It seems hard to think back over the week when the upcoming week has a busy transfer day in it! The next three transfers will be thought consuming in many ways. We are losing the leadership in the mission. A new group will rise to the top but right before you wonder how the mission will get along without some very special missionaries. We have now spent a lot of time with these Elders and Sisters, we love them. We will miss them. We are losing 6 from our zone alone. Elder Waite has been here in our wards for a very long time. We will miss his goofiness and his sincere teaching. Elder Bentti gave amazing district trainings. Sister Andersen is beautiful and refined. Sister Marshall gives the best hugs in the mission. Sister Meyer told me on Mother’s Day (over a year ago) “Fake it till you make it”. I don’t think she had any idea at the time how I was taking that advice to heart. She always has a smile on her face. That’s just the ones in our zone. We also will say good-bye to Elder Bean. He was the Elder that went with Elder Hardman to pick up trash at the park. We thought he was being friendly and then realized that Elder Hardman kept going off on his own and Elder Bean knew he should have a companion with him at all times. He was the sheep that kept straying and Elder Bean was sticking close to him. These amazing missionaries win your heart in such simple ways. We will never forget them and their examples.
We did go to the Food Bank warehouse and they sent us home with flowers again. It’s become so commonplace! Not really, I love it. This time we got little rose plants. Elder Hardman said he didn’t want to take a whole box again so I just took a few. I have a hard time when I know they will throw them away. We took one to Tondalaya and she called it her house-warming plant. It’s always fun to get flowers.
We took Tondalaya to the LDS employment services this week and to pick up food from the storehouse. The computers were down at the employment service so that wasn’t helpful. We get frustrated when you see that so many join the church for the welfare. I think that is true with Tondalaya too but she also seems to want to learn. She keeps her commitments. She met with the Elders this week for the “new member” lessons. I am trying to have faith in the process.
We also went to a lesson with a young mom whose children were baptized a few weeks ago in the Tongan ward. She hasn’t been baptized (yet). This is a situation where the cultural environment she lives in makes it very hard for her to make changes. It’s easy to say that the gospel will make everything all right, and it will, but they face so many scary changes before they see those promises fulfilled. These are brave people!
We learned how to play Farkle! We have a cute older lady in a ward that keeps inviting us over to play games. We finally made it there on Friday night. She had invited a few other people and we played Farkle. It was fun. Elder Hardman and I didn’t play very well but we learned about a new game. I’m not sure if we were fulfilling our missionary purpose but it was important to her so we went. We also went to empty-nesters. It is hard being so social!
To top it all off, we had a senior couples activity on Saturday. The Thurgoods invited everyone to come to Chester for lunch and the grand tour of Chester. We had already gone and had the grand tour but it was fun to go with the other couples and the President and wife. We went in the fall before and it was cold. Yesterday it was hot. It is such a beautiful area. We went on a little hike. Elder Thurgood told us all about the variety of pine and fir trees. We collected some sugar pine cones. It was a peaceful day. The Douglas’ invited us to ride with them. We showed them the SHOE TREE, Doyle California (where the cows come from for the Rodeo), and we stopped at the random chimney with no house attached. We really amazed them with all of the culture available on the drive to Chester! They appreciated our great insights and plan on making the Belamys (the other office couple) feel bad that they weren’t with us on the drive. Ha ha! It was a fun day.
Today we taught our first Temple Preparation class. It is sort of a Gospel Essentials/Temple Preparation class. We had great participation. The Elders came into the class too because that is where the recent converts are now. Tondalaya came with us. It will be fun to be a part of this. Brother Witherall said that going to the Temple seemed like a dream to him and that he never imagined that he would ever actually qualify to enter the Temple. Wouldn’t it be fun if he is able to go before we leave? Please remember him in your prayers!
We still have the 25 coming in August and the count in September is up to 17! There will be a whole new crop that we will come to love and admire!
The Gospel’s true and we love you!
Elder and Sister Hardman