Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Busy week with Transfers

We had a busy week with transfers and covering the vacant housing coordinator position.  Seven missionaries went home and 5 arrived.  This transfer caused some apartments to be vacated which caused some hustling on my part.  Also, there is a downturn in senior missionaries being assigned to our mission.

Here are the missionaries at their departure dinner

Sisters Johansen, Casper, and Woolf, Elsie Evans, and Elder Prom.

Elder Durfee and Sister Evans

Elders Prom, and Hamilton, and Peterson 

The meal has been standardized to glazed ham, cheesy potatoes, salad and rolls.  The dessert varies with this transfer having the choice of Sister Jones' pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting or Sister Spencer's chocolate cake with whipped cream.  A great way to end a mission.

The APs, Elders Ahola and Gibby and Elder Greiner

Sister Abreu, Moberly, and Cahoon and Elder Callister

Private seating for Sister and Elder Spencer

Here are some pictures of missionaries who were by the office for a district meeting and ended up helping set up the cultural hall for the ward Halloween Party. 

The afternoon after transfers Sister Jones and I went to Medina about an hours and a half to the west to close an apartment.  The APs drove the truck and trailer and were assisted by Elders Verdine and Judy in the loading while we mainly packed.  It was a smooth mover.  Sorry no pictures. 

One other memorable occurrence was on a morning walk when a young buck galloped across the road about 50 yards ahead of me.  Then, after I rounded the curve, he crossed going the other way at the same speed.  Coming back from the turnaround point, I saw him standing statuesque in a field. 

Also, on Thursday was the first snow.   It was wet and gone by noon, but we know more is on the way. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Spring and fall, there is a retreat for the Member Leader Support senior missionary couples and the Facility Management senior missionaries held at Seneca Lake Camp, a Church owned facility.  There were 6 MLS Couples, 3 FM Couples, the Camp Manager Couple, the two of us couples from the office, and President and Sister Evans. The office staff were in charge of menus and food preparation with  Sister Spencer in the lead role.

This is the group in the spacious dining hall.

President Evans giving instruction and leading discussion.

Brother Loveridge dishing up the breakfast of French toast, waffles, sausage, strawberries, yogurt, and apple juice, orange juice, or milk. Sister Spencer's buttermilk syrup was a big hit.

Chowing down at breakfast. 

A discussion group during the break: The Taylors and Woodhouses.  I think it is Elder White at the piano.

Sister Jones' chicken tortellini soup was a hit along with Sister Spencer's taco soup. 

Lunch is served!  Great salads and desserts to go with the warm soup.

The camp is a wonderful facility designed to support Young Women Camps for stakes in the area, but that is only about 20% of its usage.  A lot of church youth groups come and use the camp as a base while visiting the nearby church history sites.  The buildings are available for family reunions after the stakes' requirements are met. 

Preparing for new missionaries

New missionaries arrive every 6 weeks and others go home.  One thing that we do in preparation for the incoming missionaries is put together a packet with bedding for them.  This way they don't have to transport these bulky items from home. The practice in our mission is to vacuum pack the bedding in plastic bags to save room while it is stored in the mission office and transported to the mission home.  With the vacancy in the housing coordinator position, I got to help out with this chore.

This is a fun diversion from posting transactions in the accounts payable.

There is a lot more to do like getting the debit cards ready for the arriving missionaries, purchasing the baggage passes for the departing missionaries, printing boarding passes,  updating rosters, and so on. Mainly preparing evening meals for the departing missionaries on Monday evening and the arriving missionaries on Tuesday evening and lunches on Wednesday for the new missionaries and their companions keeps us busy.   

Monday, October 17, 2016

Dewey is one year older and wiser, too.

My birthday was relaxing with the drive to Batavia for church and Sister Jones cooking a special supper of shrimp and sides.  We talked with Al and Andrew on the phone and Skyped with Angela's family.  The Spencers came over with treats, a book as a gift, and a song.

Monday morning we went in early to catch up and get ready for the week. The miracle balloon that the Spencers brought in for Sister Jones's birthday in September and served us through Elder Spencer's birthday on October 4th was still aloft to greet me in my office.

President Evans provided sweet treats at the end of staff meeting which were served after the birthday song and kind words of appreciation for the birthday boy.

Sister Jones prepared a layered fruit tort with white cake, whipped cream with vanilla pudding, blueberries, pineapple, and strawberries.  Sorry, I did not get a close up of the cake.  It will last forever in the memories of those who saw and tasted it.  These Sisters were by the office for a district meeting and partook as did the Elders who also enjoyed it.

Sister Jones and I enjoyed supper at Applebees as a special birthday supper.  

So, all in all, a good commemoration of another rotation around the sun.  

Opening an apartment on a beautiful day.

It was not a real busy week as far as meetings and such, but we needed to open a new apartment for Elder and Sister Cowan in Lockport.  Since we are without a housing coordinator, several chores fell to me and things were not too coordinated.  But it all came together with the APs (assistants to the President) loading the furnishings from a storage unit in Rochester into the mission trailer and driving to Lockport.  The Lockport and Medina missionaries also helped with the unloading so it went quickly.  Unfortunately, I was mired in minutia and didn't take pictures of the efficient crew working or enjoying ice cream afterward.

The drive to Lockport was about an hour and a half over and we took a scenic route back along Lake Ontario lasting about 2 hours.  The shoreline of Lake Ontario is not rugged and wild like Lake Superior since there are orchards, vineyards, and grazing cattle often on the landward side of the road.   It is also pretty level.

We did have one new experience for us.  As we were driving through Gasport, crossing bars came down and the lift bridge went up to let a boat go by on the Erie Canal.  There is no longer commercial traffic on the canal, but some recreational usage.

 Boat approaching from the left

The drawbridge raises to let her pass. 

Back to normal. 

We enjoyed a leisurely drive on a beautiful fall day on Saturday and also going to Batavia for church on Sunday. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Mission Tour

Each mission receives a visit annually from a general authority.  This week, Elder LeGrand Curtis and his wife Jane spent 2 1/2 days in the mission and then were the visiting authority for the Rochester Stake's semi-annual conference.  In a whirlwind of activity, they visited the mission home, mission office, church sites, the Palmyra Temple, and a missionary apartment, attended the Mission Leadership Meeting, and spoke at missionary conferences in Palmyra and Buffalo. There were probably some other activities I was not aware of.

Thursday, Sister Jones and the Spencers helped with the Palmyra Conference and I manned the office.  Friday we all went to Buffalo and Sister Kennedy, a past office missionary, took care of the office.

Here are the Buffalo North Zone missionaries with the Curtises and the Evans:

And here is Buffalo South Zone:

The main assignment for the office staff during the tour is to prepare the snacks for the break period.  This takes about the same amount of time and effort as preparing a full meal for the missionaries.  This is partly because some missionaries don't eat before the meeting anticipating lots of food.  The before and after pictures show that the table is pretty much picked clean.

The Spencers and we had a very special experience Thursday evening joining the Curtises and President Evans for supper after a very long day.  The Curtises had returned three months previous from an assignment as Area President for West Africa for 5 years.  During that time, they had to deal with the Ebola crisis including evacuating the missionaries from Liberia and Sierra Leone while still continuing normal operations in addition to relief work for the sick and afflicted.  They shared several stories of miracles in lives and the work of the church during this period.

Time Out for Sister Jones

Deseret Book sponsors seminars around the country called Time Out For Women and here it was in Rochester.  Sister Jones had always wanted to go and jumped at the opportunity.

The speakers and music were very inspiring and entertaining. I rarely cry, but by the end of Friday evening's program, I felt something warm and wet running down my cheeks. On Saturday, lo and behold, I ran into Christine Shearer (forget her married name). How sweet to see a fellow Yooper there. I should have taken a picture of us. I even got to shop at the Deseret Book Store they had set up at the convention center - and how often does a Yooper get to do that?!

My office co-worker, Sister Spencer is on the right. Sister Taylor is in the back, She is an MLS (member leader support) senior missionary serving serving with her husband a couple hours away from the mission office. She brought a recently reactivated sister with her and they both spent the night in our spare bedroom. In the picture we are eating some sorbets (from Costco). They are an ice creamy thing in actual coconut shells or fruit skins, orange or grapefruit. These were left over from the dinner we served to the Curtis' and the Evans'.

Tour Guides to the Waters of Brigham

We had a busy week with three groups visiting the site of Brigham Young's baptism, which I have started referring to as "The Waters of Brigham"  harkening to Mosiah 18:30 - And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever.

Monday was P (preparation) Day for the Palmyra North Zone Leaders and their companions.  Sister Jones and Sister Spencer had the Sisters from the Palmyra North Zone out to the Smith Farm for a picnic and visit to the WoB about six weeks ago, so Elder Spencer thought it fair to bring the Elders out for the tour as well as burgers and brats.
Here are Elder Peterson, me, Elders Walther, Moon and Case, and the neighbor's dog at the WoB.

Elder Walther wanted the full experience so he tasted the water.  According to the neighbor, Mr. Williams, the creek is totally spring fed from nearby sources.  So far, no ill effects reported. 

We drove to the Tomlinson Inn and Tomlinson Corners cemetery to view the Miriam Young and Solomon Kimball gravesites. 


Friday morning, Elder LeGrand Curtis, Jr. and his wife, Jane, came with President Evans to tour the sites.  We were honored to be with a General Authority and impressed to learn that Brigham Young was his 4th great grandfather.  He had been to the area before with his family and had visited the Tomlinson Cemetery, but was not aware of the WoB or the history of the farm houses.  He was very pleased to be here and mentioned the visit in his conference talks. 

They toured the Spencers house including the attic and basement. 

Here are the Curtis's at the gravesite of Miriam Young, Elder Curtis's 4th Great Grandmother.  His grandparent had donated the modern marker in 1948. 

I neglected to get pictures at the Tomlinson Inn, but Elder Curtis was elated to be at the place where the Book of Mormon came into his family.  He posed for a picture taken by his wife in front of the Inn.  He had spoken at General Conference the previous Saturday on the Book of Mormon. 


This was stake conference weekend.  We invited the Elders from Batavia to spend Saturday night at the farm to save them some miles and time. We were very pleased that they accepted the invitation and that President Evans approved it.  Here are Elders Gwilliams, Wilson, Bell, and Dorsey at the WoB. 

A couple at the left took up the Walther Challenge and drank from the spring fed waters.   At right they are at the cemetery.

We did provide some food Saturday evening for which they were appreciative and we served a sausage and hash brown based breakfast casserole for breakfast.  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

General Conference in Palmyra

This was General Conference Weekend.  We went to Saturday sessions at the ward building within which the Mission Office is located and worked in the office between sessions.  Sister Jones and Sister Spencer went grocery shopping while Elder Spencer and I attended Priesthood session.

We made Sunday unique by going to Palmyra to watch the sessions.  The Stake Center there is adjacent to the Temple so it is a cut above as to design and furnishings.  Enough so as to feel special.

Then we went to the Joseph Smith, Sr. farm for a picnic lunch. The plan was to then go to the Sacred Grove to meditate on the Conference talks, but it started sprinkling.  Also, as in the hymn, bees were humming, also quite a few hornets.

So we drove over to the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center where several new segments of the "Meet the Mormons" video are available.  Sister Jones and I saw the segments, "The Entertainer" and "The Artist."  Both are excellent.

 It is Elder Spencer's birthday today, so he and Sister Spencer stayed in the car and took telephone calls from their kids - six sons. The Sisters in the Visitors Center came out to sing "You've had a Birthday, Shout Hooray..." to him.

All in all, a wonderful and memorable weekend. We have a busy week ahead, so be sure to check in next week.