Wow, it is amazing how much this week was just like the last. As always we started the week by feeding the District after our District meeting. It’s become so commonplace that we didn’t take pictures even though we again had new Missionaries. After they left our apartment, as we were cleaning-up, we got a call from the Senior Missionaries in Monticello asking us if we would help them chaperon their Zone P-day activity at West Point which they had arranged with the Post Historian Brother Sherman Fleek. Sound familiar? If not you didn’t read last weeks Post. We were, until our last transfers, part of this Zone and know each of these Young Men very well, so of course we said Yes. Seriously, Brother Fleek is a walking encyclopedia, so we weren’t going to miss another chance. He immediately recognized Sister Howes and I and said he would show us some new things, and he did.
Pictured above, just inside of the Cadet Chapel on either side of the entry doors, are Adam and Eve. You can only tell them apart by clicking on them to notice that Eve is curled up with a snake. Both seem to bearing-up the columns above them, symbolically meaning that they are bearing up the weight of their original sin (as they see it).
We learned that the Cadet Chapel organ has the largest pipe organ in the world, it has 23,500 pipes. I have always thought that the Tabernacle in Temple Square or perhaps now, the Conference Center was the largest. Brother Fleek says that after extensive research he can verify, that indeed the Cadet Chapel is the largest, if only in the number of pipes. It was installed in 1911 and has only had 4 organist during it’s existence. I’m going to leave that alone before I’m tempted to make a joke.
No matter what, it is impressive to see. On our last trip, we met the curator and craftsman who takes care of the organ and it’s pipes. He told us that he is constantly rebuilding and replacing the pipes, as they actually wear-out.
West Point Reunion
Pictured below is Elder Kia serving in Middletown from Utah and Cadet Kia a cadet at West Point from California, cousins. As we stood at the overlook of the Hudson River to take the picture at West Point with a huge barge being guided through the passageway by a tug boat.
I like our “warrior” uniforms better than theirs but we do, so much, appreciate the training, values and sacrifice these soldiers make for each of us and our country. I noted last week that one of the soldiers that we met had received his call to serve in Russia. He’s trading his military Fatigues for a better looking uniform. He’s pictured below just to the right of Sister Howes in his dress uniform.
This picture shows most of the Missionaries from the Newburgh Zone along with Elder & Sister Long, standing behind Sister Howes. We also had a less active Brother and his girlfriend attend as she investigates the church. They are the couple, number five in from left to right. It was great fun and we were better prepared than the young men when the cannon went off at 5pm.
We have known for some time that the Finlinson’s were coming through New York for a short visit on their way to the UK for vacation. With the distance, assignments and their busy schedule we had prearranged to see them on Thursday before we began our service in the Manhattan Temple. Wouldn’t you know that it would be another of many days with severe rain storms. I would include pictures but they would look just like the last ones posted during the last storm. It will be interesting to see if the Finlinson’s show pictures of their rain soaked adventures. We can just imagine what they must have looked like after bicycling through Central Park in the rain. Elder & Sister Howes arrived in the City to hear that Sister Finlinson was having pain and enough trouble with one of her elbows that they visited both an InstaCare facility and then an Orthopedic Doctor. We were so excited to see good and familiar friends that we considered not showing up for our shift to spend time with and visit with them. In the end, not knowing how extensive Sister Finlinson’s visit might be, we filled our assignment with plans to meet them after one of their well planned outings that evening. Elder Howes was one of only three men that showed-up for the Temple shift that evening. Just enough, with the Temple President, that we could staff the Endowment sessions and accommodate two small branches that came to do Baptisms. Perhaps there is something to be said for JUST SHOWING UP. Our hearts were somewhere else but we fulfilled our assignment.
After the Temple we headed off to see, even for just a few minutes, the Finlinson’s. They were so kind to stay-up for us, probably knowing how anxious we were to see part of our Ward Family. We struggled to get to their location. Addresses in New York have to be put into the GPS very precisely. We arrived at an address programmed but knew that we were nowhere near their location. Elder Howes turned off the Mercedes GPS and we went by Jeanne/Elizabeth GPS. Finally, standing in the rain watching for us, Sister Finlinson and Joel spotted us and we enjoyed a short but fun reunion.
We are greatfull for this opportunity and for their and many others selfless service to us as we serve the people of New York.
Something for my Sister Kate……
Sister Howes has a good memory for so many details about people. I hope it’s not a man thing (although I fear it is) but Elder Howes is often oblivious to some details that are special and tender for others. As we drove to our various assignments throughout the week, Sister Howes told me that I had to take pictures of the wild Daisies on the side of the road for my sister Kate. So Kate if your reading, this is for you……
Come visit us and we’ll show you these in person.
Had to throw this picture in just for laughs. We were stopped at one of those frustrating red lights where no one is going through the intersection but we’re stopped anyway, and Sister Howes catches these two. Both were standing until she got her camera out, but as you can see, one turned tail (literally) while the other is still looking as if to say, “what are you worrying about”.
Happy Fathers Day
Saturday we spent the day helping prepare activities, food and collecting & driving members to and back from our Branch Summer Activity. We had hoped, after a week of running, to spend a few hours getting some personal things done some time after this activity. But the Branch now depends so much on us for success in these activities. It’s sad in many ways but we’re making great friends and hope that we’re strengthening them in so many ways. We got home late afternoon and commented that perhaps we should read through the lessons for the Sunday service. GOOD THING!
About 10pm the Gospel Doctrine teacher contacted Sister Howes and ask her to ask me to teach the class. Am I really that scary? As we arrived at the Branch with one of the members we pick-up every Sunday the Branch President caught me to tell me to teach Aaronic Priesthood that no one else would be there. Last week it was Sister Howes, this week Elder Howes.
As we serve and see the struggles of the members out here we so appreciate our own parents. How they sacrificed and taught us by precept and by example. Elder Howes often uses the example of his father in teaching and talks. He always SHOWED UP and more, he took him along for every service opportunity and gave him responsibilities for experience and growth. I love my Dad and miss being in a place where I can see and visit him regularly, but I also know that this is exactly where he would have me be. Thanks Dad.