Monday, September 8, 2014

Tuesday to Tuesday (Aug. 27-Sep. 2)

I know I’m late for this week, but it appears that the busier we get, the less time I have to write. Sometimes I’m just too tired to think about what to say, although I keep a calendar of all the things we do so it will remind me. I will try to keep it shorter this time. I’ll have to start the next one earlier this week.

On Wednesday (27th), we started the day trying to get some information on Pathway. The site is not user friendly. I’ve clicked everything that can be clicked, and it doesn’t work. So, I’m waiting for the person who is the head of the program here to get back to me. We should have at least 15 students if all are accepted and actually enroll due to their acceptance. We are excited and a little apprehensive about it because it is new territory for us. We will be contacting the students on the 8th to give them all the information they need to start the first class. We will have several Spanish members in the class, and I truly hope it is a good experience for them.

That night we took Denise (our newest convert) to dinner for her birthday. She loves steak, so we went for a Texas Roadhouse. It took a while to find one and get to it. She had a good time. We told them it was her birthday, and she got to ride the saddle????  I’m realizing that steak is not my favorite food. I’d much rather have some good fish. I wish we could get some of the fish from Billy Bob’s in Columbus, GA. They knew how to cook catfish to make you salivate.  Hahaha

Denise got to ride the saddle at Longhorn Steakhouse for her birthday!!!!

Thursday was a marathon. It started with preparing for a broadcast that evening for BYU-I. Then right after lunch we had to pick up Xavier to take him to his aunt’s house where we worked on his genealogy to take to the MTC. I didn’t want to tell him that he wouldn’t need it there. He was following the requests given to him, but we never used ours one time in the MTC, and I asked the young Elders if they looked at theirs while there and none of them had to do so. But it was good for Xavier to get with his aunt whom he hadn’t seen in a while and to invite her to Sunday for his farewell talk. She is unable to get around without a walker. Her name is Darlene, and we found out while there that their family came from an Indian tribe in Oklahoma. The grandparents and parents were from Tatum where the majority of the population are of Indian descent. If this is true and they can prove it, Xavier may be able to get money to go to school once he is home.

After we took Xavier home, we headed back toward our place where I had a doctor’s appointment. I had never faced this doctor before, and I have to say I like him better than any doctor I’ve ever liked. He obviously believes in giving no medicine if it can be helped. He told me that all the measures for cholesterol have been reevaluated over the last year, and because of my lifestyle, I wouldn’t even qualify for medicine. I told him my count was about 240, and he said that was ok for me. They are taking into account so many other variables, blood pressure (which is fabulous by the way), weight (good), exercise (I’m a huffing and a puffing), and staying active in life (I think  I’m doing a pretty good job of that). Anyway, I told him I wouldn’t take the medicine even if it were recommended, and he said not to worry. Just keep doing what I’m doing. I like this man!

After the doctor’s, we headed off to Medea House for Denise. It was a celebration for all the women in the program who were overcoming addiction. Denise had to talk, and she did a great job. She contributed her success to God and the Church and her Church family who have shown her a new way of life, and who love her. She was scared to death, but it was marvelous to hear her talk about getting her baby back and staying clean. The Gospel really changes people.

Denise encouraging others at Medea House.
After the program, we took some missionaries home (one is not feeling well), and came home just in time to hear the broadcast and take some notes. We were ready for bed and still had much to do for genealogy.

On Friday, we had a nice day, and we headed to the zoo for a couple of hours to celebrate old people’s day.  It was fun watching the seniors with grandkids. They were everywhere. Obviously, nursing homes had brought some of their patients out, and we enjoyed a short time just meandering around and watching the animals. We actually saw some of the smaller penguins outside for a change. Usually, they are always in a glassed tank inside, and it was fun to see them out in the open. It’s the little things that make us happy.

Riding the Safari Train.

We had to get some laundry done before the weekend, so we hurried home to do the laundry while composing some letters and charts for the missionary work. We have been asked to help all the new converts in the South Stake to set up a Family Search account and to get some family names to take to the Temple. While I finally got enough information to email most of the Bishops/Branch Presidents, I still needed a few. But I had to write a letter and run it by the Stake President and President Cutler to see what they thought about what we were doing. I must have changed the letter at least 100 times. Then I sent it to the leaders and waited.

Saturday saw us at the Scottish Fest. We will not do this one again because they don’t do any genealogy program. They have the clan tents that you can talk to each clan separately. I did get some information again for the McDowell family of which our Dowell family is a sept (meaning a part of the McDowell family). We had to be there by 10:00 and then we were assigned to take tickets at the gates for two hours. Not our thing at all. So we made it fun. We were only supposed to give them a program if they asked. Sometimes I asked if they wanted one, and if someone didn’t get one and came back to ask for it, I offered to give it for only $10 since they hadn’t waited too long to come back for it. I could find something to laugh at with others. Elder Lenhard stood on one side and me on the other side of the path, both taking tickets. Then we would try to outdo each other to see how many we could get away from each other. The clouds began to come in, and we would stamp people’s hands in case they thought they would be going out and back in during the festival. I told them that if it started to rain and their hands were stamped, they could rush to their cars and wait it out, while all the others would have to get wet waiting for us to stamp their hands so they could come back in when it was over. Most were smart enough to realize how logical I sounded. When our time was up, we were going to see what we could see and then go home. Wouldn’t you know when I found the McDowell tent, the sky opened up and the wind picked up, the temperature dropped quickly, and it was cold and wet. We decided to just make a break for it and go on home.  We were soaked and had to change clothes and warm up. The weather did not let up until much later in the afternoon.
We were helping closing down tent as rain and wind began in earnest.
 On Sunday, Xavier gave his farewell talk. What a remarkable young man! He is so excited to go on a Mission. He is the first in his family to do so, braving the way for future generations. So many of his family are inactive. It is hard to keep the young black people active when so much is working against them in their neighborhoods. Xavier lives with an Uncle and Aunt. She was almost killed in an accident years ago when she was getting something out of her car. She was leaning into the back seat when a drunk person swiped the car and she had to have both legs amputated almost to the hips. She cannot talk very well. You can understand her, but it appears to be difficult. Her husband takes such good care of her, and she has the best heart and sweetest spirit. It makes me more grateful for blessings we have that we so often take for granted. When I see people like her who have a great many challenges, yet they are always wishing the very best for you, I see a sweet daughter of God who will always bring peace and joy in the lives of others. What a blessing to know her!

Xavier Watts will serve in the Alabama Birmingham Mission.

Monday was Labor Day, and we got responses from President Cutler and President Bruner. They gave us some guidance and some input on the information we were going to be gathering. I then realized that somehow I had two Bishops/Branch Presidents for whom I had no email information. We began searching through our correspondence to locate those. We couldn’t find them and hit upon the great idea that the Mission Office probably had the information we needed. We headed over their way wondering the whole time why we didn’t think of this before?

It then took all afternoon putting the letters together for each unit leader. We had thought we could use a standard letter for all, but each unit had a different circumstance that became clear as we pulled the information together.  I would no sooner get the letter finished than I realized this or that unit needed a different sentence inserted or deleted. Ugh!  I remember why I really liked to play at being a secretary, but I hated that kind of routine.  I finally gave up in the afternoon, put some dinner together and called it an evening.

Because of Labor Day yesterday, Tuesday was P-Day. We spent the time with a non-member who is allowing us to upload her genealogy because her husband doesn’t want her to take it to the home in Florida where they are retiring and her daughters don’t want it. It is in notebooks, and she has a lot of documents, etc. We got there by 10:00 and worked at her house until after 1:00. We could have continued, but they were going to have an open house at 2:30. We were across the city, and we were hungry so we stopped at a steakhouse not too far from the home of this family. We got steak burgers, and they were very good. There was no one there when we pulled up, and we weren’t sure what we were in for with the food, but we will go back.

When we finally got closer to home, we decided to go to the Mitchell Agricultural Domes. There are three of them all together so you can go from one to the other. There is one for the tropical climates, one for desert climates, and one for the special floral collections. I loved the flowers. We took lots of pictures, and Elder Lenhard has already uploaded several. There were some plants I haven’t seen before, and it was so fun to see one I wasn’t familiar with at all.  With that, I’ll close it up with lots of pictures.
Beautiful flower.

These look painful. I've never seen them so big.

One of the pools with big fish.

I love the Orchids.

These are called bunny ears. Can you guess why?
Our scripture for the month is Omni 1:26:

“And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.”

I heard today that the Seventh Day Adventists are now teaching their children to memorize the Scriptures because they believe the day will come when our Scriptures will be taken from us. I’m grateful for the knowledge we have that the Gospel is upon the earth and will never be taken away again. Christ will return in His glory, and He shall govern over us all. We are so blessed! That being said, it is a great idea to memorize the Scriptures. Mothers, choose small ones to help your children remember them and goal them to memorize so many a year. By the time they are ready for missions, they will have several under their belt, and they will feel comfortable with them as they teach others.

We love you all. Take care and have a great week.
Elder and Sister Lenhard

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