We had a couple of excellent lessons with our marine at Officer Candidate School this week. At Family Home Evening Lezlie gave her lesson on nature. She has set about 180 beautiful pictures of nature to clasical music. She talks about how marines are always out in nature and that they can feel close to God and gain strength by observing His magnificent creations. It was excellent and our marine really liked it. On Sunday we talked about Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled. This is basically a lesson about how a Latter Day Saint need not fear that he is violating his faith by being a soldier. It is a pretty deep lesson and we had some good discussion. We have only a couple more meetings with our LDS man at OCS, and we are missing him already. However, we will probably not miss getting up at 5:30am to get ready to go to OCS meetings!
Thursday was our Navy Marine Corps Relief Society shift, and we had a good day there. Lezlie was very busy with many phone calls and multiple quick assist loans. I had only one case, but it was a good one. We loaned a young marine $4000 so that he could get his truck repaired. He blew his engine, but it should never have happened. It happened just beyond the end of his warranty period. He left a happy man with his big check. We are sad to think we have only one more shift of work there. Later in the evening we met our young woman friend from Richland, the one that was in our ward years ago and was in Lezlie’s young women’s class. She took us out to dinner as a farewell present. We ate at an amazing steak house and she spoiled us with a large and delicious dinner. The steaks were amazing. She is the girl that is a finger print scientist at the FBI. It is really interesting to hear her stories about working there. We had an excellent discussion with her about why she has not been attending church. It turns out that in the past some people have done some things that really put her off and hurt her feelings, so she backed off. It made us sad. But she said she still feels close to Heavenly Father and prays and feels very blessed. That is good. We were sad we had to say goodbye to her. We have really enjoyed getting to know her here
We had an excellent lunch date with our single female marine. She surprised us by saying she loved sushi. She is kind of a country girl from a small town in Utah, and we did not think she would know anything about sushi. We knew of an Asian restaurant in Quantico Town that has sushi, so we took her there. She enjoyed her sushi and we had regular Chinese food. This girl works as a security guard at the president’s helicopter base. She was excited that she finally got her top secret clearance. That means she can now actually go on trips with the president’s entourage. It was very enjoyable to visit with her about her job and her family. Her dad is from India and she lived there for two years as a little girl. It made us think of Korea. We have greatly enjoyed her and it was another sad goodbye. After our lunch we made 4 visits to marine families and delivered our first round of Valentine Day treats. We made sugar and chocolate cookies and Lezlie decorated them with the meringue icing that makes the pretty decorations. They are delicious and beautiful. So we said goodbye to four families, although we will likely see some of them at church over the next few weeks. Our saddest goodbye was with the family that has the little boy that was born very premature. We have visited them a lot and come to know them pretty well. They have been through so much tribulation with their little boy. He recently had to be in the hospital for a week because his brain shunt came loose and they had to install a new one. So it was tough to have a last visit there and say goodbye. We got these nice pictures with them. I was hoping they would let me hold their little boy, Atticus. I was glad they did.
We attended a very sweet baptism this Saturday morning. A couple aged about 50 were both baptized. They were so happy and bore simple but sincere testimonies afterwards. It turns out that the sister missionaries saw them carrying several bags of groceries to their car and offered to help. The couple asked the sisters who they were. When they explained and asked if they could stop by their house to teach them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they said yes. It is two months later they and they are now baptized. This couple was so strong in their new found faith that they purchased quad scriptures even before their baptism. It was a very nice service. We finished up some additional Valentine Cookies and made deliveries to four marine families. We have to say goodbye when we see these families this time around, and it is very sad. But we had some good visits and received some touching thank you’s. And everyone loved the cookies. Here is a photo of our cookies. Our Valentine Message is below.
After our regular ward meetings on Sunday we had a nice interview with our bishop. It was sort of an exit interview. We reviewed our list of families that we are most concerned about as we depart. We had a good discussion about them. He then thanked us for all the work in helping take care of the Quantico Ward and said we would leave a huge hole when we departed. It was humbling and rewarding to know that our efforts to help others and our whole purpose for coming on a senior mission have been realized. We love our ward family here and it will be terribly sad to have to say goodbye to them. Sunday evening we had a wonderful experience. One of our The Basic School marines is graduating in 3 days. So the gal that comes to our family home evening invited him, our other marine at TBS, and us to dinner to celebrate. She is the one that is an athletic trainer on staff at TBS. She lives about a half hour away from us in a nice townhouse. It is always delightful to get to visit a full size house – I think the apartment feels smaller the longer we are here. She served a delicious lasagna dinner. Mom provided pistachio pudding desert. It was good food and good conversation with some outstanding young church members. The marine who is graduating from TBS is a Naval Academy grad, so we have fun sharing stories about Annapolis. It was an enjoyable evening and we will miss our TBS. Here is a photo of the group at the dinner table.