Monday, May 15, 2017

Another transfer week come and gone!

Last week was our transfer week, and this time we had our smallest number of missionaries leave and come in.  We had 3 leave, and 3 come!  I think our smallest number prior to that was 6!  But it was a great week, as usual.  On Tuesday morning we were able to attend a district meeting in the Fish Creek Zone, and it was so good.  These missionaries just do such a great job of teaching and training each other, and trying to help each other succeed in the work.  I am uplifted after every district meeting we attend.
Then Tuesday evening we had our 3 departing missionaries at the mission home for their farewell dinner and testimony meeting.  It was very small and intimate, but very nice, as well!  We are so grateful for these missionaries that complete honorable missions and go home with such strong testimonies.  Our sister missionary, Sister VanBloem, was actually being picked up by her mom that evening, so it was fun to see that reunion.  It brought back memories of when we got to see our boys after 2 years, and how I just couldn't quit hugging them!!
Wednesday morning we took Elders Rausch and Peihopa to the airport and sent them on their way home.  Then about 1 1/2 hours later we picked up our three new ones. We went to the mission home with them and did our usual training with them, and then had another yummy dinner (made by our fantastic cook, Natasha).  Following dinner we did a little more training with them, and some fun stuff with them that our assistants do, and then we got them to bed early.  Although this group wasn't quite so tired because they had a direct flight from SLC to Calgary, so they didn't have to get up at 2:00 in the morning to catch their flight!
Thursday was our regular transfer day and our new missionaries were able to meet their new companions, and then any of the other missionaries being transferred were all taken to their new areas and new companions.   Transfer day is always pretty exciting.  And there are always some tears, too.  The sisters have a hard time saying good-by to each other!  But it all went smoothly, and Steve and I had to stay down in Lethbridge because he had his Coordinating Council Meeting with Elder Evanson and all of the southern stake presidents that evening from 5:30-9:30.
And then on Friday, we actually took a P-day for the first time in about 5 months!  We decided to go to Waterton Lakes Park and spend a little time there.  And of course because we decided to take a P-day, it was rainy and cold!  So, we weren't able to get out and hike or anything like that, but we did see gorgeous scenery and some wildlife.  And it was just a good break!  The schedule here is grueling, and so it's nice to have a little bit of a breather, but your mind is still constantly on the work.
We know how much the missionaries need their  P-days!  Everyone needs a day to unwind and be rejuvenated.  I just hope they unwind with no sprained ankles or broken bones!  I'm always grateful at the end of P-day to have not had any calls!
Our weather has been so up and down.  Last week we had some really beautiful days--about 75-80!  It was wonderful!  Then it will drop down and be cold and rainy.  But, it is definitely getting warmer and spring is here, and we are all loving it!  This last winter was so brutal, that we are all very ready for nice weather.
Sunday, Mother's Day, we attended the ward where the mission home is located, and then at 11:00 we had to be in the Coventry ward's 3rd hour as they had asked us to come speak on member/missionary work.  Following that we went home and had some time to plan and prepare for our upcoming MLC and our zone conferences.  Then our assistants came about 4:15 to meet and we had dinner together with them before leaving for Lethbridge at 7:00, to do some interviews on the way down.  We were able to talk with all of our kids for about 10 minutes that night while they were all together having dinner.  It is always so fun for us to see them together, and to see the little boys playing and having so much fun.  We are so grateful for our incredible family and for their support and love.  We miss them terribly, but at the same time, we are grateful for this wonderful experience to serve at this time.  We recognize that we will never again serve in a calling where we are together 24/7 and are so focused on just one thing.  It is a great privilege.  We pray that we can guide these missionaries and help their testimonies and faith grow and help them succeed in this great work.
We were grateful to think about our Moms on Mother's day.  We love them and are so grateful for the wonderful women they are, and for the beautiful homes they made for us to grow up in.  Both of our mothers always put their families first, and did so much to bless our lives.  We love them!  And we love watching our daughters and daughters-in-law be mothers.  They are amazing women, and we are so grateful for how they are nurturing and raising our little grandsons.
Elders Davis & Murdock doing role-plays with Sisters Burnside & Rowberry in district meeting.

Sister Hathaway & VanBloem and Elders Whicker and Paletu'a  doing role plays.

Departing picture with Sister VanBloem, Elders Rausch & Peihopa

Mom VanBloem picking up her daughter!

At the airport while waiting for new missionaries to arrive, Steve and Elders Stringam & Assily taught Justus, a pastor from Nigeria.

Our assistants, Elders Stringam & Assily taking selfies!

Our 3 new missionaries- Elders Wiwchar & Hansen, and Sister Hansen

Found this big horn sheep right in Waterton town eating grass!

More sheep in Waterton town!

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