Elder & Sister Thomas aka Grampa & Annie

Elder & Sister Thomas aka Grampa & Annie
Smiles All Around!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The People We Meet!

I am sure that everyone serving in our mission, will tell you the same thing:  it is all about the people we meet.  Forever friendships are made as we serve others, teach and learn from those serving with us, and socialize with the many other missionaries that are far from home. Recently in the Training Zone we have had several international missionaries arrive.  We had the Watanabe's from Japan, two ladies from France, and another couple from Finland.  It is a treasure to get to know them a bit before they are assigned to other zones and to hear their stories and listen to them share their testimonies of Jesus Christ and his Plan of Happiness in another language.

This is Sister Wilson from Mesa, Arizona. She and her husband returned from a mission to England a few months ago and now are here in our mission.  It was my good fortune to be able to be her trainer.  We worked on her Peterson line as we went over the FamilySearch Tree program and learned about various sites available for research.  Elder and Sister Wilson have been assigned to serve in the British Zone in the Family History Library.  I became so attached to her and her ancestors that it was hard for me to close the computer on the last day and let her go on to her new place of service.

Elder Thomas was training a young Elder from somewhere in Utah.  He's a very nice young man and quite capable on the computer but he couldn't read cursive handwriting...That made searching through his Swedish ancestors' records a bit difficult.  Elder Thomas helped him get a good start on learning the cursive alphabet. 
This is Sister Fulton.  She and a friend came over to SLC as Church Service Missionaries. They are both from Oregon.  CSM's live in the area and serve part-time, like two or three days a week.  They get a week of training in our area before they are assigned to a zone. While Sister Fulton's group was in the Training Zone she had her birthday.  It was the same day as mine, March 31st.  I asked her where she was born and surprise! She was born in the old Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, just like I was. Different years but same day, same place.  Amazing!
Elder Thomas was assigned to train Sister Larson from Arizona during our March training. In Arizona the Larson's are neighbors and good friends of Dave and Gail Harmon and Steve and Viki Huston both from Palmer, Alaska!  Steve and Viki built a new house and sold their other house (two houses from the Larson's) to Ryan and Tisha Saunders, also from Palmer...Small world. That made the Larson's our instant friends.:)

Sister Pocock, from Meridian, Idaho and her husband at the desk behind us, have become dear friends, too.  I got to train Sister Pocock and we spent most of our time searching for her Swedish ancestors.  I'd never worked on Swedish records before but we learned together and found a treasure trove of names and dates and family records. It was a very moving experience for both of us.  

Here is one of my favorite people in our Training Zone.  She is Sister Sasine and she is serving a full-time Church Service Mission.
Sister Sasine is our time keeper.  We get short breaks every so often where we stand and move around a bit and have a drink of water.  We also break for 1/2 hour at 9:30am and for lunch at 11:30am.  There are meetings that the new missionaries have to attend in the afternoon that she keeps us up to date on, too.  She brings around a singing or squawking stuffed animal to get our attention.  She has been serving in the Training Zone, keeping everyone on task, for over 8 years.  And we are cousins! I'm sure you can tell....  Distant cousins but cousins nonetheless!  She is such a great person; I want to be like her when I grow up!

In our off time we do all sorts of things but our favorite activity, of course, is to spend time with our family when they come to SLC to visit.  Recently Jake and Carisa brought little Liadan to visit from Cheyenne, WY.  We were so excited to get to see and hold her again as we had only gotten to hold her for a few minutes after she was born before we had to head home and off to our mission.  She was born December 26th early in the morning on a wintery, windy,normal day for Cheyenne. Here she is with her Grandpa, telling him a story.

Eric, Michelle, Ethan and Lauren came that same weekend so we had a happy houseful. That is BJ's Taycee on the left, below, with Ethan and Lauren in an earlier photo.  They are all growing up way to fast!

Last weekend we went home to Grace overnight. It was a lovely drive to and from SLC. Brian and Jess were speaking in Stake Conference on Sunday and we wanted to be there to support them....and to tend their girls, Taycee, and Myla while they spoke. :)

Back in Salt Lake City we got hit by a spring storm!  We got somewhere around 6 very needed inches of snow that melted even as it was piling on more.  We had to get our winter coats back out of the closet; it had been in the 70's the week before. The next couple of days were very cold but now it is back to the perfect weather:  70's with a bit of a breeze and freshly blooming lilacs in the air. Elder Thomas and I ate our breakfast on our deck this morning.
There are a couple extra chairs; come on down! To make reservations for our spare room text us at (208)851-1496 or email at llthomas2@gmail.com.  "We'll leave the light on."

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