Reluctant Office Workers

During the past week we have completed (for a time) the effort of trying to verify and locate members of the Branch who show on the Branch membership records but who no-one knows. In this process, over nearly the entire past 5 months, we have traveled all over the 300 square miles of the Branch boundaries and knocked hundreds of doors. Mostly, we have found that people have moved, in others we see that folks are home and can see (and hear) us but won’t answer the door. It has been a challenging process. In the end we discovered that Facebook, Linkedin, the on-line White Pages and an on-line locator program that we paid for (it actually was cheaper than gas) helped us find many of the folks “hiding” from someone and they don’t know Elder or Sister Howes, so it isn’t us.  In the end, we spent three days at the computer on-line going through the process of getting new addresses for 37 lost individuals that we had spend months driving around to find. The truth is that we enjoyed the months of “exploring” far more than the three days of Office Work that finally got the job done.  We did meet some awesome people along our travels, some members, some not and some now in the process.
After all the work was submitted and the records sent out we felt satisfied that we had accomplished something good only to find that through the efforts of many others doing the same thing in their units we had twenty something transfers in, that we will again have to go find. Looking forward to the new search.  Sorry, it was hard to take pictures of sitting in front of the computer.

Zone Meetings – Participate in the Work of Salvation…..

We are seldom holding District Meetings anymore.  We almost always meet in New Paltz (the City we’re assigned), an advantage for us as far as traveling.  We’ve mentioned before that we once had the biggest Zone and District but know have the smallest of both.  Our Zone is the same size of the former District.  In our last Zone meeting this past week we discussed the past broadcast – Participate in the Work of Salvation and how we can work with and motivate our Ward Council’s, Bishop’s and Mission Leaders as described in this broadcast.  Great ideas were discussed and plans made and then we discovered the main reason for the increase in Zone meetings in New Paltz…… Sister Howes always feeds them.


Pictured above are the Poughkeepsie Zone less the camera man and a separate picture of our Sister Missionaries.  Since this picture was taken we have found that we will lose five (and gain five) this coming transfer on Wednesday.  Sister Howes is always so sad during this process, she loves each as much as they love her (who wouldn’t).

Forth of July

The forth was certainly different for us this year.  We enjoy the family gathering for the Granite Parade.  Driving the “Parade Car” as our little Lennox has come to call the Camaro and our trek up to the Fireworks in Park City.  The young missionaries are prohibited from the “festivities” part of the Forth celebrations, so we spent our time with them even though we are permitted to participate.  Sister Howes spent much of the day making a great dinner and many snacks for our “Forth-in” at our apartment.  We played Monopoly and listened to the fireworks.


Elders Sullivan and Fox dressed to party.  We missed our family and the celebrations with our friends but still remember why were here and remember that our great missionaries are also away from their family and friends.  We love our country, family and neighborhood and we hope that all had a great time together with those they love as they celebrated and remember the reason for this holiday.


Since the Membership Audit is complete our traveling days aren’t over.  We plan everyday and this past week we planned our next month’s activities to insure that we are prepared to fill and teach in our various assignments.  Some take a little more time to be prepared for than others.  The class we teach on Strengthening Marriage consumes allot of this time in both preparation and travel.  And we never know who will show-up.  After three cycles (one lesson in four places, three times) we have only five couples that have participated in each of the previous sessions.  Many others have shown up for two and others for just one.  We understand that we already lost our first couple to divorce which makes us sad, we have invested much into these sessions and all of them feel like family to us.

During the next week we will be (of course) feeding our Zone, this time in Poughkeepsie.  Traveling to Osining for transfers (as we said we are losing and receiving five new missionaries).  Going to Manhattan to fill our Temple shift. Traveling to Middletown to teach the Strengthening Marriage class and leaving Middletown directly to Palmyra with the Senior Missionaries to see the Pageant and the Palmyra sites for two days.  This will be our first Sunday since arriving that we will miss our little New Paltz branch meetings.  While in Palmyra we plan to see Hermosa Carlson (Ashley) and we have a small surprise for her that her Dad says is her favorite (jerky?? really Matt).  We are being compliant to Dad suggestion but it’s not doing much for Sister Howes, so if you know something that Ashley likes (besides Jerky), let us know.

On the day following Palmyra we celebrate our 40th anniversary and have been given permission by President to make a small journey up to Toronto were we lived for several years and have good memories and friends. Our former Bishop now serves as the Stake President and has invited us to visit with them.

From Toronto it’s back to Palmyra to our Stake Youth Conference for two day and then straight back to Poughkeepsie (hopefully) in time to teach our next Strengthening Marriage class.

All of this travel log to let you know that next weeks blog will not be published.  We will include our escapades in the following weeks with pictures of places and faces (Hermosa Carlson included).

One more calling…

Sunday we were not surprised to see a member of our Stake Presidency with our little Branch, as we have recently lost our second counselor and also have an opening for a full time Ward Clerk.  But must confess, a little worried (not afraid but worried) when President Wall called to meet with Elder Howes.  Not to worry to much as the calling was to serve on the Stake Audit Committee (guess traveling to find people has been replaced by traveling to find mistakes).  Problem is, Sister Howes says she is not a “partner” for this activity.  We took a picture only wondering where we might use it, maybe it fits with this calling;


Sign outside of Yankee Stadium found throughout New York.



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