Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hey, its getting colder!

Blog for November 27, 2016

Hey, its getting colder!

South Glenmore Trail in November at Sunrise

The picture above was taken yesterday along my favorite place to jog, the Glenmore Park trail. This biking and jogging trail runs along the south side of the Glenmore Reservoir. If you recall previous blog pictures taken along this same trail, the trees were green or golden with autumn changes. The trail is now quite a different place environmentally as the temperature was 17 degrees (F) and most of the reservoir is frozen over. All in all, however, the weather has been and is quite moderate for this season in this part of the continent.

After returning from the jog and, yes, I showered, had some breakfast then got a haircut, washed the car (hand wand at a car wash), and replaced a battery (purchased at Costco) in one of the Chevy trucks we have for sale. It’s a little embarrassing when someone is interested in one of the vehicles and it fails to start because of a dead battery. I had previously encountered this problem with this truck during the week and jump started it, then ran it for some time, only to have it fail to crank just two days later. Truly time for a new battery.

Two additional cars sold this past week, and two more should sell on Monday. All cars we have had more than 4 weeks and have not sold are taken to the Calgary Auto Auction. On Wednesday I arranged to have four cars go to the auction; however, a surge of interest toward the end of the week has reduced the number to two, a Colorado and a Cruze. That and putting the remaining five cars helps to reduce the numbers in the office parking lot but this was only temporary as the new cars replaced five Subaru Imprezas which were driven to Calgary on Thursday. These now need to be prepped for sale. Since no new cars are due to come to us in the near future, I might eventually get caught up.

On Tuesday we received nine new missionaries; one from Taiwan, one from Spain, one from Ireland, one from the Czech Republic, two from Canada, and three from the U.S. This certainly speaks to how much the Church has spread throughout the world. Most of the missionaries who come from other countries are from second-generation member families. After picking up new missionaries at the airport, we who work in the office then spend the afternoon giving them the training they need to have. The training topics are about customs, housing, telephones, cars and other means of transportation, safety, use of the gas and missionary funding cards, the need to budget their time, their money, and each area’s allocated driving allotments. Other topics include wise use of their P-day (preparation day) time, maintaining their health and physical well-being, apartement inspections, and other quality of life issues. Since they get up at around 2:00 a.m. to be bussed from the MTC to the SLC airport and then here to Calgary, they are usually pretty tired and sleepy during training so we have to take time for standing and stretching to help them stay awake. Additional training is also done by their first companions who are called “trainers” They meet their trainers on Wednesday morning and then head to their first areas.

As is always the case during Transfer Week, on Thursday I drove some of the transferring Elders and Sisters south to Lethbridge; however, because of the number of new cars also going south, as discussed above, I was able to take the mission Chevy Silverado to pull the luggage trailer instead of the van. The same situation existed on the return as many of the missionaries coming to the north part of the mission also drove the older cars coming here to Calgary to be prepped and sold. Also on Thursday evenings, all of the departing missionaries go to the Calgary Temple for a session and a special meeting with the temple president, which is always a treat for them.

The final event of Transfer Week is on Friday when all the missionaries returning home are taken to the airport. It is always a bitter-sweet situation to see the missionaries return home. On one hand they are excited to be going home and are looking forward to school, jobs, and family, but they are also sad to be leaving those with whom they have served and the many people they have loved and served and taught while on their missions. It is sad for us as well as we get to know them so well and have so many nice interactions with them, and then, all too soon, they return home. Such was the case with the sweet Sister in the picture below, Sister Earnhardt, with whom we were particularly close.

Kathy, Sister Earnhardt, & me

This week also saw a change in one of the Assistants to the Mission President. Serving for a time as an AP is such a demanding experience; President Miles likes to give the opportunity to serve as an AP to as many as possible as it is a real growth type of experience but also very emotionally demanding. We work closely with the APs as they serve. They are in the mission office more than any of the other missionaries so we get to know them especially well. Elder Lee has served so well and will now serve for a time as a trainer to one of the newly arrived Elders. Elder Stringham replaced Elder Lee and will be serving with Elder Moffit for awhile. Their pictures appear below.

President Miles, Elder Lee, Elder Moffit, Elder Stringham, Sister Miles

We love all of the 200+ missionaries with whom we serve, but we are especially close to the other senior couples with whom we serve. Even though Thursday was American Thanksgiving, it was a work day for those of us in Canada and it was transfer day so we were very busy. Nevertheless, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving and did so on Saturday. We had a wonderful potluck meal and enjoyed visiting and sharing stories of our experiences. The pictures which follow are of our gathering. The couples are the Peppingers, the Sefciks, the Gardiners, and the Eberts. Eberts arrived only recently and are from our home stake in Sandy, Utah although we didn’t know them prior to their coming here. The Peppingers and Sefciks work with us in the office. The Gardiners and Eberts are member/leadership support missionaries and are assigned to the Banff and Columbia Valley Branches out in British Columbia.

Elder & Sister Ebert, Elder & Sister Gardiner, Elder & Sister Peppinger, Elder & Sister Thorley

Today I taught the High Priest Group. The assigned topic was Elder Anderson’s General Conference topic regarding the growth of the Church. From 1830 to the present the Church has grown from six to over 15 million members. Truly it is the stone cut out of the mountain without hands and is rolling forth in the latter-days until it has filled the earth. One of the persons I asked to share his experience of growth in the Church was a man who is approaching his 90s and has lived in Southern Alberta for all of his life. He has seen the Church in this area grow from a single stake, the Lethbridge Stake (which covered from the Montana border on the south to the Arctic Circle on the north) to dozens of stakes. Just in the Calgary area there are now 12 stakes and 48 wards. Some of our missionaries serving in the south around Calgary and Raymond serve in 4-6 wards.

The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored and the message of the Gospel is rolling forth just as Daniel foretold in interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (see Daniel 2). As Daniel stated, “The dream is certain, and the interpretation ….. sure.” To this I add my witness.

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