after church, we brought the missionaries to our apartment after that and ate here. We made stew in a new big 6 qt. crock pot that we bought yesterday.  We have decided, it doesn't matter how big the pot - everything will be gone at the end of the meal.

Lastly, On Friday, I heard a lot of noise and looked out the office window and there were two cars wrecked right outside our office. You can tell by where our car is parked.  We called the police and Jason went out to help. Both cars are headed opposite to what the traffic should be in that lane, so we are not sure what happened. It did make for an exciting afternoon- the Halvorsen's (the other office couple) were out working on apartments, so they missed it. Both drivers were taken in ambulances, but we hope they are ok.

Hope you are enjoying all the Christmas activities around you.
Elder and Sister Moulton

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Visit to Crestwood and the Festival of the Nativities

This week was another busy week in the mission field. We had missionaries come into the office each day - so I ended up visiting with them and looking for jobs for them to do. I didn't get a lot of my work done. The missionaries love to come in and go through the mail, hoping to find a letter or a package with their name on it. Now I know how important it is to send mail to missionaries.

 We went out on Monday night to a teaching appointment with Elder Johnson and Beecroft. We knocked and waited and no one came to the door. The missionaries finally were able to reach the person by cell phone and learned the investigator was away visiting family. It's very disappointing to have a visit fall through. They had just come from another appointment where no one was home. I am proud of them that they keep going day after day with people missing appointments. That's kind of what missionary work is all about. Thank goodness that there is sometimes that "Golden" contact!

We had an ice and snow storm on Friday. The car had icicles hanging everywhere on it. The roads were a mess, but we got home safely. The missionaries used it as a service activity and helped push people's cars up the hills and out of ditches. We Senior missionaries were amazed that some of them didn't even wear a coat that day. The Elders are really just kids!

Luckily the sun came out on Saturday. It was only 28 degrees, but the roads dried out so we could travel.  So
we took the Hiatt's with us and drove up to Crestwood.  We went to Cabella's and to Costco. Both stores were packed with people.  We had many people stop and talk to us because we had our missionary name tags on.  Both members and not members alike.
Then we went over to the Crestwood stake center to their festival of Nativities. It was supposed to be both Friday and Saturday nights, but was cancelled Friday night because of the storm.  The cultural  hall  was decorated so nicely and reminded us of the activities we most love to do in Washington at Christmastime. They had nativities set up inside and also an outdoor live Nativity.
We got to visit with Lisa Perry Holt and her family (the family pictured below)- making it feel even more like we were still in WA. We also got to meet some of the missionaries who were helping at the nativity. It's always fun to put names with faces.  We also met Elder Bednar's son who is in the Crestwood Stake.  

I (Angela) also posted about my parents trip to Bardstown so be sure to read that post below.

Visit to Bardstown, Kentucky

On our preparation day, Saturday Nov. 30, we went to a small town about 40 miles SE of Louisville to see the Christmas lights. We took the Hiatt's, a Sr. Missionary couple, from Mt. Airy, ( Mayberry) North Carolina who serve in the Shawnee Branch with us. We had heard about the tree lighting event the night before, but we weren't able to go then.  We went in the afternoon so we could see the town and walk around. Bardstown is named "One of the most liveable cities in America".  They have a town square surrounded by Historic buildings dating back to the 1800's. We walked around main street and went in some fun Christmas Shops. All the people were very friendly, so the men visited while the ladies looked at the decorations.  Sister Hiatt and I got our picture taken in a shop amid the decorations.

We especially liked the Talbott Tavern. It was a stagecoach stop and has operated for 200 years serving food, drink. and lodging to travelers and guests from all over the world. The first picture is the front of it and the picture beneath it of us is by the side door. There was even a horse drawn carriage that you could take a ride in.

The picture below is of Sister Hiatt with a shop owner who she said looks just like her brother who had passed away. That was a highlight for her.  This man is from Texas and is a retired cop, so that was a highlight for Jason. We found out that his daughter is a police officer right here in Shawnee, where we go to church. He was very entertaining.

Several people recommended that we eat at Mammie's on main street.  It was a fun place and we ate dinner there. The man sitting next to us came up and introduced himself as President McQuire of the Bardstown branch. That was fun! When we finished eating, all the lights on Main Street were on.

Next,  we headed over the My Old Kentucky Home state park. We found out that they were having a candlelight tour of the home that night. This is the home that inspired Stephen Foster to write the song, "My old Kentucky Home". It was amazing and beautiful. We hope to return to see it in another season and take pictures. After I got home from our visit to Bardstown, I felt like I had just stepped out of a Hallmark movie. We found out that the elders live just to the left of town hall in the upstairs of a historic home, so I guess they live in a Hallmark movie! Now we know why it is such a " liveable" town.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving in Kentucky

My parents started out Thanksgiving week by feeding the assistants to the mission President at the mission office.  It was transfer week so it was a very busy week.  On Monday some new missionaries arrived and on Wednesday the missionaries who had completed their mission departed.
On Thursday my parents got a break from their work at the office and enjoyed Thanksgiving at their apartment.  They laid out the food on their kitchen table and ate on some tables in the living room.
In attendance were Sister and Elder Hiatt (who serve in my parents branch), Sister and Elder Halvorsen (who work with my parents in the office) and Elder Clarke and Elder Gallagher (also from the branch).  My mom said there was room for all 8 of them but it was a tight squeeze sitting at the table between two couches.
My parents also decorated their apartment for Christmas.  A cute wreath for the door.
A merry sleigh and lights for the patio.
 A tree for the living room.  My mom brought most of these ornaments with her from Washington.
 And a pretty nativity and lights for the mantel.