Sunday, May 29, 2011

Elder Hoopes

Another Book Of Mormon Study Group. Missionaries wanted Elder Hoopes in the picture even though he was in the Clerk's office working. My first attemp at cutting and pasting a person into a picture. It was fun, but again, something that had to be done late late at night. Can't do too much of this on our mission. Doubleclick picture to make bigger to see Pres Davies, his counselor Pres Black & his wife, our missionaries plus are branch members and investigator. Elders teach fabulously, even 2 NE 9.

So happy to have my Oberammergau Umbrella from
our trip to Germany years ago. Love this Umbrella.
Big enough to cover both of us in this very heavy rain,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another Full and Productive Day

After a Career Workshop is a Success Team that meets once a week for four weeks for attendees of the workshop. This gentleman came in today and brought a fabulous bird house which he had made and gave it to Susan and Doug to say thank you for all he had gained from their help.

Senior Missionary Dinner Ann Arbor MI Institute UofM

I made the best pasta salad. Tiny heads of broccoli, cashews (Marni gave me that idea) olives, thin sliced red & yellow peppers, tiny cubes of pepper jack & yellow cheeses, halved red grapes, fresh chopped Vidalia onion, celery, rotelli pasta. Tiny tiny bit of dressing to barely cover all, like no dressing. It was awesome. I couldn't eat any other salads, mine was the best. However, I am sure I was the only one who thought mine was the best.

We toured about 1/2 mile of the campus. It was stunning with the trees & buildings.
Senior Missionaries with Mission Presidency
School of Law
Law Library
......or the Harry Potter Library. .................................The University of Arizona®....
We found the UofA Law School Seal in the library.
We had fun!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Experiences This Week

Book of Mormon Study Group -

Saturday apartment inspections-
This is a pretty common occurrence, fixing bikes! Elders Hansen and Bradshaw on exchanges.

A (not) Coincidence -
Sister Ebony in red baptized one month ago. We pick her up often, along with others who are frequent 'riders' in our car. You can really see how she has the image of Christ in her countenance. Sister Ebony's friend Dian (next to her in green) had not seen her for years. When Dian saw her friend Ebony, she said "you've changed, you glow & you seem so happy". She told her she had been looking for a church so Ebony invited her to come. We picked her up to come to Book of Mormon Class & then again for Church today. Dian was thrilled by the spirit of our meetings today, and what a surprise when she gave me a grocery bag and said, "this is for you". Oh! A shirt for me? How sweet that she would want to do that for me.

We met & picked up Andrea this morning, the sister in black. She is beautiful & was so thrilled throughout our meetings. She has been aware & watching the Elders on their bikes for eight years. Just this week she called to them on the street & asked them to come talk to her. What a joyful story, joyful sister, and a beautiful spirit.

Sister Almon, in blue on the right, is also an amazing sister. She just finished her BA pre-law summa cum-laude. She has been a member of the church for a long time. When we first started visiting her, her home kept being broken into and the house just next door had been burned out but still standing. We are happy to see that all is well now.

Thank you to Diane for her sweet surprise gift. Spring Iris at the door - roses from Elder Hoopes

Welcoming in

Baptism of young Brother Jones in February. We often gave him rides to church and study. He also worked at Mama Dee's Car Wash. What a special day! Now at the end of May he wants to go on a mission. We are so proud of him.
Hoopes, Mike Jones, Danita.......................At the baptism we met an amazing Sister McN.

Also that day heard wonderful experiences from
Brother Owusu from Ghana in middle, who served
his mission in Kenya. Torries on right........................Elders and Mike Jones....................

Some Down Time

During the winter, the furnace heated buildings & cold windy weather caused my eyes to severely dry out! So painful! I had to keep my humidifier at the front desk with me. Even though it was not good for first impressions, it was necessary.

Cold packs on the eyes also brought relief. Susan, our Associate Director, gave these to me. I tried to do everything possible to heal my eyes (the above, doctor, eye drops, lubricant), but the pain still lasted for months!

A few days after my eyes were FINALLY feeling better, I came down with horrible back and stomach pain. The ER couldn't identify anything as the cause, so I went home not better at all. Over the the weekend, we started consulting the mission doctor, and felt blessed by his willingness to help us solve the pain! We made multiple phone calls back and forth with questions, consulting, and suggestions. Two days later, Shingles broke out, and the mission doctor was able to get medication started right away!

Shingles is contagious but mine were hidden. In pain, I still managed to accomplish duties after hours or for just a few hours a day. Many days, I simply couldn't go in at all. The pain and sores lasted a total of six weeks, and now I am completely healed. This is such a blessing, knowing that in many instances, shingles can have very lasting painful effects.

Many get well wishes from family & friends - flowers from Jonathan.

Not all was gloom and doom though! The second weekend I was sick, I couldn't do anything in Detroit, so I asked President Holms if it would be okay if we visited Laura and Brian for the weekend. Since I was doing nothing in Detroit, I might as well be doing nothing in Ohio with Laura. He said "Absolutely!" It was a funny little conversation though - it started out with me trying to explain my situation to Sister Holms, and then when the info got relayed to President Holms, he seemed very concerned about my request because I had asked to "go stay with Laura while I'm sick. Apparently, he thought I was asking to go stay with Laura, like, until I got better, which could be months. We laughed about that when we finally got it all straightened out.

So, I slept in the car while Elder Hoopes drove us to their home about 3 hours away. We stayed just Saturday & Sunday. I was sad that I did not feel well enough to go to Church to listen to Laura's Gospel Doctrine Lesson.

By evening I was feeling a little better, so we rode with Laura & Brian to their dress rehearsal for the upcoming 175th commemoration of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. You may have read about it in a recent Church News. Not many church events actually are held in the Temple, but the Community of Christ and the LDS Church partnered for this great event.

Brian had organized a Quad Stake Choir for a performance of the Messiah this past Christmas, and was asked by the Stake Presidencies in the area to continue the choir for this special occasion. They sang "The Spirit of God" and "My Shepherd will Supply my Need" (both were the lovely Mack Wilberg arrangements) . There was also small orchestra and Laura played her flute. Since they needed both an organ sound for the hymn and a harp sound for the other, they brought their own keyboard that produces beautiful replicas of these instruments.

Waiting for the doors to be opened for the rehearsal &
Laura & Brian hauling in the keyboard.
It was a fabulous sound to add to
the accompaniment with the orchestra.

It was a wonderful experience! From seeing pictures of the inside of the Temple, do you remember how it has front and back pulpits and then choir lofts in each of the corners? Well, the choir was split between the front two lofts, and the orchestra sat in front on the pulpits. It was very hard to hear each other while singing, so they had to watch Brian closely to stay together. It was simply amazing to watch, listen, and know that this was the place, that these were the very pulpits, where Christ and Elijah and Moses appeared 175 years before.

The next Sunday was the day of the actual commemoration of the dedication. There were two sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. Brian reported that he had a wonderful spiritual experiences and hearing the choirs of angels join together with their voices. It was a special day. While singing, Laura related to me that she was so surprised that she had thoughts of my parents come to her mind. And she said "Mom, I never really even knew your parents". I am sure this is a wonderful blessing, not a coincidence.

After this wonderful experience, we went home and continued to heal.

Box of candy from Texas Hoopes, yes I ate it all.

Flowers & Candy from office staff - Meal & flowers from Sister Holms

First day back in the office full time - with a break. I just had to lay down to feel better, so we went to the store and got a little cushion for patio recliners - it worked perfectly.

A week after I was completely recovered, Elder Hoopes came down with pneumonia. He never went to the hospital but stayed home for two weeks. Such is the life of senior missionaries! With sacrifice, comes trials, but with trials comes blessings! One of the blessing with our illnesses was that we were not down at the same time. Since being down and sick for so long, we are now more committed to keeping our immune system up. We are scheduling our hours better & working out at the fitness center. It is fun and awesome to feel so much better.

Catching up now on the blog is also energizing and so much fun - recording our mission!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tulip Festival - Holland Michigan

Tulip Time May 7-14

Looking out over Lake Michigan, an unusual sight for us.........
It was very cold & windy yet there were swimmers.........
Trees are fascinating. There are Spring trees just like Autumn trees.