Monday, February 20, 2012


November 13, 2011

   This has been such a fun week! We usually spend Monday planning the rest of the week (which ward we will work with which day, which sisters to visit, etc.) The problem we have is that our mission cell phone shows up as "unknown" when we make calls, so of the 18 calls we made for visits on Monday, only two answered and one was available for us to come and see her. Elsie is an 85 year old sister who has lived here all of her life and loves the Washington Redskins. She is as sharp as a 20 year old and even used an i-pad for her scriptures.
   We spend Wednesdays in the temple. We leave our apartment about 11:30; our shift is from 1-7pm. We leave the temple about 7:30 and arrive home about 9:45pm, taking time for evening traffic and stopping for dinner. It makes for a long, yet very satisfying day. I am working in all areas of the temple now, trying to learn all of the different parts that there are to learn. It's challenging, but enjoyable. On the way home this week, we were driving through a park on the way to the freeway, when all of a sudden I yelled "deer, deer, deer"---there was a fawn right at the side of the road; then just a little bit further down the road on the other side, I yelled "deer, deer, deer" again...they're within touching distance of the car! Apparently they're in 'dating' season.
   Thursday we had a Zone Conference with President and Sister Matsumori and Elder Patrick Kearon of the First Quorum of the Seventy and his wife, Jennifer. Before the conference began they had a receiving line so we could each shake their hands and hug Sister Matsumori and Kearon. We all stood and sang "Called to Serve". It was amazing to hear 150 young men, 14 young sisters, and the Senior Missionaries sing that wonderful song. It really chokes me up every time I hear it. Then President and Sister Matsumori and Elder and Sister Kearon spoke giving us guidance to help us with our missions. Afterward, Sister Kearon asked to speak with the Sisters to give us special advice, then we all had a picture taken together. It was fun also, because I met my nephew, Bryce Salisbury's, niece, Lindy Miller, who had arrived in the mission just the day before as a new sister missionary. She is a darling girl and will be a great missionary!
   Friday, we put new goals into practice and decided to go to Indian Head about 45 min away to visit sisters we hadn't met before. We were able to reach everyone on our list for the day. Two that especially stood out were:
      Stephanie Drake just returned from Afghanistan a couple of months ago. She repairs medical equipment and hopes
to be able to keep doing it here instead of being deployed again. Her husband is in special forces and is on call to make sure the President is safe when he is leaving or coming to the White House. He was home when we came to visit, so they both told us stories about their jobs, and about the Marine Corp Ball that they had attended the previous weekend.
      Rachel Onines is a darling girl with a new baby girl named Elizabeth. They live way out in the woods in a fabulous log cabin, she doesn't have a car, and is there alone all day with a new baby. She seemed really happy to have us come and of course we were both happy to get our "baby fix's".
   Saturday I went to Ft. McHenry in Baltimore with the Senior Missionaries. This is where Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star Spangled Banner". It was a beautiful fall day and we were able to learn a lot of history about the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Afterward, we went over to the Harbor for lunch at Uno Pizza (yum), then we walked around the Harbor front. The tall ship Constellation was moored there, which was really fun, and we even saw a wedding. On a serious note, there is a memorial honoring 9/11 by the Baltimore Trade Center. There are pieces of the Pentagon and huge pieces of twisted medal from the twin towers as well as a list of the men and women who perished on that horrific day.
   Today we attended the baptism of Jasmine and Michael Wallace, the children of a family who is just becoming re-activated. It was so exciting to see the support that this family received from the ward members, knowing the distances that many of them would have had to travel to come to the baptism.
   Once again, I express my love to each of you for your love and support and testify to the love our Father in Heaven has for each of us. He knows us better than we know ourselves--if we have problems or doubts, all we have to do is turn to Him for the answers...He is earnestly waiting for us.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


November 7, 2011

   This has been a different than usual week. My fall off the chair last week put me back more than I expected and by Monday I was in a world of hurt. The mission office helped me find a doctor, so I've been in and out of appointments and radiologist offices trying to get this under control. The best medicine I received, though, was a blessing from the elders. I asked Elder Kinne, an elder who is "legally deaf", who has double hearing aids, to seal the annointing. His blessing was amazing! At first he was really nervous (had a hard time with my maiden name--Hooton--who doesn't), but then the Spirit flowed through him, he relaxed and a beautiful blessing was given.
   I went with Sister Harper to a "card club", where they make and exchange cards and then have a make-and-take card. Since making cards is not my forte', I did the make-and take. I must admit it was fun and I met even more new friends.
   By Thursday, we were able to go visiting, so off we went.
   We took a sister on her errands who doesn't drive and who had previously been taking taxi's. She is on welfare so she really can't afford to do this...                              
   The wards we serve cover the bottom third of Maryland, so we do a lot of driving each week. The further south we go, the more rural and beautiful it becomes!  We went south to visit sisters in a small town called Mechanicsville. As we came around a turn in the road, we saw a sign to "Wicomico Shores Waterfront Park", so being the curious girls we are, we decided to check it out. It was so fun; there was a pier about two blocks long and a man was sitting out there fishing. We went out and asked him about the area. He said we were on the Wicomico River, but just south and around the corner was the Chesapeake Bay.(look on your map to see if you can find it)
   Friday we had a meeting with Pres. Matsomuri. I can't emphasize enough what a wonderful, insightful, compassionate, amazing man he is! He gives such fabulous advice, making you feel as if you're the only missionary he has. It makes us feel great, too, because everytime we see him, he tells us he is receiving great reports about our work.
   Saturday is P-day and I finally got my hair done!!! Found a girl I like, but the prices sure grow from St. George to Waldorf!
   Sunday we went to dinner at Kristy Hoeferle's with Elders Hurd and Kinne, and the Hayes', another family in the ward. I mentioned Kristy before; they just moved here and her husband is an officer in the Air Force deployed in an undisclosed area. They have three boys, Tynan (14), Tanner (12), and Tayton (10), who we have adopted, since their grandparents are in Washington state.

   I am so grateful for the gospel in my life, especially this week for Priesthood blessings and the knowledge that our Heavenly Father is there for us--all we have to do is talk to Him.


October 30, 2011

   The weeks go by so quickly I can't believe it--it seems like I am writing my weekly letters every time I turn around. We went from fall to winter in about 24 hours--BRRRRR!!!!!
    I didn't go to the 1st Ward church today because I woke up with a headache. I was ready to go to 2nd Ward when I decided to change a light before I went and guess what I did--you got it--I fell off the chair, messing up my back AGAIN!!! Why not?!?
    Last Sunday, Sister Harper and I received about six new referrals of sisters who needed help in one way or another, so our week was extra busy. Monday, we started our day scheduling our week. We got this completed and were printing it out, when Sister Harper's computer froze up, not saving anything, so we had to start over from the beginning. Modern technology is wonderful, but can also be very frustrating!
   Thank goodness the rest of the week went better than Monday--We helped clean a sister's (Sarah's) home who has been away visiting her mom in Alabama for a month. She has terrible morning sickness and hasn't been able to do anything, so her sister-in-law (Rebekah) took charge and asked a friend (Emily) in the ward and Sister Harper and me to help get the house ready for when she returns home next week.
   We visited a grandmother in her 80's who has guardianship of her 15-year-old grandson. (His mother is out of the picture and his older brother is in prison for life!) They have lived in the ward about a month, and he has already been suspended from school. The day he was suspended, he took off from the truant officer and didn't come home til after midnight, saying he had to "clear his head"--what a worry for poor Margaret, whose health is poor. (They moved into our ward because she was robbed in the District)
   In comparison, we also visited Dorothy, another grandmother in her 60's who's raising her grandsons, 4 and 10, (their mom just takes off when she decides to), and a 30-year-old son with autism. The boys are so well behaved and respectful, and are so anxious to please; the oldest one even wanted to play a song on his violin for us the first time he met us.
   We met Vicky Amoah, a darling girl who is from Ghana. She told us such fun and interesting stories of her life and culture there. She met her husband when he was serving a mission in Ghana. She came to the U.S. and he came later where they met up again and were married. They have four children, and he is the mission leader in the 1st ward.
    Another sister we visited is this excentric retired school teacher that taught AP chemistry and went to Bolivia on a mission when she was in her 70's. She's so funny and we absolutely love her!!! It would be so easy to visit her every week. The first week we met her, she said that she felt like we had always known each other--it's so easy to say that about Ethyl and almost all of the sisters we visit!
   On Friday we were invited to dinner at the home of the Ramon's. She is in the Relief Society Pres. and he is the High Priest Group Leader. They are such a fun couple--they also invited us to Thanksgiving dinner, which is really great!
   This is the last week that Pres. and Sister Tingey and their counsellors and matrons will be at the temple. The new temple presidency will start on Tuesday, Nov. 1st. Even though we were only with the Tingey's for a month, we loved them immediately; I'm sure we will feel the same for the new presidency also.
   I love my mission more every day. It is so fun meeting and visiting the sisters of the White Plains 1st and 2nd Wards. Please keep them in your prayers.


October 23, 2011

    This has been a fabulous week!!! (well, if you subtract Monday day when I had the left-over migraine that I told you about the other day)
   Monday evening we went to an Empty Nester's family home evening in the 2nd Ward. We had a pot-luck dinner, lots of great conversation, and made a get-well card for one of the 'girls' who had just had a double knee replacement. Way fun!!!
   Tuesday we visited some of the sisters we met at Empty Nester's. Our travels took us to the bottom of Maryland between the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River. On the way back we found a place called Goose Bay Marina---so fun! A picture-perfect area with a great dock, seagulls, sail boats, and huge yaughts--all on the edge of woods where the leaves are turning all shades of fabulous colors. In fact, to get to the bay, the woods are so thick in places,it almost looks as if you're going through a tunnel. Then that evening Roz Brown, the R.S. Pres. of the 1st ward (no relation ) came over for a dinner meeting to discuss sisters that we have been visiting. She has worked in DC as an administrative assistant at a large energy department for many years. She has offered to take us around the city and show us all the regular sites and some that aren't so well-known, since she knows all the ins-and-outs. Should be really fun!
   Wednesday is temple day and we have been there three times--it has rained three times--not fun driving for me! We arrived early to have pictures taken in the Visitors Center for a Christmas gift for Pres. and Sister Matsomuri. Sister Harper was named "Baptistry Director", she did that when she was in the Mesa Temple. I am serving in the other areas of the temple and loving it!!! Lots to learn, but it's good for me...We get to the temple at 12:30 and don't leave until about 7:30, so we stopped to eat at a great restaurant called "Bonefish Grill". Great food, fabulous service, and reasonable prices-what more can you ask for?
   Thursday we went to dinner at the Primary Pres. home of the 2nd ward. Her husband is an engineer and is deployed to the United Arab Emirates. It was so fun because she has three kids: two boys, almost 8 and 6, and a three-year-old little girl. They love us to come over and "play", and of course, we love to go there; we are extra grandmas to them. Later, we participated in the Relief Society evening meeting by sharing our "mission stories"--a little about us, how we were called, and what our mission is about. It's really fun to share our stories and the gospel of service whenever we can.
   Friday was a really special day. We first visited Kristi, the mom I told you about before whose husband is deployed in Iraq (this is his third deployment), and has the three great boys 14, 12, and 10. They always give us hugs at church and have adopted us as their grandma's because their's live in Washington state. She told us that she hates it whenever the doorbell rings because she's afraid that it might be two officers in dress blues coming to give her bad news about her husband. It made me so sad for her, I wanted to cry.
   Our second stop was at the 1st counsellor in the RS Pres of the 2nd ward who just had a baby girl two weeks ago and was on bedrest the last six weeks. It was so fun to hold that that little angel, Hannah, and to talk to Amber. Her husband is a diplomat for the dept. of agriculture--they have served in Brazil and India and hope to go to South Africa next. They live way out in the country in horse country, so once again we were able to see beautiful scenery. Sister Harper and I both felt like we should go visit the last girl. She just moved here from Colorado Springs and brought three of her five sons with her. Her husband just returned from a two-year deployment and now works in DC on 'secret missions' all week. Even she doesn't know what he's doing. We helped her make some decisions as to where to hang some pictures, etc. in her beautiful new home. As we were talking to her, she started to cry and said that she had been so lonely and had been praying for someone to come over when we rang her doorbell.
   I am finding that prayers are answered in so many ways; I see it happening almost every day in one way or another. I think the main thing I see is the way the Lord is molding me into the missionary He wants me to be. I will be forever grateful to Him for this.
   I love my mission and the saints in Maryland, my calling to work in the Washington DC Temple, and my companion, Sister Harper. I love all of you and am so grateful for the emails that I have received. 
Have a fantabulous week and we will too!!!


October 20, 2011
 I'm sorry that I'm so late writing this week--a three day migraine put me behind in many ways...
   The week was great in many ways, though. We attended our first Zone Conference, consisting of two of the four zones in the mission. We were able to meet many of the other senior missionaries, and had a personal interview with Pres. Matsomuri. He said he is pleased with our progress and is hearing great things about the work we are doing from the Stake President and Bishops in the wards we serve, which really made me feel good.
   We visited many sisters in our wards and concentrated in the southern part of Maryland. While travelling down there we saw, in addition to the leaves turning brighter every day:
          * a deer running through the woods
          * a buzzard eating fresh road kill (yum)
          * Amish farms with signs selling goods--"Yoder's Furniture", Yoder's Quilts" and "Everything Amish"
          * an up-close and personal look at the Indian Head Naval Base front gate. (the corporal was   very kind and explained that we couldn't come on the base, but he would help us get where we needed to go)
   I completed my first week of service in the Washington DC temple. I love seeing the temple as we come around the turn on the freeway--it is magnificent indeed!!! It is such an honor to have this calling; everyone I have met has been has been so kind and helpful--they make me feel as though I have known them forever.
   Wednesday and Thursday we had terrible thunderstorms and a tornado warning (which luckily skirted by us to the west). I have to admit, it was kind of fun/scary/fun/nerve-wracking while the whole thing was going on though.
   Saturday we went with the senior missionaries on an outing to the Shenandoah mountains about 100 miles to the Luray Caverns in Virginia. They are a national treasure and are the largest caverns in the east. They go nine stories underground and some are ten stories high. They are a lot like Timpanogos Cave only you don't have to climb up a mountain to get to them--I was very grateful for that!!!
We met more missionaries, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a girl I went to high school with is serving here with her husband (Kathy Blair/Steve Postma). Had a great time reminiscing with her...
   I'm so grateful for my mission, for the gospel in my life, for a fabulous family and good friends. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, my Brother. I'm especially grateful for my Eternal Companion, and for temple ordinances that make it all possible...


 October 9, 2011

   This has been a wonderful, busy, spiritual week for my companion, Sister Harper and me. Our District Leader, Elder Noel called and asked if he needed to worry about us being in by 10:30 and I laughed and said that we were usually in bed by 9:30. This is really strange for me because you know that I usually burn the midnight oil.
   We started calling on sisters in the White Plains 1st Ward this week, and made it through twelve on the list. The area we drive through is beautiful--it's like we would consider being in the country only with millions of trees along the road too. As we were going to one house, a deer walked right in front of our car. One sister in her first trimester of pregnancy is really sick and is already having post-partum depression, so we visited with her for awhile and went with a walk with her, the children (4), her mom and sister. She left the next day for Alabama for a month to stay with her mom (her husband is in Arizona right now on active duty), so I'm sure as soon as she gets home we'll be called on to help more. (She home schools, so who knows, we may become school teachers while we're here ).
   Another sister we called on I told you about last week. She is about 30 years old and has stage 3 or 4 stage non-smokers lung cancer. She has one-year old twins and one other pre-schooler. Her mom and mother-in-law have been caring for the family, but now the mother-in-law has gone to Spokane because another daughter is having a baby and the mom needs cataract surgery. She keeps trying to put it off, but it's got to the point where she has to use a huge magnifying glass to see to read. Alison (the girl) was sleeping when we went because she has just gone through her fourth session of chemotherapy, but they were really encouraged because her blood count was down from 600 the week before to 70 this week. (That's in terms of the bad cancer cells being the high number.) So Alison is feeling a little better, but extremely tired, and her mom is going to have cataract surgery, which means we will begin helping with the children. Oh, one minor detail--they aren't members of the church, but there is going to be a HUGE fundraiser for them in Nov. that we will also be involved in...I'll keep you informed.
   Tuesday was a day I won't ever forget! We met with Pres.Tingey, the Washington DC Temple President, in the morning and were set apart as ordinance workers in the temple every Wednesday, starting this week. I am so excited and honored to have the priveledge to perform this service! While we were there, we were able to take a tour of the temple. It has seven stories (we went on five) and it took 2 1/2 hours!!! (not going into every room, of course)
   The temple has a distribution center downstairs (where you can buy temple clothes, etc,). We went down after and bought some things, then got directions on a "quick" way to come home---NOT!!!!! We ended in downtown DC during rush traffic; around DuPont circle (where all the embassy's are), past the zoo, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the War Memorial, and every other monument you could think of...we finally got on the state road home (dark, no lights on the road by now) going 55 mph and all of a sudden my lane ended without warning and there was a semi in the lane next to me. I've never been so scared in my life! I said a quick prayer, accelerated, swerved out and around him and somehow missed getting hit. I know that the Lord was watching over me and took over the wheel for that split second--I could feel a force other than my own driving the car. I am so grateful for answers to prayer, and know that the Lord is watching over us at all times.  (all-in-all it took us 3 1/2 hours to get home from the temple!!!)
   We feel like we are settled into our apartment now--a sister in the ward gave us an antique round table (kind of like the one you used to have Dave and Kath) for our tv, and we got our cable hooked up on Wednesday. It's nice to kick up our feet and relax and watch tv again at the end of a long day...
   I love and miss all of you!!! The work is going well here--there are a lot of potential baptisms, tons of part-member families, and fellowshipping galore to do. A sister said to us today that she really hopes our mission is a success so that the church will want to utilize it world-wide, in that way she can go on a mission just like us--pretty neat! (kinda pressury though).
   I love my Heavenly Father and I know He loves me and is here as my companion and protector while I am on my mission. This was proved in a most real way on the way home from the temple Wednesday.
   I love and miss all of you, but I know should be here right now, doing what I am doing.
  Christy, one of the girls from the 2nd ward just called and asked if we are okay. We said that we were but that we had gone to the 1st ward this week and that we would be to her ward next week. She said, "Oh good, we didn't see you there today and were worried that you were sick or something." Isn't that wonderful that she would care so much? She's the girl who's husband is on his third deployment and has three boys 10, 12, & 14. It was cute because even the boys noticed that we weren't there.

"if in the end you have not chosen Jesus Christ, it will not matter what you have chosen"


October 3, 2011
 This past week has been one of great learning and adjustment. It is so fun, though, because everyone is so excited that we are here. (We're involved with two wards, the White Plains 1st and 2nd Wards, and everyone we see seems to have known that we were coming, but were't sure what our calling is.)
    Our calling is to work with the Relief Society in each ward where we can be of assistance. Last week we met with Sisters Brown and Cheney to see how we could help. They gave us lists of sisters who need help: anywhere from those whose husbands are deployed in Iraq or Afganistan, three sisters with stage 3 or 4 cancer (one has one- year-old twins), a sister who is on bedrest with her sixth child (she lives 25 min away), a sister who had surgery and now has almost lost the use of her vocal chords--the list goes on and on...I don't think we'll be bored. We will also do visiting teaching in the wards as needed to help sisters, and teach inservice and other lessons.
    On Friday, we met with Elder and Sister Noel, our District Leader and his wife. They are in Mike and Daphne Brown's ward, and couldn't have been more complimentary about them! They said over and over again what a darling family they are.
We are meeting with the temple president, Pres.Tingey, tomorrow to find out which day we will be working in the temple each week. I am so excited to do this and feel that it will be such a spiritual lift for me.
    I loved conference, but it was really different watching it on my computer at 12 and 4 instead of on my big screen tv (it makes it even harder to concentrate, I must admit)...
After conference on Sunday, we went to the 2nd Ward for the baptism of the Patterson family, Mike, the father, Stephanie, 14, and Mike, 12 or 13. They also have a son, Dominick, 5. This is an Afro-American family. The spirit was strong, it was amazing! There were so many people there that everyone couldn't fit into the room to witness the baptism, and this is from the ward that many people have to travel 30 minutes or more to the church. We were wondering where the mom was and found out later that she passed away during this past year. The family just moved into the ward so I'm pretty sure we'll be called upon to help in some way. Stephanie has a lot to bear on 14 year old shoulders...
    We are settled into our apartment, except we're waiting for our tv to be hooked up on Wed. (don't tell the Jr. Missionaries...) We found Costco tonight and thought it would be a great idea to stock up on some frozen food, etc...until we got home and had to carry three loads up to the third floor where our apartment is!!! Who says I'm not going to be in shape by the time I get home?!?
    I know that Jesus Christ is OUR BROTHER and that Joseph Smith is the true Prophet of the latter-days. I know that our Heavenly Father knows and loves us as well as our earthly fathers do, and that He wants us to be happy and to be with Him again when our work on this earth is finished.