Dear family and friends,
We can't believe it's been so long since we last wrote to you, We are sooooo sorry, but in all honesty it just seems like last week, things are really hectic with all the new missionaries, our compliment with the Senior couples and Visitors Center is now at 314.
We have 254 young Elders and Sisters, with 2 more arriving in 10 days, and we now have 68 sister missionaries, and at the moment 8 of them are Sister Trainer Leaders, which is the equivalent of a Zone Leader, They are able to do exchanges with the other sisters in their zones and attend Mission Leadership Council which is held at the Mission Home the Friday after transfers.
Since we last wrote we have been doing missionary interviews, this involves us traveling throughout the mission and scheduling each interview session to coincide with each Zones training session. and usually we try to have it on a day when the Stake is having it's Stake Correlation Meeting that night, so that we don't have to make the long trip back another time. With 10 Zones, including the newly formed Digital Zone it takes a good 3 weeks, The President starts interviewing at around 9:30am and breaks for just enough time to address the Zone, then he continues on until all are interviewed, anywhere from 24 to 28 in each zone. This usually takes 7 - 8 hours.
We prefer to go to the missionaries in their zone rather than having them travel to the mission office as it would take too much time, as well as be too expensive.
That usually give us enough time to grab a bite to eat before the correlation meeting starts. Usually then we can drive home later that evening, even though it gets quite late, but some places we have to stay overnight.
We have gone through 2 transfers and Mission Leadership Councils since we contacted you all last. It's hard to believe that much time has gone by.
We are talking at Wards most Sundays so that is a bit of travel, also Stake Conferences have started for the Fall and so we are involve in speaking at the Saturday Evening sessions as well as on Sunday, and Roger usually has to speak at the Saturday afternoon Priesthood Sessions as well.
September 10th to the 13th, was our Missionary Presidents training seminar in Versaille, Paris, France for four days three nights. We flew to Paris, It was wonderful, We met in the conference room where the Treaty of Versaille was signed in the 1930s, The Hotel was on the grounds of the Versaille Palace, and we were able to go and tour it and it's fabulous Gardens one afternoon. The next night before we left, we were all taken by bus into Paris, and had a dinner cruise on the River Seine, it rained a little but was marvelous.
The highlight of our meetings, was the presence of Elder's Ballard and Oakes of the Quorum of the Twelve and their wives, along with Elder Maynes of the Presidency of the Presidency of Seventy, and Elder Davies of the Presiding Bishopric. We had a wonderful and spiritual 3 days of talks and instruction from them.
When we got home on the Friday evening, as we were unpacking it occured to us that we had to re-pack, as we were leaving the next day for Poole to speak at their Stake Conferences.
The next week we continued with interviews and then left Saturday morning to fly to the island of Jersey, off the coast of France for 2 days for their ward conference, and we had a wonderful time. What a beautiful place.
This last week is usually are most active and busiest, we had 9 missionaries leaving, four elders and 5 sisters, and because the Temple is closed for repairs, we took them into London for a sightseeing tour, which was fun for us as well. We always have a family home evening with them, and show the movie 17 miracles, about the Willey and Martin handcart company, then Wednesday was transferday, we had 27 new missionaries arrive,
Thursday is usually planning and grocery shopping, (thank goodness for Costco), Then yesterday was Mission Leadership Council, which takes most of the day, We feed them breakfast and a big lunch, there are usually about 35 hungry people including us.
After they left we drove down to Portsmouth on the coast, (about an hour or hour and a half depending on traffic) that was about 5pm, we went to a Chinese night at the Portsmouth Ward, and it was wonderful, we have 9 Manderin speaking Elders, and quite a few Chinese investigators and members, They showed videos of China and shared their culture and costumes, they make traditional food to share and taste, and one of the elders from mainland China played his Sheng, a traditional Chinese instrument that goes back thousands of years, and is made out of bamboo and reeds all tied together. it was a wonderful night with a lot of ward members present, Afterwards we drove home.
Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. We are taking a little trip to London to take in a play. I've been out teaching with the misssionaries this afternoon. We were teaching about the Book of Mormon to a man from Ghana. It is always good to be with the missionairies and to feel the spirit in the work of salvation. Looking forward to General Conference this week end. We send our love to all. We are healthy and happy. We are blessed. Thank you for your prayers, we need them.