Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Transfers Oct 2012

 Every six weeks transfers take place.  This is a very exciting time for the missionaries.  This transfer we had 11 Elders and 1 Sister go home to all places around the world.  One missionary is going to Shanghai, China where his parents moved while he was on his mission.  They will be there for 3 years with the Dad's work.  The Elder will be there for a while and then in the fall will return to the USA to go to BYU.  One Elder returned to Norway.  A few to France.  One went home to Mexico and others to different US states.  We had Elders arriving from Tahiti, France, Montreal, USA and other places.
 These are the new missionaries meeting in the mission home basement
 Here I am training the new missionaries.  (everyone takes off their shoes in the entry room.
After the training I go upstairs and make copies of everyones passports, visas (which I first un-staple from the passport and the re-staple into the passport.  Sister Conway and I work as a team.  We also copy drivers licenses, international drivers permits and various other documents which we then assemble into their folder which we previously put together with many other pages of information.  We keep the passports and visas in a safe until they need them again.
 Elder Arhets has a turn teaching them about vehicles and all related driving information.
After the training is over, we rush back to the office and work for about an hour.  Then we go to the Temple with all the departing missionaries.  The temple president forgot that we had scheduled a session and so we had to wait about an hour for him to arrive and open up the temple.  It's interesting that the entire session is run by the senior couples.  We also will become temple workers.  As it turned out the present president called us and then could not set apart because he was just released and a new president was called.  Only one person has the authority to do the setting apart.  We will be set apart next time we go.
 Here is Sister Conway and Elder Blank from San Jose with Sister Chadburn from Riverton.
 Elder Holbrook is a silly guy who was in the office almost every day.  He is an awesome tech guy and helped me a lot with computers.
 Here he is again
 and again.    Elder Rivera, from Mexico, on the left became one of my favorite elders in the short time we've been here.  He is oh so so nice.  He gave up a desired spot in the university to serve his mission.  He will not be able to get it back, but he is happy to have served a mission.  He says things will work out and they definitely will.  The Lord will bless this great young man.

After the temple we went out to eat with the other senior couples.  It's interesting that here we often have to choose a restaurant not by how good the food is, but is there parking there or not.  The parking here is horrendous.  Every where you go you must pay for parking and a lot too.  Trying to find a spot is difficult too.  Anyway the restaurant was one where one of the couples had gone before and it was quite good.  THEN we had to go back to the office and I had to print out all of the boarding passes for the departing missionaries and also pay for their luggage.  I couldn't do it earlier because of the 24 hour period that the airport has.  I had trouble with United which would not let me use any credit card, neither the mission card nor our own.  Aero Mexico would not even let me register the missionary.  I tried and tried for a long time and finally gave up.  Delta, Air Canada, and others gave me no problems.  By the time I was done it was almost 9:00.  Then we had to drive everything to the mission home.  I was sooooo tired by the time we got home.  I guess this is par for the course on transfer day.  Sister LeVitre had the same problem.  In fact I will now be contacting United and speaking to someone there because this is apparently a long standing problem.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mission Home

 This is the mission home where the president and his wife life.  This is also were the incoming and outgoing missionaries come for meetings and often to spend the night.  As you walk in the front door there is a little entry room where one can sit on a little bench, take off your shoes and slip on some knitted booties which rest in a basket.  The first photo is the view from the front door.
 To the left is this very nice living room.

 To the right is the dining room.
 This is thePresident's office.  Across from the desk is the transfer board.  Every missionary's photo is on the board next to his/her companion.  When it is transfer time or when new missionaries come in, the Pres locks himself in his office to make the decisions of who goes where and with whom.
In the mission office there is an identical transfer board in his private office.  When the board is closed it is a calendar of events.  When it is open you can see the companionships.
 The board is private and is always kept close.  At transfer time, the missionaries are always very curious to see how the board is going.  At the mission office there is a big sign on it that warns the missionaries not to open the board.  Not too long ago one of the missionaries was tempted to take a quick look at the board as he was walking past the office.  He did so and then had a punishment of taking P-day separately from the other missionaries.  Of course, his poor companion had to take the punishment too.  P- day is way more fun when you can spend time with the other missionaries.

                                                         This is the kitchen.
                                                       The backyard.
                                             Across the street is a lovely little park.

 Here is the General Authorities Bedroom.  This is the room with it's own private bathroom that we stayed in. The bed is so, so comfortable.
                                                 I  really liked these pretty curtains.
This mission home was purchased in the early 60's. It is located in a very desirable area of town.  Now it is worth over one and a half million.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A few days

 One evening after the office work was done, the Conways took us and the LeVitre's out to dinner at a little restaurant a few blocks from the office.  We loved the company and sure appreciated all the teaching the LeVitre's gave us and how nice everyone has been.  It is so easy to work with the Conways.  They are always friendly and pleasant
 This is the Montreal Temple.  It is very tiny, but very pretty.  We had a personal tour of the temple from President Galbreth.
 Here we are with the LeVitre's and John Paul, the Church's fleet coordinator over Eastern Canada and
part of the U. S.

Almost everything in Montreal is very expensive.  Last week we went shopping and came home with these items.  It cost us $50.00 including the treats in the photo below.  

                                 The Napoleon and the Black Forest cake were oh so yummy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A few stories

 When we were at the Mission Home still when these following events happened.
On Monday's the Assistants to the Pres go to his home for a meeting and they also do their laundry there.  This particular Monday we saw them in the morning before we left for the office.  Pres and his wife had already gone the day before to Ohio for a Mission Presidents seminar and to visit their kids on the way home.  They would be gone for 2 weeks.  That evening around 10:10 John was already in bed reading.  I was on the computer.  Suddenly I heard the electric garage door opening. My first thought was that maybe the Pres forgot something and they were coming back.  I rushed to the window which
overlooks the driveway but couldn't see anyone or any car.  I creeped out of the room, went to the staircase, and shouted,  "Hello, hello.  Who's there?" I got silence in response.  Then in a couple of minutes I hear the door shutting.  I was kinda spooked.  John got out of bed and investigated, but didn't see anyone or anything unusual.  I was still kinda nervous for a while, but finally went to sleep.  The next morning I asked the AP's if they had come by the house and they answered that they had.  They forgot their sheets in the dryer and were sneaking in to get them.  They were sorry they had scared me and apologized several times during the day.   We had a good laugh about it then and several times after when we saw the two APs.  Here is Elder Ramiro staging sneaking in.  He is a wonderful Elder from Mexico.  His parents are divorced and he actually gave up a scholarship and his position in the University to serve a mission.  He will go home this Thursday.
 Here he is with an Elder that he was on splits with.  In the garage and also in a storage room downstairs, the Pres and his wife have boots and warm coats and parkas that the Elders and Sisters can take for the cold weather.  It helps out the missionaries who don't have the proper winter attire.
A few days later we had another nighttime incident.  Earlier that week some of the senior couples who live in our complex said that there was a lot of drilling going on in the basement beginning at 7:30 in the morning.  They were complaining about the loud noise that doesn't let up all day long.  Apparently last year the ceiling on one of the garage levels collapsed and actually killed 3 people who were riding in their car.  The city is making the landlord prepare the ceilings on all levels of the garage.  Who knows how long that will take.  Anyway this particular night we were sound asleep when a little after midnight we hear a terrible noise.  My first thought was that it was the drilling (even though we were still at the Mission Home)  Then I woke up and thought that it sure felt like an earthquake, but I didn't think they had earthquakes here.  John thought it was a huge explosion.  In the morning we found out that it was a 5.4 earthquake.

Our first day coming to the office and being the first to arrive we calmly unlocked the door and walked in.  We barely were able to walk across the cultural hall when a very loud alarm went off.  We had no clue what to do or how to turn it off.  I quickly called our trainers and they said that there is a control box by the door that has to be turned off by pushing in the code.  We had no clue that we had to do it.  They gave us the code and the alarm stopped.  We were glad that the police didn't show up.

The following Monday we were going to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving.  The office was still open that day and we were busily working upstairs.  The office is on the 3rd floor.  Suddenly the fire alarm went off.  We all had to evacuate the building.  Soon we found out that the Elders who were making the stuffing put it on the stove to heat and forgot about it.  The stuffing was soon burning and the smoke set off the alarm.  Again we were able to take care of it, but we did have to call the fire department and someone else to deactivate the alarm.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Branch and our Saturday

We finally have internet in the apartment and now I have to many things to catch up on.  I will try to write some catch up posts. 

  Perpetue is in the R.S. Presidency of this little Montreal East Branch.  She is a lovely woman from Haiti, the mother of 3 young boys.  Her husband is a computer consultant that solves computer problems for companies. He is often gone traveling with his work.   She and her family have lived in Montreal for a few years.  She is very spiritually inclined and is a great example to all.  The wards and branches in this stake were challenged by the Stake President to read the Book of Mormon before the next Stake Conference.  She has taken this challenge to heart and is almost done.  She says reading this great book has helped her immensely in her everyday life, in how she treats her children and husband, and how she lives her life in general.  She read the part where we are not only counseled but commanded to read the words of Isaiah and to apply them to our life.  She stressed the word commanded and has encouraged the sisters to heed this advice and to receive the blessings.  We would all do well to heed her advice.
 These are the ladies who attended Relief Society last Sunday minus the two who left early.  They have been very welcoming to me.  Avril, the one in the middle is the R. S. President.

Last week we arrived at church for Sacrament and there were less than 20 in attendance.  After the Sacrament was over others started straggling in throughout the rest of church time.  We ended up with about 45 people attending.  This Branch is really struggling and has lots of needs and problems.  Many of the Branch members have said how excited they are that we will be there.  They had a Senior Couple before who left in the beginning of February and they did a lot for the Branch.  They were well loved.  They have been telling us that we will be able to help them now.  I hope we will be able to help out in someway, but it's hard to fill someones shoes who did so much and is so well loved.  Also, their calling was Member and Leadership Support to this Branch and our calling is the Mission Office.  We will do all we can and with the Lord's help we will have the energy and ability to work in the Branch also.
 This morning we woke up and were eating breakfast when we got a call from the Howard's asking us if we wanted to go with them and Sister Conway to the underground mall at McGill.  Montreal has several huge, huge underground malls.  We did want to go.  Here are just a few photos are of downtown Montreal on the way to the mall.

 There are many beautiful old building as well as many modern skyscrapers and buildings.
 At one time Montreal was the financial capital (the Wall Street) of Canada.  In order to preserve the linguistic and cultural integrity of French Quebec, one night armored trucks came and took all of the money out of the banks and took it into Toronto.  Toronto became the financial center of Canada as Wall Street is for the United States.  I'm not sure of the details, but will try to read about it and find out.
 There are many fancy stores on the way there.
 The mall itself it humongous.  It is 5 stories high.  This particular one has a lay out kind of like a spiral with many spokes all of which not only have many stores, but also lead to other corridors and other areas of shops.  I think I would have gotten lost by myself.
 We passed this shop that had many beautiful gelatos and macarons filled with gelato. The also had yogurt and sorbets.  On our way out we stopped and indulged.  I got a cup of 1/2 lime and 1/2 mango.  It was very delicious.

 This is a photo in one direction, but it really doesn't give any impression of how huge it really is.
 On one of the floors there is the biggest food court I have ever seen with food from many different countries. Here are just a few of the food counters.  I chose sushi and John chose a gigantic beef burritos which was served with french fries.  Both were very tasty.  I actually took more pictures, but somehow they are lost.

 This building is all glass and next to it is a stately old building.

 Contrast between the old and the new.
 This evening we were invited to have dinner at Rhiannon's apartment.  There is a huge market called Jean Talon Marche. It takes up a full block.  Around the edges of the block are stores.  Above the stores and shops are apartments and she lives in one of those.  Her apartment was so cute.  It's small, but very, very nice and is a desired area to be in. She can shop for fresh fruits and veggies every day.

 Here's Rhiannon.  She is the daughter of an English Mother (from England) and a Canadian Father (from Victoria).  She got the B.A. at BYU in Provo and then a double Masters in Victoria.  Now she is working on her doctorate at McGill University which is one of the top Universities in Canada comparable to Harvard.  Montreal has 6 other top Universities.  Rhiannon is a very pleasant, warm, highly intelligent woman.  She is the Public Relations Representative for the Stake here.
 She prepared this wonderful pasta with shrimp, veggies, and pesto sauce for us.
 Elder Mortensen is one of the new missionaries here arriving just a week or so before us.
 His companion, Elder McMurrin is a one year seasoned missionary.  We had such a pleasant time together.  

Last night we got a call from the counselor in the Bishopric asking us to speak in Sacrament.  And so here we are barely here and we have to give a talk.  That is one of the more difficult things for me to do.  I always stress so.