Since we arrived Elder Howes has complained every week that we are not busy enough. He has pleaded with the Missionaries to be used whenever there is an opportunity. While we have been taken out many times, it still seems that we have to much free time. Well you have to be careful of what you ask for. Elder Howes made suggestions on changes to the Branch bulletin on Sunday which put in the coming birthdays for the week and then we were invited to visit several on the list who are less active. We took a birthday treat out some 40 miles in what looked like a scene from Deliverance. More seriously, the good brother was awesome but did live a long way from the church in the back woods. It’s easy to see why some don’t make the trek to the church each week. We were also invited to teach Family Home Evening 100 miles from our birthday celebration. The family, pictured below, are new converts. They live, you guessed it, in the back woods on a pig farm where they raise pigs and goats and had a very large and aggressive dog. (Perhaps you know that Sister Howes doesn’t care for dogs, like that) They too were awesome. We taught them about the Atonement and Resurrection and Sister Howes had an even more powerful object lesson.
Left to right: Darren -recently returned Missionary from Rio de Janeiro, Elder Sullivan, Elder Folley -Zone Leader, and the Calamari family.
First Manhattan Temple Trip and Assignment
We met up early one morning with six of our little sons and took them to the Temple in Manhattan. We commented as we drove how far it is compared to anywhere in Utah to a local Temple, especially when you get stuck on the George Washington Bridge for 30 minutes. We arrived safely and all made it to the same session. We commented that there were not many workers (there was only one couple officiating during our session) but it was great and as it turns out the couple officiating were from my “older” brothers old Ward where he served as their Bishop.
Our little “Sons” Look carefully in the center of the Picture for the Angel Moroni
As we left we were summoned to the Temple Presidents office to “meet” the President. We became concerned immediately. President Garff was very nice but came right to the point. He told us that he had spoken to President Morgan and received permission to call us to serve in the Temple one day each week. Of course we accepted and he set us apart right there and then and assigned us to work on Thursday afternoon/evening.
Juilliard from the front door of the Temple Sister Howes in the Subway system.
Most of the Temple workers from the mission are over 65 and get significant discounts for traveling on the Metro train system to the Temple. We investigated the train and subway only to discover we’ll be driving which will be a 90 mile trip each way in New York traffic without dedicated parking. We’ll update you on how this goes for us.
After retuning home we discovered that the Stake President was coming over to visit us. He is a young guy (I know that all is relative when your old like we are). He brought his young son (he really was young) and called Elder and Sister Howes to teach a Stake Strengthening Marriage course and Temple Preparation class. He then invited us to begin this coming Saturday with a three hour introduction to this effort that has been advertised for the past several months (he must have been confident that we would say yes). If anyone has ideas on how to captivate couples for three hours, let us know. For now we’re just studying away.
We are, despite feeling inadequate, enjoying being stretched. We just keep repeating for whom the Lord loveth…….
Conference was, in many ways, like being home. Even though we and the Elders were the only ones at the church for the first two sessions on Saturday we did have about 12 priesthood holders come to a pot luck dinner before the Priesthood session. It brought a level of normalcy to the weekend. We heard stories of President Larry Cook’s days in New York from Elder Cook, pictures of Dorothy Larson, Terry Crockett and Mike Miles singing in choirs throughout the sessions. Most importantly we heard the messages that all of the rest of the church heard regarding what our leaders expect from and for us. Hope your experience was as special as ours was.