Sunday, March 31, 2013

Week 7....

What a week this has been.  First off, we woke up to a white Monday morning.  It was more snow than on the day they cancelled everything in DC.  We decided to take the Metro in to work instead of traveling on the freeway with the snow.  It was our first time on the Metro. 
It was an amazing experience....We went to get the Metro down this amazing tunnel on a VERY long was so long and so steep that it messed up your balance at first. It was like going to the end of nowhere...But we made it in to DC and did our work.

By Friday it was like this outside of the Archives.....

There have been a lot of people in DC this week.  I have felt bad for them because the weather has been so lousy and cool and the cherry blossoms are not out yet.  I guess the cherry blossoms are very late this year.  They are having the festival...but without the cherry blossoms....weird.

We made a big mistake at the Archives this week.  We have been picturing a lot of documents.  At the camera one day, I found a document that needed to be sent down to conservation to be unglued.  So I put a place marker to take the picture of the document when it came back from conservation.  Well, we forgot about it.  Creig got the group of images that we needed to send to SLC on Friday on the hard drive shuttle and took it down to the mailroom.  About 3:45, it came to me about the missing document because conservation had brought it back in the afternoon.  So we were about to leave and take care of it after SLC sent it back to us...but then the couple in same room as we are suggested that Creig run down to the mail room and get the package and add the missing image.  So that is what we did.  We were too late to catch the 4:00 shuttle bus, so we waited for the 5:00 shuttle bus to get home.  That is when I snapped these pictures while we were out waiting for the shuttle bus.

We went to the $ store and I got some big plastic Easter eggs to fill up for our 4 Elders.  It was fun...I put in a matchbox truck for each one and some water balloons and lots of candy.  They loved it!

On Saturday we drove out the Creig's sister's place in Virginia.  She moved last week from Maryland to Virginia across the Potomac.  It took us 2 hours to get there.  I just love her place.  They are renting it.  They plan to be here for the next 4 years.  But it is just so lovely out in the rural Virginia. It is just a very lovely home.  It has a wonderful deck in the back and a nice fenced yard with so many trees.  Just like my dream house....really.  I could really live in Virginia.  It is so beautiful.  Linda told us next time to bring our overnight bags and stay the night.  We will just do that.  Creig's brother, Dale's son Greg was there with his young family.  They live in Waldorf MD, about an hour closer to Linda than we are.  We had not seen them in several years.  It was nice to visit.

Today at Church there were so many new investigators.  There was a couple that found the Church on and ask for the missionaries.  They were really excited to be there.  There was a young man who is the cousin of a young man that was baptized in November.  This young man was made a ward missionary today and is preparing to go on a mission as soon as he has been a member for a year in November.  He is awesome!  The cousin he brought is very interested in the Gospel also.  And there was another couple also.  There was a man who had been a Bishop in Chili for 12 years and he had been looking for the Church for several weeks and finally found the meetinghouse.  It was great.  This little Branch is working to become a ward and the Lord is just sending the people to make it happen.  It is amazing.

We had dinner with the Anderson's , the couple missionaries that we carpool with to the Archives, and we had two of our Branch missionaries with us because they didn't have a place to eat for Easter dinner.  It was great.  They had a little old man that is in his upper 80s come and eat and also a ward member that has just been baptized 3 months.  She is from Cameron Africa.  Her four children are still over there.  Some many come here first and then try and save the money to bring the rest of their family here.  She is a very nice person.  There was also a pair of senior sister missionaries also.

So it was a busy week.  I really hope that the weather improves soon.  But we are happy and healthy and doing very well.  Thank you for your prayers.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Hello everyone!  I would like to thank you so much for your prayers on our behalf...It is helping so much.

We worked almost 80 hours (together) last week at the Archives.  We took nearly 5200 photos.  It was a good week.  I can now make it up the 18 floors stairs...I do it in the morning and then after lunch.  It is hard, but I will get better at it.  The days go very fast.  We are in desperate need of 2 more missionary couples to work cameras in the Archives.  It is easy and the days go fast...Please consider a mission to here.  If you are at all interested, I can tell you who to contact in SLC.

My Spanish is coming along.  I need to study more and it would be much better.  The days just don't have enough hours.  But I did get my name tag in Spanish.  It was so exciting.  Today in the branch missionary meeting, the Branch Pres. ask if I would work with a Sister to create a bulletin board in the hallway by the office.  I said , Sure!...So I will work on that.  I am understanding more each Sunday.  I catch words here and words there and then I have to remember what they mean and put them in context.  It is slow, but a little everyday. The sisters here are so accepting of me and so willing to help me.  They greet me with a kiss on the cheek each week.  It is so wonderful to be here.  I am so blessed.

It is still freezing here...It is to snow tonight and in the morning...burrrrrrrrrrrr....  However, I will tell you that I have never seen so very many daffodils.  They are just everywhere!  So many and so beautiful.  I guess people plant a lot of the because the deer don't like them.  But they are along the freeway and everywhere.  The grass is beginning to green up.  So soon it will be spring. 

So this week, let us ponder on the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.  What a gift He gave to us just because of His wondrous love for us His brothers and sisters.  How can we show our appreciation to Him?  Can we give a prayer of thanks, help a neighbor, share the Gospel, and love each other.  What else can we do?  Think on it this week.  We are so very, very blessed to have the Gospel in our lives. 

I love you all...each and everyone one of you! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Week 5..

Well, we were basically on our own this week at the Archives.  The Dickey's came in and out to help answer our questions.  We did fairly well.  We did over 5400 images of documents that we sent into SLC.  We enjoy this job very, very much.  It is still amazing to think of being downtown Washington DC everyday.  We pass the Capital Bldg. each morning.  We are only maybe 3-4 blocks from the Capital.

We had some fun times with some of the senior couples this week.  We learned a really fun card game at the Dickey's on Friday night.  It is a game that Bro. Dickey's brother created.  They gave us a deck of the game.  I can't wait to share it with our family.  The grandkids will love it for sure.

I have been homesick this week.  I think it is because it is Cambreea's birthday Tuesday, and I can't take her to lunch and shopping.  I am thinking of you Cambreea on your very important 12th birthday.  The weather isn't warming up either and that is a bummer.  It looks like it won't really warm up until Conference weekend.  Even Idaho Falls is warmer than here today!  We are only 39 degrees warm!

Elder Nelson and I are struggling with the Spanish language.  It is really hard.  I don't know if we are going to make it or not.  I would like to hope we can, but in reality....I don't know.  But struggling eventually leads to growth, doesn't it?  We will give it awhile longer.  It is hard to be in Church for three hours and not understand what is going on.  Elder Nelson is only at about 40% of understanding, and me still at 2% stretching it!  You just feel so helpless.  The Branch members are really nice and friendly.  I guess I was expecting a miracle.

We are having the missionaries (4) over to dinner today.  There are transfers this week and maybe a couple of our missionaries will be transferred.  I think we will make this a regular on the week of transfer...dinner with them.

The dinner with the missionaries was wonderful.  They also want to include us more in helping the Branch become a ward.  They are going to suggest a bulletin board with some pictures and events.  They ask if we would help do that...Yes, we would Love to......

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week #3

I am marking the weeks since we have landed here on our mission in DC.  We graduated from the training that the Archives gave us on Tuesday.  Hooray!  We can not handle the documents. Then on Wednesday morning we woke up to a snow storm.  They shut down Washington.  We had to get on this website and  it tells us whether Washington is open or closed.  The snow amounted to about an inch, actually less than that here.  But it was cold, and we stayed in our apartment all day.  The next day the radio was calling it "Snowmagadon"  making light that they closed everything down for that small amount of snow!

So on Thursday we were able to get our hands on training.  The supervisor, Jackie, will look at  our images a couple of times a week for a few weeks.  It was just so fun to get started with what we are going to be doing.    The Dickey's, who were on that video, are so kind and gentle in teaching us.  The time just flies by when we are working.  We look up and it is time for lunch, and then the next time we look up, it is time to go home.  I like unfolding the documents the best.  Capturing the images is a bit harder to get used to because there are pedels on the floor that you have to work with both feet to have the table go up and down to the glass.  I got my hand caught a couple of times.  Also, Elder Nelson and I keep wanting to turn the documents face down-like to photocopy it.  But it has to go up for the camera to take the picture.  We got in some good practice.  We were tired after 2 full days of our real work.

Some of the missionaries take the stairs..I am working on getting up to the 18th floor, but I can only go as far as the 12th.  Elder Nelson is working at it also.  We get more exercise here than we ever did at home and we can feel the energy it is giving us.

On Saturday we went to our Spanish lessons with the Elders at the Church.  It was really, really good this week.  I am starting to put some of the pieces together to learn this language.  On last Monday, and every Monday for the next 6 months, I have a lesson over Skype on learning how I learn so I can learn this Spanish in the quickest time possible.  It is an hour lesson.  Then on Wednesdays I have my Spanish tutor, also on Skype.  He is really nice.  Both these teachers work at the Senior MTC in teaching languages to the Senior missionaries.  I didn't really understand what I was suppose to learn on Wednesday until my lesson with the Elders on Saturday.  The Elders are helping me so much.  A light went on and now I can work on my lesson for Wednesday's lesson on the bus the next 3 days.

Elder Nelson and I are also trying to learn how to use our time the best.  We want to get our Saturdays as free as possible to be able to go and see things.  But then again, we didn't come here to site see...We are also working on how best to fix dinners and lunches that are quick.. When we get home at 5:30 after a day at work, neither of us wants to cook a meal.  So we are trying to work things out that way, and also when to do our laundry, and our grocery shopping.  Because I have language training on Mondays and Wednesdays.  This week we did laundry on Thursday this past week.

Today in an early morning meeting with the Ward Mission leaders and the Elders, Elder Nelson and I were given 4 families to help with.  Some are new converts and some are investigators.  We will go with the Elders for awhile until we can get better at the language.  They really have a strong mission effort in this little Branch.  The new Mission Leader, Hermano (Brother) Cortez, is a new convert himself and you can tell that he has a very strong testimony of the Gospel.  So that will use some of our evenings also.  But it just feels so wonderful to be here and to be needed.

The members I am growing to love.  For the celebration of the Relief Society's birthday this month, the sisters are going out to a restaurant to eat together.  I am excited about this. This will be on the 23rd of March and then the next day we are to wear blue and gold to Church because it will be a Sacrament Meeting about the Relief Society. And blue and gold are the Relief Society's colors.....I did not know that.  Did you?

We had such a good lesson in Relief Society on Lorenzo Snow's lesson #5.  There was a sister sitting next to me helping me to know what was going on in the lesson.  The Spirit was so strong in that lesson.  There in that small Branch of the Church sat a few sisters learning on what they can become someday.  It was so touching.  And even though they have a different language from me...their faces show the same feelings as I have.  I love being here.  I am so very thankful that we are on this mission.  We feel happy and so very, very blessed.

 There is Elder Branning (from Houston, Texas, second generation member)...he is the tallest one.  Elder Anderson (from Utah) is on his right.  He got here the same time we did, so he is new.  Elder Gleed (he was born in the same town in Texas I was!) on the left of Elder Branning, and Elder Guerro (can't remember where he is from :(  ) on the end.  He is just brand new like Elder Anderson.  His birthday is tomorrow and he will be 25.  No 18 year olds in this group.  Both Elder Anderson and Elder Guerro are also struggling with learning the language also.

Well, this catches ya'll up on this Grand Adventure we are on.....adios!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

a videa

A quick post...

Here is a video that was done about our mission.  The couple in the video, the Dickeys, are our trainers.  We are replacing them.  Pass this along...we need more senior missionaries.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

We graduated!

We graduated, so we can now handle the historic documents...Today there was a snow storm (nothing compared to Idaho or Utah), and the government shut down.  We didn't have to go to work.  Stormy, cold day.  Now I know why we came on a is boring to be just home with not a lot to do!  So glad we are here!  Anxious to get back tomorrow. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

After a week of Archives

 The Temple the night we went...

1 March 2013

We finally got the Internet hooked up.  It is good.  We are now up and running , and Elder Nelson is doing our taxes as we speak.

I am not sure where I left off.  I think I wrote about our second Sunday in our Branch.  It was so wonderful.  I am so excited about this calling.  The MTC called me on Tuesday of this week, and ask a bunch of questions.  I answered.  They are going to work with me to become an “Independent Spanish learner”.  I understand that means I will learn the way I learn things the best.  They are going to have a language specialist meet me (on Skype) once a week, and then a tutor once a week.  I will have about an hour of homework a night, and I should commit to 4 hours daily of working in the language.  Four hours is a lot with the hours we put into the Archives each day, but I can study on the bus going and coming, and when I am better and can understand better I can listen to Spanish on my phone while I am working at the Archives.  I  then had to submit my goals…what I want to accomplish in learning Spanish.  I set some pretty high goals, but I think it can happen because I want this gift so very, very much.  They will be getting back in touch with me with a schedule.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to learn Spanish!

Now, at the Archives….It is such a wonderful place.  The first day, Monday, we got our temp. badges and set in motion the background investigation.  So some of you will get a call or visit from someone from the FBI about us.  I hope you say good things????  J   Then our Supervisor, Jackie, took us on a tour of the Archives.  It was so fascinating!  The records of our Nation that they have there is totally amazing.  And while we are there we can do research with “original” documents!  Jackie told us we can copy what we want and she will stamp it so we can get it out of the building.  Oh Man….am I in Heaven?
Now it is just budgeting the time.  Anyway, the tour took all the rest of the day.  The Archives are right on Pennsylvania Ave in downtown DC.  Amazing!
On Tuesday, we started “shadowing” Rob and Brenda Dickey.  They are the couple we will be replacing.  We cannot touch the documents yet until we go through “document handling training” next week.  So we watched their routine of unfolding the documents, capturing them on camera, and the refolding of the documents.  One or the other captures the picture while the other unfolds or refolds.  It is quite a dance.  The missionaries are allowed to listen to books on audio with headphones or whatever.  It is really quiet in there.  There are no windows and the temperature and humidity is set at a perfect setting for the documents.  It isn’t real cold, but a bit cool in the room.  In the room is two camera setups and two worktables.  Two couples are working on this project of the Homestead Act of 1862.  They are coming to the end of Nebraska.  However, the work will slow down as the other couple in the room is being released next month.  So the camera will be still. 

Anyone even thinking of a mission….do it…there is so much to do and you are so very needed!

The project in the other room in the Civil War widows Pension Records.  There are two cameras for that project and only one is manned by a couple.  So that project needs a couple also so more work can be done.  The couple working on that project is the Andersons.  They live in the same building that we do, so we are going to car pool with them to the bus.

We leave about 7:15 a.m. and get to the Archives II about 7:40 depending on traffic.  Then the shuttle bus that takes us downtown leaves at 8:05 a.m. and we get to the Archives downtown about 8:45 or so.  At the Archives II building, there is a beautiful trail around the building of about 2/3 of a mile up and down.  We have been trying to do that each morning.  It is good to get the fresh air.  It will be very beautiful as spring emerges.  The birds are singing already.

We work on the top floor which is the 18th.  But that is a little deceiving.  When they built the Archive building, originally there was to be a park inside that would be surrounded by the building.  But then they realized that they need that space to store documents, they built a connecting tower in the middle of the building.  And actually the floors in this tower are shorter than a regular floor…It is hard to explain.  Anyway that is where we work.  I have been trying to take as many stairs as I can going up.  I get to the 9th or 10th floor so far, and then I have to take the elevator the rest of the way.  My goal is to be able to go up all the stairs eventually.  We will take the stairs down most of the time.  We eat at a little cafĂ©’ inside the towers.

We shadowed the Dickeys for the week.  Yesterday at lunch the Dickeys took us out to the Old Post Office just down the street to have lunch.  They took their lunch and so did we, however, we needed the microwave…which wasn’t there…so we got a sandwich.  There are a lot of little shops inside.  I understand that Donald Trump has leased the building and is going to make it a hotel.  It will be a very beautiful hotel.  The National Park Service operates the elevator that take you up to the bell tower.  It is very high.  The bells in the tower are used on special occasions.  They have a group that comes and practices ringing the bells on Thursdays.  It was a neat experience and we will probably visit again when we have more time.

Elder Nelson and I were able to take some time and get our researchers card so we can research at the Archives.  I am not sure when we will get the time…but maybe things will settle down as we get into a routine.

We have noticed that food doesn’t keep as well here, so we are going to have to do a little shopping for fresh things each week.  So far we are doing very well in making our lunches and making dinner when we get home.

I will add some pictures here also.  I guess that about catches us up on things.  Tonight we have been invited to the Dickey’s to play some games and meet another missionary couple.  Tomorrow the missionaries in our Branch have set up a “study hour” for us to study Spanish with them on Saturday mornings, so we will do that.  And then the Branch is having a seminar on teaching.  We will stay for a couple of hours of that also.

Well, my laundry is done, so I will close and get back to Elder Nelson and see how the taxes are doing.

This is Saturday:  We went to the Church this morning to have a Spanish lesson with the Elders.  It was so wonderful!  Elder Branning and Elder Guerria taught me because I am so green.  Elder Anderson and Elder Gleed worked with Elder Nelson.  I learned how to say a prayer!  I have a little "cheat" sheet, But I can do it.  Elder Nelson and I are to say all our prayers in Spanish.  I can use my cheat sheet on for a little while.  I am going to learn to do my testimony.  In fact, Elder Branning challenged me to write my testimony and give it at Church tomorrow!  Oh Boy!  I am going to do it!  I feel the Lord blessing me in my desire to learn Spanish.  It is amazing how I feel.

So now all up to date!

This is the building that we work in.

This is the door we go in.  The guards are so nice.   When you come out you have to step in this monitor and if it says a green check, you can go on through.  However, if it turns red X, they have to go through you bags.  Well, for two days in a row mine turned red X...I teased the guard that he was saving all the red Xs for me....

Back a week

This is a post that I wrote when we were waiting on Internet service:

24 February 2013

We have been out of Internet this week.  We thought we had it all set up that we could use our cell phone as a “hot spot” and have our Internet…Well….we learned very quickly that it used up our speedy megs really fast.  The say “unlimited data”  but that is really slow after you use your allowed amount.  So, we have ordered Verizon triple-play where we will have Internet and phone and TV.  We won’t be using the TV much, but it was cheaper to get all three than just the Internet.  Don’t ask why…I don’t know.

This past week has been just wonderful.  The weather has been lousy, and cold and windy…but otherwise wonderful.  We have been out and learned where some stores are.  We have been told several different places to shop for food.  One was really discounted, but the choices were very limited.  Safeway was WAY too expensive, and one called Giant was fair.  However, we found a big Super Walmart and Sam’s together out of the hussle and bussle and it was just so wonderful to shop where we knew…Just call us dedicated Walmart shoppers!  We will go out there a couple of times a month.

I bought a plant to put in our apartment at Walmart…a big, big plant that was on super sale!  Then I got me a little beta fish in a very small aquarium.  She is blue with white on the tips of his fins.  Very pretty.  I call him Blue Boy.  So now I have a plant and a pet and I am set…this is home!

We have figured out doing our laundry over at the Temple missionaries’ apartment house across the street.  We also park our car there so we can see it out our window.

Elder Nelson went out on splits with the missionaries on Wednesday night.  I stayed here, and we both felt very uncomfortable about the situation.  I was here alone without a phone and he was driving where he wasn’t familiar.  So, we decided that from now on we will follow the council of our dear Stake President and stay together.  So when Elder Nelson goes I go also.  We talked about that with the missionaries and they are good with that.

Friday we went to a session at the Temple.  OH My…what a beautiful Temple!  The session was so small…only 5 women and 6 men.  But wonderful!  It is just so beautiful!

Saturday night we went over to the Visitors Center and heard a wonderful program sang by two choirs: the Mormon Choir of Washington DC and a Black Baptist Choir, and a soprano soloist.  It was fantastic! It was old black hymns.  Oh, it was music to my ears.  Very well done.  The soloist was just so very beautiful. She had such a range in her voice and such feelings in her songs.  I guess she say at one of the Balls at the Inaugural of President Obama.  Anyway, she sang beautifully.

Ok, now to today at Church…It was so very, very much better!  The people were friendly and happy to see us.  I had one of the missionaries translate for me at Sacrament Meeting.  In Sunday school it was harder…no translator.  But I could feel the compassion of the teacher.  We go to the Gospel Principles class and today the lesson was on why we need a Savior and the war in Heaven.  It was good.  Then in Relief Society a sister sat behind me and translated for me.  It was so kind of her.  The lesson was on parenting by L. Tom Perry from October conference.  I could feel for these sisters.  Most are single parents and struggling.  There are two sets of Elders in the Branch, and today one set taught Primary (They only have maybe 10 children), and the other set taught Young Women!  It is indeed a small branch.

But after the block meetings, there was a baptism!  A man that just joined the Church in October baptized his Mother!  And he is in a wheelchair.  It was just wonderful how the Elders held up the man’s hand and help the mother to go under the water.  She had to be dunked 3 times to get her all covered with water.  It was just real nice.  And after the baptism service they served a dinner.  We stayed and visited with everyone.  It was really nice.  The Elders are going to start a little Spanish class just for us on Saturday mornings for a little while.  They are the greatest Elders.

So we got home about 5:00 p.m.  It was such a good day.  We are very happy and loving it here.  Tomorrow we start at the Archives for our training there.  We have made our lunch and will be ready to go by 7:15 a.m.  Then we will begin our routine.  We are just so very grateful for this opportunity.  Oh…I forgot…on Saturday we also went to visit Elder Nelson’s sister Linda and her husband Terry.  It was just so good to see them.  They took us out for lunch and sent us home with some fruit and desert.  They live about 50 miles away.  On the way there our “Sister Garmin” took us right through downtown DC!  What a wild ride through all the narrow streets!  It was fun!  On the way home Elder Nelson figured out how to get home via the freeway…much, much faster…. 

So that is the update….we love you all, everyone!  And God bless you one and all!