Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January News from Kentucky

 At the temple with the departing missionaries.
We had transfers early in January. We got to go to the mission home to meet the new missionaries on Monday evening and ate a yummy dinner. That is always fun. Dad even got to be in the skit because one of the Assistants had gone home on Saturday. We had our coldest weather (1 degree ) during transfers and that cold weather has continued through January. Snow off and on and lots of days with school closures.  We are happy to be working in a warm office. It did warm up above the 30's a few days and we got to go out and take a couple of walks.
      Tuesday, I made it over to the transfer meeting. Dad stayed to man the office. Then we were busy all day with people coming and going- getting Media and storing or picking up bikes- picking up mail, etc.  I had transfer letters to write to all the bishops and stake presidents. 
       Thursday the 9th was Leadership training so all the zone leaders and sister training leaders come into the office early to prepare materials and use our computers. We feed them brunch. We made a breakfast casserole which was great! Then they head over to the mission home for meetings and lunch ( we found out that Sis. Woodbury had "breakfast for lunch" and also a breakfast casserole- Whoops!) then they swarm the office again later to pick up media and visit after their meetings.     
            Saturday the 11th, we went to visit a lady we visit teach and tried to fix her dryer- but found the motor was ruined. We did have a good visit. That afternoon we went to a baptism of two children in our ward. Their family just moved in and the children had not been baptized yet - they are 9 and 10.  After the baptism we went out to eat at the Cracker Barrel the Hiatt's. We enjoyed getting a chance to visit with them and hearing about the people they are visiting in the branch. We got to sit by the fireplace- so that was an added bonus on a freezing cold day.
            Sunday the 12th was our branch pot luck. There was a big crowd and lots of good food. It is a lot of work, but good for the branch. It is my month to teach our Gospel Principles class, so that is always stressful. They started a priesthood preparation class, so they pulled the prospective elders out and we just have women ( plus all the missionaries, of course.) Church is always a highlight - we always have such wonderful testimonies, talks and lessons by people who have little, but have great love and faith in their Heavenly father.
           We went out with the Highland sister missionares a couple of times, in the evening, to teach some of their investigators. One visit, we knocked and knocked, and no one answered even though we could hear them inside. Those times are always discouraging.  We stay late at the office, drive 30 minutes to the apt and 30 back- so they feel bad if they invite us and no one answers. We get a glimpse of what real missionary work is like!
           This past weekend, Elder Zwick, of the 1st council of 70, was in town and he spoke at a meeting of all the Zone Leaders and Sister training leaders on Saturday morning at the Crestwood Stake Center.    Saturday evening at 8:00 he spoke at a meeting for all the Ward councils and missionaries who were close enough to come. We drove 4 elders to the meeting. It was another cold and snowy day. We got there early, so I was asked to give the closing prayer. That made me nervous. At the meeting, 2 Stake Presidents bore their testimonies about missionary work and then President and Sister Woodbury thanked everyone for their efforts in helping with missionary work.  Elder Zwick spoke on "the Work of Salvation". 
He said there are 84,000 missionaries out now with 12,000 more who have calls and are preparing to go. He said that the Missionary effort  " is a huge investment of Sacred Funds of the church. But the Lord will provide the funds as the missionary force grows".  Working at the office, as we do, we see how much it really costs to run the missionary program. He said that the 1st presidency is in charge of missionary work and they know how important it is.  Elder Zwick talked about how we need to "find with the spirit" not just "teach with the spirit".  As members, we need to keep lengthening our stride, we need to ask people to be taught in our homes.  It was good meeting!  After I gave the prayer, I went to shake Elder Zwick's hand and he said, "Sister Moulton, I remember your application when it was on our desk" - I'm thinking "sure" with over 90,000 missionary applications coming through-  but we talked and he did remember it. He said he was happy when he heard we were going to the Kentucky Louisville mission.  I think it helped me understand that the Lord does know each of us individually, and cares about us- even though there are so many of us.  It was good that I was asked to give the prayer or I wouldn't have talked to him.
         This past Sunday the 19th- We fed the missionaries after church. Two of our missionaries left at transfers and we got two new ones, so it was our first time feeding them and getting to know them.  We made a huge Spaghetti dish and they were able to eat every single drop of food we brought, just like the other missionaries had done. After dinner, we went with the elders to visit a sister in a rest home and another one in the hospital.  These hospitals are at least 30 minutes from the church and from each other, so that was busy day. We do spend a lot of time driving around on our mission!
            This week we were preparing for Zone conferences. They started today. I had to arrange lunches and print Trumpets (newsletters) and other materials to be distributed.  The Halvorsen's headed out this morning to go to Lexington to the 1st  conferences to inspect the cars. It is freezing this week - around 7 degrees. Again we are happy to be here in the warm office.  However, It's always very quiet here when they are gone. They are both usually on the phone and laughing a lot.
        Yesterday Tuesday the 21st  it was kind of like Grand Central Station here- the assistants were here working.  It was p-day because Monday was a holiday- the repair man was here working on the bathroom and lights. The delivery people brought in lots of mail.  The maintenance men were shoveling and clearing the parking lot and coming in and out. Bro. Tuckett, with facilities management, works downstairs and he came up to have dad help him open all of his bids. The President came in and we had at least 3 men coming in wanting assistance.
          Last night we went to pick up Sister Brown (who we drive to church) from the hospital. They couldn't do her dialysis on Monday because her veins had closed.  She had to have surgery, yesterday,  to put a stint in her veins and then have 3 hour dialysis. We didn't get her until about 10:30 p.m. and then took her home.  She is in a lot of pain. We feel so sad for her. Yet she is always cheerful. 
         The Hiatt's (another senior couple that serve in our branch) called this morning and invited us to dinner tonight. They are so nice and it is always fun to visit with them. It's easy to get discouraged on a mission, because people here need so much and it's hard to know how best to help them. Everyone has their free agency and they don't all do things the way we would. We know that living the gospel would solve lots of the problems in the world, so the Gospel needs to be shared, but also lived.  We are blessed to have grown up in the Gospel and have family support in living it.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The start of 2014

2014 has arrived. We are excited for another great year in the mission field. We are starting to send home and transfer missionaries who have been a big part of our lives for the past 4 months.  It is sad to see them leave.

This picture is of the "Moulton Boys". The assistants, Elder Hicken and Elder Thomas and office Elders found out that they were all descendants of the same Mormon pioneer, Thomas Moulton. It has been a fun 6 weeks with them in the office. We will miss Elder Thomas, the shorter one, who is returning on Saturday to his home in Colorado. He wants to stop by and see Terrell and Tracy.
On Wednesday we went to a New Year's Day dinner at the Hiatt's apartment. We didn't know that there was a traditional Southern New Year's Dinner so Sister Hiatt (who cooks one each year) wanted to cook and share it with us. Elder Hiatt found the history of the meal. It seems that following the civil war, food in the South was difficult to come by. Southerners created special foods to take advantage of what they had.  
Their meal consisted of fried cabbage,  black eyed peas, hog jowls (they are missing in the picture, as they were all gone by the time it was taken) and sometimes rice and greens. Sister Hiatt asked me to bring meat loaf and mashed potatoes in case we didn't like the food, but we all enjoyed it.  She served a strawberry cobbler and ice cream for dessert. It was delicious and fun to have friends to share the Holiday with.
On Thursday night we went to a baptism. Harold got baptized. We drive him to church. He has a cute young son and daughter. Sister Jensen, on the left, is going home on Saturday and Elder Gallager is probably being transferred next Tuesday.
Friday night we went to the temple with the missionaries who are heading home on Saturday. They will be going home a few days early to get back to school. They are leaving Saturday instead of next Wednesday.  6 elders and 6 sisters are going home. We drove 5 of them to the temple and enjoyed hearing them talk. We learned a lot about missionary life.
The picture is of us with Sister Navarro. She is from Panama and still barely speaks English, but we got to see her each week as she came into the office with her district. We will miss her now that she is going home.
It was beautiful, crisp, clear night outside the temple and there was a crescent moon. We tried to capture it. The moon is that little crescent in the right corner.

Sunday, after church, we had another baptism.  Jamella is the one in the white shirt. We missed getting a picture of her in her baptismal clothes, because we were setting up food in the other room. She is a twin and her twin sister arrived at the baptism right as we were singing the closing song, so we were glad to get her in the picture.  We have enjoyed going with the elders to teach her.
There was little push this week to get the baptisms performed before Elder Johnson gets transferred on Tuesday. He is the taller elder. The other one is Elder Beecroft from Redmond, WA. We get to keep him a little while longer.  These missionaries getting transferred were both here in the branch when we arrived. It will be different without them.

We love you and hope all is well. We love to hear from you and your families and see your pictures.  We are expecting a big ice storm and cold spell tomorrow. We will see what we wake up to. We have 11 new missionaries flying in tomorrow- so we hope they will be able to get here ok.