Monday, February 18, 2013

The end of the trail....

We have been here in DC since Friday afternoon.  It has all been such a whirl!  Our apartment is a nice one.  It has lots of windows that face west.  So there is lots of natural light.  We moved most every thing in on Friday afternoon.  Saturday we had lunch with our mission president.  It was a nice lunch, and nice to meet them.  We also had to get some groceries.  We went to the closest market which was Safeway.  It was a lot pricier than Walmart.  On Saturday also we found a Walmart about 10 miles away.  Boy, was it crowded!  Everyone was speaking different languages and I felt I was on another planet.  We will have to find a better place to shop.  That Walmart didn't have very many groceries at all.  I did get sheets and a spread that are more to my tastes.  I felt like I was living in someone else's home and they weren't here.  It felt strange. The hall to the apartment looks like a really old big motel with nothing but doors every apartment.  It is cold and strange, but our apartment is bright and good.  We can hear too much at all about what is going on down the way or in other apartments.  I am surprised at how quiet it really is.

Yesterday we went to our new ward.  It is in a very brand new building almost in downtown DC.  We are assigned to a Spanish branch.  And..Wow...was I in for a culture shock.  It was all totally Spanish!  I couldn't understand a word that was said.  I felt like an alien!  The branch president invited us up to give a testimony, and I wanted to hide under the seats!  I didn't even know that was what he wanted us to do!  Creig did so we went up.  They ask someone to translate for us.  The branch is small, but the faces seem so kind.  The sisters welcomed me with hugs.  I was so overwhelmed!  I hope I can do this.  I want to get to know the sisters and work with them and serve them...I just hope I can do this.  It is what I want to do so badly.  I hope the Lord will bless me in my desires in this.

I have slept a lot today.  I feel so tired.  And I feel homesick some.  This is all so very new.  When we got here on Friday, I told Creig...."well, vacation is over, time to go home!"... But slowly this will become our home also.  I don't really know what I expected....but  it is surely different.

On Friday on our way from Richmond, we stopped in Petersburg, VA.  It was where the last few days of the Civil War was fought.  We stopped and saw what is left of the defenses that the Southerners built to try and save Petersburg and Richmond.  My Granddaddy, John Mahaffey, was here those final days.  We talked with one of the park officials and he used a map to show where everything happened.  The 11th Alabama was at Five Forks battle.  We went there and took some pics...but I lost them on my camera :(  But it is pretty much as it was then.  And not too far away was the Battle at Sailors Creek and John Mahaffey was there also.  They built up nearly 45 miles of barriers.  Some you can still see the remains of.  Anyway, that was a real treat for me. They told us that at Appomattox they have a list of all the soldiers that were taken prisoners of war that day and my John Mahaffey must be one there.  I would like to go there and see.

Today one of the couple missionaries are having us over for lunch.  It is a very pretty day today outside.  I can't wait to see when all the trees start coming out in bloom.  Well, that is about all there is for now.  I love all those that read this.  And I know there will be miracles on our path here in DC.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On The Road Again....

Sorry it has been so long..but we have been into some back country of the South and very busy and tired!  I have kept a long in Word since I didn't have an Internet connection.  So here is several days experiences...

10 February 2013
OK…Well, We have been on the road since early Thursday morning.  We have driven a lot of miles.  The first day was so beautiful.  The sky was blue and easy was the way.  We went through Price Utah.  The mountains were red as can be.  We stayed the first night in Farmington, NM.  The next night we stayed in Amarillo, TX.  It was neat to come into Texas, my home state.  Yesterday we drove to Shawnee, OK.  It was a short day because we were weary.  We try and stop about every two hours and walk around a bit and get some fresh water.  By the time we stop we are tired.  Yesterday it was raining and very windy.   We spent hours looking for motels down the road.  It is tedious indeed.  We have changed our path several times.  My cousin Shirley Joiner in Nacogdoches, Texas,  on my Godsey family line, sent some information about some neat places to stop in North Carolina and Virginia.  Apparently they are putting up some new headstones in c cemetery in North Carolina for some early Godseys.  And there in Virginia on Gwynn’s Island is where to Godseys were in the early 1600s.  Wow…to see where this family lived will be such a blessing.  The family line was blocked for so many years to me until I discovered the Grandmother’s real name of Arrissa.  These people are so nice.  I am so blessed to meet them.  Shirley says she has lots of information for me.
Chad’s family has been really sick with the flu these past couple of weeks.  Makayah is still sick.  Bless her little heart.  It has been such turmoil for them moving and having a sick family.  Our prayers are so with them. Jaden is picking up some.  I am proud of him.  He has had a major change in his life.  We called down the angels to support him and help him.  I love that boy so much!  Cambreea has been really sick also.  I hope they all get better soon.

Our three days in SLC at the Church Office Bldg. was amazing. We learned so much.  We got to see every step that these images that we will be taking go through to be on the computer to be searched.  It is amazing what the Church does to make these images the best possible.  But it doesn’t surprise me because it is the work of the Lord.  We got trained personally by the people in charge of this department.  They were so kind.  We trained in the software and the hardware of the camera.  We learned how to be very, very careful of the focus and pixels.  They scan every image that comes in, and they will return images for re-take.  The Spirit was very strong there.  They let us leave a day early because of a storm coming in on Friday.  We were certainly blessed by leaving that day earlier…the road has been made clear for us.  It is so testimony building.  We are excited to get to our mission field.

We haven’t been able to study the scriptures like we did last week and we miss that.  But we read the Book of Mormon each day.  When we are in the middle of nowhere, we have been listening to Gone with the Wind.  It is 49 hour book and we are about a third through it.  It is a good listen.

This morning at breakfast we got asked about our name tags.  I explained.  The gentleman ask if there was a church there in Shawnee.  I didn’t know but went to our room to check it out…nothing of the Church in Shawnee, OK.  I thought I had some pass-a-long cards, but couldn’t find them in the car…I know I brought some.  So I got a Book of Mormon out to give him.  He saw the book and said…”oh Mormons”.  I bore my testimony of Jesus Christ and his ministry among the Nephites.  He said he would read it.  He was real nice.  Now I don’t know what will become of that,  but I felt impressed to leave the Book of Mormon with him.  I wasn’t that hard of a thing to do.  I pray that the man will read at least part of it.

11 February 2013

We saw my sister yesterday.  It was a cool reception, but so nice to talk to her.  She doesn’t look very healthy and I worry about her.  She is just there so by herself.  She is so lonely.  She is always in my prayers.   We then drove on down to Maypearl, Texas to see my cousin Dave Hughes and his wife.  We called and told them that we would check into our hotel and then drive out to see them, but Dave was so offended at us not staying with them!  So we cancelled the hotel and accepted their hospitality.  They have a very beautiful home and made us feel so welcomed.  It was a nice visit.  We talked of family history and exchanged information.  Dave made us a wonderful breakfast and we sat and talked.  We left with a thought from the Bible…Malachi 3:4-5 about Elijah.  We then ask them if they would like a Book of Mormon, and they said they would!  So we chatted a little bit about it and bore our testimony.  I felt the Spirit there.  So we have placed 3 Books of Mormon so far…yeah!
We are now on our way to Nacogdoches Texas to see my cousin Shirley Joiner about the Godseys.  As we are driving through here, I see all these familiar town names that are in my family history!  It is so amazing to see where they walked and lived.  I am in awe.

We come in and out of phone service around our travels here in Texas.  There is just so much open space.

Our ward at home got a new Bishop yesterday.  It is Michael Dunbar, Brent Boyle, and Bro. Rhodes.  That should be a good thing.

12 February 2013

We had a most interesting day yesterday!  We got to Nacogdoches to meet my cousin Shirley Godsey Joiner.  She is such a really wonderful person.  Her husband is in the early stages of Altimzers.   They were just real fine people.  They took us to lunch and then we talked about family history.  It was raining so we didn’t go out to any cemeteries.   She has boxes and boxes and notebooks full of genealogy.  Her father was Raymond Godsey and his father was a brother to my great grandfather Samuel Godsey.  Raymond never knew much about his father as he rode away on a horse when he was real young.  He was an only child.  He ask his daughter, Shirley, to search and find out all she could of the Godsey family.  She took his request very seriously, and has searched all her life on the Godsey family.  She is even the leader of a DNA project on the Godseys.  They seem to have come from northern Germany where the Vikings were.  She had some old cards that my grandmother’s sister had written.  That really ties Henry Lee Godsey into my Samuel Godsey’s family.  She is going to make copies of this big notebook on the Godsey’s for me.  We were then invited to go out to her great granddaughter’s 15th birthday party in the evening.  I tell you..we went now into the hicks to this party.  It was a family party with maybe 4 generations together.  It was down some old muddy roads…in the hicks.  They were Creig’s first meeting of some real East Texas hillbillies!  And hillbillies they were. There was this little old lady that came over to meet us and I put my hand out to shake her hand and she said flatly…”Honey, the Lord didn’t give me hands to shake but arms to hug”  and she gave me a big hug, and Creig too.  They all hugged.  Any family that is anyone’s family is their family!.  The teenagers and kids were all so very polite, they said “yes, Mam and no Mam” to all adults.  They were especially polite to their grandparents and great grandparents.  It was so much like home for me!  It was just delightful!  We got back to our motel about 9 p.m.  We were so tired!

We have just passed into Louisiana.  It is raining real hard.  We heard on the TV this morning that Amarillo is having a snow storm.  I tell you…the Lord has really paved the way for our travel!  It is such a testimony builder.  All ya’ll that read this know that the Lord is with us and we are safe. He is answering your prayers…please keep praying for us.
Oh, I wanted to comment on some pictures I saw of the Godseys.  They had really dark auburn hair.  

Oh, I wanted to comment on some pictures I saw of the Godseys.  They had really dark auburn hair.  They had the look of my father, and my Aunt Kathryn and my sister and my sister’s boy Matthew.  It is totally amazing.  Shirley looks a lot like my Aunt Kathryn and my sister.  It is just such a wonderful blessings to be able to meet these nice people…my kinfolk.
Well, we are in a real down pouring of rain!  I will type more later.

We passed into Mississippi during a down pour!  And crossed the Mississippi River!
We made it into Meridian, Mississippi about an hour ago.  We went to the motel we had reservations for and it was a dump.  We were tired of the dumpy motels of the past few days, so we went across the street to the Hilton Gardens and splurged!  Oh My, what luxury!

Saturday, February 2, 2013


WOW!!! What a wonderful week we have had!  On Monday, we were divided into Districts.  There were four couples in our District.  Couple missionaries from everywhere going to all over the world to do all kinds of missions.  We were the only missionaries going on a records preservation mission.  There were couples going to the West Indies, Africa, Philippines, Spain, Ecuador, and all over the United States.  In our District there was the Campbells going to Huntsville, Alabama to do Member Leadership Support, Cornelius' going to North Carolina to work in the office, Checketts' also going to North Carolina to do Employment.  We had the best teacher, Brother Sillitoe.  He is just home from a mission.  And our afternoon teacher was another returned missionary, Sister Thomas.  She was so wonderful.

Starting Tuesday we began at 8:00 in the morning and had a devotional and then separated into districts and learned about the book Preach My Gospel.  You know, I had a copy of that book at home, but I never read it.  It is the most wonderful book.  We learned that to teach the gospel, we had to think of a triangle--on the top is the Godhead--on the left side is you as a missionary---on the right side is the investigator.  And our job as missionaries is to get that connection with God without us in the the middle.  The Spirit is what converts not us.  We have to get them praying to Heavenly Father and reading the Book of Mormon.  I wish I would have understood this with my kids.  I know that I didn't teach that to my daughter.  I wish I would have realized that is where I needed to work with her.  I needed to get her praying and finding answers from God.  And to teach her how much her Heavenly Father loves her.  To any parents I say, teach your children to pray and find answers from God , the Heavenly Father.  That connection with Heavenly Father is so vital in their lives.  I tried to teach my sons that, but I am not sure I did a very good job.  I am going to try harder and teach them how much Heavenly Father loves them.  And I am going to testify about prayer more.

We had to prepare to teach an investigator.  We had to learn to listen to the Spirit and teach what we learned from the Spirit they needed.  We did role play.  The first day we had an older couple married nearly 60 years.  It was very interesting.  We invited them to read in 3 Nephi:11.  We tried to bring up feelings that they mentioned as they camped out.  We tried to tell them that was the Spirit that was talking to them, that reverent feeling they felt.  We were not successful in getting the brother to pray.  But we did feel the Spirit with them.  the next day we were lucky to have another older couple.  They had already had a first visit.  We talked with them about the Book of Mormon.  the brother said that the other missionaries had told him it was a story about real cowboys and Indians!  He loved to read Louis Lamour.  However we were able to tell them that it was a sacred book about the Savior and His dealings with a people here on the American continent.  We were successful in getting the brother to pray before we left.  We thought that was a great success.  I learned something real quick...I need to know where the scriptures are that I need in teaching.  I have started a system of marking in color tabs.  Like my green tabs will be about the Restoration, and blue will be about  the Plan of Salvation.  that will help a lot.

We talked about our experiences each day and learned from them.  We got done each day at 4:30 p.m. in time for dinner.  Dinner....meals....what an experience!  The eating place is just huge and there are hundreds of missionaries everywhere.  It is awesome to be there.  The meals are mostly cold by the time you sit down to eat.  But they are good meals. 

We were told that in the 2 weeks we are here they will have 1200 more missionaries come.  We heard that they are going to convert the Helaman Halls into another training center.  They are really expecting a big wave of missionaries in the next few months.  This is going to change the world!  Watch the Work of Jesus Christ go forward as never before.

Next week we have to travel to SLC each day and work in the Church Office Building to learn about the cameras we will be using.  We aren't sure if we will try the train or just drive down.  They said we could be done by Thursday.  then we can head out to our Mission.  We are just so excited to get out in the mission field.  I remember the joy that Chad had in his face after the MTC when we saw him off to DC.  I wanted to have that feeling.  And I do now!  It is a most wonderful feeling to be a full-time missionary.  To be full-time in the service of Jesus Christ.  It is amazing!  We have learned so much.
We know this is where the Lord wants us right now at this time of our lives.  One couple in our District this is their 4th mission.  We want to be like that. 

This morning we went to the Temple and then to lunch.  We have rested this afternoon.  Well we are heading to dinner now.  Tomorrow is fast Sunday and we have Sacrament meeting at 7:30 a.m.  then a mission conference from 10-noon, then dinner at 4p.m. and then 2 firesides.  They have a special place for us couple missionaries to set at the conference and fireside.  They have treated us so wonderful.  We are staying in the Provo Marriott Hotel!  Fancy!  They had to convert some of the couple apartments for the single Elders and Sisters.  But we aren't complaining.

We are doing so well.  The Lord has really blessed us.  I caught a cold last week, but I am able to function and do good for all our training.  What an answer to my family's prayers.  Thank you family! more thing...they don't want the missionaries shaking hands so we touch elbows!