Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

We began our week by visiting a man we have come close to.  This is the man we visited at the hospital halfway house earlier who has had a lot of medical and family issues.  He is an artist.  We marveled at his amazing work.  Not only did he have some wonderful paintings and pen and ink drawings of his own, he also had many excellent paintings that he had collected.  He had several drawings of faces, and he is so good at capturing emotion in the expressions.  It was good to get to know this man better and see his cozy little home.  We heard more about his life, family struggles, and health issues.  He is a good man, but he has had a hard life.  He has a black and white Jack Russell Terrier and I enjoyed playing with him. He reminded me so much of Joy.  We took a dog toy as a gift, and Rocko loved it.  We played tug and fetch just like I do with Joy. He gave Lezlie some suggestions for a drawing of a baby she was working on for a gift that were very helpful.

Our only formally scheduled activity on Tuesday was our weekly family home evening for the The Basic School marines.  We had a good group of six folks, and were happy that our gal from Moldova was back from her trip home.  She is a very intelligent person and adds greatly to our discussions.  Lezlie taught a wonderful lesson about faith, and as usual the group had excellent input and discussion.  True faith causes action and brings power.  We have experienced that over and over here.  Even when the lesson was over the marines hung around for a while just to talk with us and each other.  After downing many cookies and bowls of tapioca pudding, the group finally headed back to their barracks.  We love working with this outstanding group of young people. They are an inspiration to us every time we see them.

Because the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society closed early on our day, we had some unexpected free time.  We visited about four marine families.  Lezlie felt inspired to visit one particular family, not knowing exactly why.  It turns out that they are going to get out of the marines after twenty years, and the wife was feeling very nervous about becoming civilians – will he get a job, can we afford it, where should we live, can we find a house we can afford, etc., etc.  So we were able to talk about our experience in getting out of the Navy and how nervous we had been.  But we assured her that everything would work out just as it did for us.  We promised her that if she stayed close to Heavenly Father that all would be well.  We visited with her for an hour (a very long visit for us), and she just seemed to want to pour out her heart about this.  She thanked us over and over for stopping by just when she needed us. We truly felt directed by the spirit.  We also had an outstanding dinner.  Our young friend from Richland who is at the FBI Academy here invited us out for dinner.  She bought us a superb meal at an Italian restaurant.  Afterwards she invited us over to see her apartment, give her a spiritual thought, and have some desert.  Lezlie gave an excellent mini-lesson on faith.  We had homemade ice cream sandwiches for desert.  Very yummy!  We always enjoy Krystal and hearing about her adventures in the FBI.  She is a nice young woman and it has been fun to get to know her better. 

On this Thursday we went to the home of a new marine family to provide a family home evening, our lesson on Obedience.  They have four children, girl 11, boy 8, girl 4, and baby about 5 months.  They are a very interesting family.  He is from Ghana and he came to the U.S. to go to school.  He went to school in Utah, joined the church, married a church girl from Utah, and joined the marine corps.  He was enlisted for almost ten years and did deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq.  So they have had to be apart several times.  Then he finally finished his college degree and got into the officer program, which he is finishing up now.  She is a tough lady, having been home alone several times with all of those kids while he was deployed.  Their kids were very respectful and attentive, and we had a lot of fun giving the lesson and visiting with them.  We just love getting to know these young marine families.  They are good people.

On Friday we had two sister missionaries over for dinner.  We have known one for a while since she has lived in out apartment complex for about 3 months.  But we also got to meet her new companion who is from Utah.  She finished one year of college and wants to be a nurse.  The first girl is majoring in vocal music at BYU.  She has a gorgeous voice, and she sang a song for us after dinner.  It was just wonderful.  It was about going through trials and calling upon the Lord, who will always be there.  She sounded like an angel.  . 

We had a great Saturday with several varied activities.  We go past a small museum every time we drive to the marine base.  Each time we see the sign we think we need to stop and check out the museum.  Today we had a lunch appointment to take out a marine.  So we left a little early to make a stop at the museum.  To our surprise they were having a Founders Day celebration because it was the anniversary of the founding of the town Dumfries. Interestingly, one of Lezlie's ancestors- Wm Fitzhugh, was one of the founders of this town. There were several booths and exhibits.  We became aware that the US Army Traditional Drum and Fife band were going to perform in an hour.  We called our lunch marine and asked if he would like to see them.  He said yes, so we dashed onto the base and picked him up.  The band was excellent.  Not only did they play well, they wore very cool revolutionary era uniforms.  The only down side was that it rained while they were playing.  We then took our marine to lunch and had a good talk.  We were sad to hear that he has a major medical issue that may cause him to receive a medical discharge from the marines.  He has a serious issue with his intestines, some sort of immune disease.  He may have to have surgery to have part of them removed.  His parents will not be able to afford to fly out to see him.  We told him that if he does have the surgery to let us know and we will help him in any way we can.  He thanked us and said he would let us know.  We are worried about hims and really want to help.  We next  met up with the young family whose baby boy I blessed.  We have become very close to them.  We took them to a baptism.  The husband is getting close to making a decision to be baptized and we wanted him to see a real baptism.  They both seemed to enjoy it, and their baby could not have been better.  We then took them out to a scrumptious dinner at Cracker Barrel.  It was a great meal and great conversation.  We sure do love this little family, and we pray for them often.  We just hope we get to see the day when he gets baptized. 

Holidays always seem a little lonely here, but today things went really well for Mother’s Day.  In the morning Lezlie got to Facetime with both Anne and Carrie, including several of the grandchildren.  She enjoyed that very much and it started out Sunday quite well.  We had a good program at church.  It was nothing dramatic, just some nice, simple talks honoring mothers, a primary chorus song, and some testimonies.  They gave some excellent Ghirardelli chocolates to all the women.  Then just after church a dear older couple, the Condies, invited us to their home for dinner.  They are returned senior missionaries ( they served in India), and have been very kind to us.  We were grateful and said yes.  At first we thought it was just them, but then as she talked we quickly realized we were being invited to a big family gathering of some of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  We dashed home for a short time and there was a card slipped under the door.  It was a Mother’s Day card for Lezlie from 4 of the Elders that live in our apartment complex.  They thanked her for “always taking care of us”  and “making sure we have what we need.”  It was very touching.  We then traveled to the Condie’s home, and Lezlie got to talk to Aaron on the drive there, which was very nice.  It was a joy to be in a house full of multi-generational family.  All of them were very gracious about our presence and made us feel very welcome.  All of the kids and grandkids spoke to us and asked about our mission.  It was so much fun to see them all interacting and visiting with each other, although it did make us miss our family a little bit.  We had a wonderful meal of prime rib, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, and chocolate brownies with ice cream It was soooo Good – much better than the frozen dinner I was going to microwave for us.  Finally we headed home where Lezlie got to talk to Chris and Stacey, which she also enjoyed immensely.  So I think she had a wonderful Mother’s Day.  She also got cards from most everyone, with a few cards expected to arrive tomorrow too.  I got her some tulips.  The Billings sent some cool paper flowers with messages on the back.  Aaron sent 4 bags of fancy Hershey’s chocolate drops.  Here is a picture of her things.  She was happy with everything! 
 We both spent a quiet evening preparing for our busy week ahead. 

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