Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Montreal Temple

Each Tuesday after the office closes we go to work in the Montreal Temple.  In addition, on the day of transfers, the day before the missionaries who have completed their mission go home, we go  to the temple with those departing missionaries and several of the senior couple missionaries.   The President of the Temple and his wife come and open up the temple.  Then it is up to us senior couples to run the session and do everything that needs to be done there.  There are usually 4 or 5 couples who attend on that day.
Today was one of those days.  It was raining when we left for the temple and the rain soon turned to snow.  In fact, it is supposed to snow about 15 " tonight.  When we got inside the temple, I noticed a large bluish circular stain on my temple bag.  Upon further investigation, I found that all of my temple clothing and the bag were wet with this blue liquid.  I figured out that the windshield wiper fluid bottle had tipped over in the trunk of the car.  Somehow the lid was not tight enough and so it leaked all over my stuff.  Luckily, there was a dress and slip that I was able to borrow or I would have ended up sitting in the waiting room.  The session was small and very nice.  Just as we were finishing up, the matron handed me a sheet in French and asked me to do the remaining work in French.  I was glad that I know enough of the language to be able to read it out loud and know what I'm saying.

After the temple, we went out to Montcalm for dinner.  It was really nice to spend some time chatting with friends and eating a tasty meal.

Monday, February 25, 2013


 Mail is something every missionary anxiously waits for and looks for.  One of my responsibilities is the mail.  Each day I sort the mail and the packages and put them into their proper zone for either the missionaries who come into the office during the week or the zone leaders to pick up.  Those missionaries who come by often go to the mail first thing.  If there is something for them, they are "stoked".  They love to get mail.  If there is a package for them, it is like Christmas.  They can hardly wait to open it up.  Canada mail is very expensive and so we don't use the mail much and have also told our children not to send anything.  However, when and if we do get mail, we are as excited as the young missionaries.
The other day we got 2 packages on the same day.  The first one was from Lana.  It was actually a "little late" Christmas package.  I was excited to find a beautiful scarf and great sunglasses.  Papa was happy to find a tin of nuts.  Of course, he is sharing them with me.  What a thoughtful gift!   I love the scarf and will use it a lot.  It is perfect.   I really like the glasses too and of course we both love the nuts.  It was so unusual to get one package, but then I had another one to open on the very same day.  It was this lovely bag made by our next door neighbor Nelda.  The bag is made of pure wool and the lining is a great French cotton print.  I really, really like it and think that was sooooo nice of her to make it for me.  I am lucky that I have been so spoiled.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Valentines, orchids, and zone council

 I know Valentines Day is long past, but I forgot to post these photos.  We have become quite good friends with the Howards and so we went out to dinner with them to celebrate Valentines Day.  The Howards are serving their mission here working with CES and the young adult center.  They have such a fun calling.  It is what we did in France, but their center is already functioning and they have an entire building with a chapel in the basement, a gym, classrooms, etc.   In fact, the mission office is on the third floor of this building.
Elder Howard was a Bank Vice President, international services specialist, energy lender and also worked in treasury services.  Sister Howard taught at Robert Morris University in Pittsburg and also at Lone Star College in Houston.  This wonderful couple is lots of fun.  They are bright, funny, and cosmopolitan in outlook.  They have lived all over the world including Mexico City, London, and Paris.  We enjoy going on outings with them, shopping, playing games, and just spending time together .

 I'm posting more photos of my orchids.  They are doing so well.  The second plant has lots of little buds.

 Elder Conway and Papa listening so carefully to a conference from SLC that they participated in.
 More orchid pictures; 8 blooms on the first one and the 2nd one has begun to bloom too.

 Every month the zone leaders participate in a zone council where they study together and with the President.  After a late lunch, they come to the office and pick up their supplies which they have ordered from me the week before.  I get their supplies in order and all packed up.  Some of the orders are very large and it takes me about 4 days to get them all ready.  There are 5 zones and I try to do a bit each day.  They also pick up their boxes of Books of Mormon at this time.  I have each box labeled and ready to go when they arrive.  We always have a good chat when they're at the office too.  It's the best part of they day.  Below are Elders Fernandez (Utah), Umana (Chili), Mieville (France), and Godoy (Spain).
                 Next we have Elders Christensen, Reid, Willardson and Talbot.  USA and Canada.
                                         Elders McMurrin, Rasmussen, Prawitt, and Laguan.
          Elder Rasmussen just hanging out while Elder Olsen helps Elder Arhets fill out forms, etc                                because his car was stolen the other day.  It's just awful that someone would steal anything.
                                                                 Cute Frenchie!
                                                                 Buddies forever

Our mission is growing by leaps and bounds as are missions all over the world.  I was excited to read yesterday that there are 85 new missions worldwide.  Last Tuesday we got 4 new sister missionaries.  Next Wednesday we will get 7 more missionaries and in early March we will get 24 more.  That is a lot.  It also means a lot more work for us; training, getting folders and phones ready, renting new apartments, furnishing and putting supplies into apartments, getting cars, etc etc etc.  We are excited for the growth though.  It will be awesome.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Office

When I come to work on Mondays, I often find little notes taped to my computer like the ones I found this week.  It is always so heartwarming to get a little thank you note.  I am grateful that the missionaries write to me.  We do have some wonderful conversations together.

 Because some have asked, here is a  photo of me at work in the office.  Sister Conway faces me and we are so happy that we get along well and enjoy each other's company.  We like each other and like working together.  We can talk about the good things and also we can discuss the frustrations.  When needed we always help each other out.  It sure makes for great working conditions.

 This is a photo of an order that has arrived.  I will open (have opened some) each box and then I will count and check off each item that has arrived.  Then I need to compare it to the order that I submitted to make sure each item has arrived or if there is a back order.  I have several papers that I have to go through for each item.  If I receive 50 forms, for example, I need to count each form.  If I get 10 packs of 25 brochures, I need to count each one to make sure that the order has been correctly filled and processed.  Then I file each paper in a certain designated spot.
 My next task is to put each item in the correct spot in the supply room.  Each stack of Books of Mormon is in a different language.  The English, French, and Spanish books are in a different area because we use so many of them.  I think it's interesting to look at some of the books and see the different languages.

                      I have gone to a lot of work to make everything orderly in the supply room.
 We work really hard here every single day.  We begin soon after 8:00 and work till after 5:00.  We are busy every single minute.  We take about a 15 minute lunch and often it is only 10 minutes.  The work is just never done.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Rideau Canal

 When we got to Ottawa, the capitol of Canada, we took a little drive to look around.  What you see in the photos is the Rideau Canal.  It is 7.8 kms and is the "largest skating rink" in the world.  It is very beautiful.  We saw lots of kids skating home from school and the university which is right there too.

Here we are at the Prince of Wales chapel.   Papa pointing to a broken fender which one of the missionaries got when she went through a pothole.  There are so many potholes all over and some of them are huge.  When they are covered with snow it is almost impossible to see them.  The Sisters were afraid to drive the car with this damage, so John and I drove a different car up there and traded with them.  We drove the broken one home and we will have it repaired in Montreal.

When we were driving up the day before we hit a little storm.  It was so bad that we had to use the windshield washer fluid to clean the windows about every 4 to 5 minutes almost the whole way.  It took us about 3 1/2 hours to get there and we had to stop to buy more fluid.  Luckily the next day it was cold, but hardly any wind so inspecting the cars went much nicer.

 Here I am in 6 layers of clothing, looking like a big bear,  standing in the parking lot of the church.

                                                    Papa likes to point out things.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The St Lawrence River

It has been so cold here lately!  We were driving by the St Lawrence River which totally surrounds Montreal the other day.  I was surprised to see it frozen.  I don't know how deeply it is frozen and I saw that it is not totally frozen.  Nevertheless it is frozen.  You can actually see the ice.

Friday, February 8, 2013

More Zone Conferences

 Wednesday we had zone conference for Isle de Montreal and Rive Sud zones.  As usual we had to be outdoors checking the cars.  You should have seen John and my outfits.  He was wearing his underclothes, then long johns, a pair of pants and windbreaker pants that Alec gave him.  On top he had a shirt and a sweater.  Then he had on 3 jackets in graduating thickness and warmth.  He had on big snow boots, a scarf, the hat Lana gave him with ear flaps and gloves.  I actually cut the fingers out of one of the glove so that he would have the ability to hold the gauge to check the tire air pressure and the treads of the tires as well as all of the fluid levels.  I was lovely in my own undergarments, long johns, sweatpants,  t-shirt, a turtleneck and a sweater.  Then I had on a scarf, my huge puffy fake fur, hat and gloves.  The best part of my outfit, however, was the men's snow boots about a size 12 when I wear an 8.  They were heavy too so that I had to make an effort to lift my foot up to hoist myself into the trucks.  When we came in a couple of times to warm up I was told that I was setting the trend for the height of fashion. HA!
The luncheon for these next 2 conferences was a lovely array of fruits and veggies, authentic Texas BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and ice cream sundaes.  We stayed to eat on Wednesday, but Thursday we went home right after inspecting the cars because I was so worn out.  It was really, really tiring going in and out of cars and trucks and fighting the cold and the wind.

Here is a blurry photo of the "Car Tzar" training the missionaries.  As you can see he is bundled up, but  not yet wearing his huge warm, hooded eskimo jacket.  I did my training part after he finished.
                                          Some of the missionaries listening to the assistants.
                                                           Smile Elders
Thursday we had the Mount Royal conference which went well.  I always love teaching the young missionaries.  They are all so attentive and polite.  They are always so warm and friendly when talking to me too.  I have developed some good friendships with these awesome young people.
With the new age requirements announced at the last church conference, we had a lot of new missionaries coming in.  The president expects at least 50 in the next 6 months.  We know we will be getting 17 new cars within the next couple of months.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Orchids and QC Zone Conf

 As I mentioned before, I am now growing some orchids.  I am so excited over how well they are doing.  I have 2 plants and I think the blossoms are just beautiful.  Every day when I go to the office, I check them out to see how they're doing.
                                                   The color is just magnificent in person.
 Monday after working for several hours at the office, we drove to Quebec City for zone conference on Tuesday.  The drive takes about 3 hours.  We were going to go and do some sight seeing, but it was so cold and the wind chill factor was so high that we just relaxed in the hotel room, watched some TV and read.  The next morning at conference, we did some training and then we had to go and do the car checks.  It was freezing and the wind was blowing so hard.  It was so cold that the ink in my pens froze and I couldn't write.  I had to go and borrow a pencil from one of the missionaries to fill out the paper work.  We had to come into the church 2 times to warm up before we finished those cars.  We checked about 8 cars and 4 trucks.  I could barely get into those huge trucks and then I practically had to lie down to push on the brake pedal so that John could check the brake lights.  We worked really hard and I was so tired by the time we got done.
 We did have a nice lunch waiting for us and the young missionaries.  I always love the spend time with them.  They are so nice and friendly and just fun to be with.  The missionary on the phone is Elder Pihatarioe.  He is from Tahiti.  He is a big guy and so nice.  We have quite a few missionaries from Tahiti.  I think we have about 6 Elders and 2 Sisters.

 Elder Teuira is also from Tahiti.   I don't have favorite missionaries, but if I did, he would definitely be one of them.  He is a lot of fun.

                         There are only 3 Sisters in this zone.  They are so cute and also so nice.