Monday, March 31, 2014

All flats are not created equal!

Well, last week we got the word that Senior Couples are being asked to inspect the flats of Elders and Sisters in the mission.   The Prestons are most concerned about possible mould (everything has an extra 'u' here!) in kitchen and bath.   They also want to make sure neighbourhoods are safe and flats are orderly enough to invite the Spirit!

So we began with the four closest flats.

 (No, we actually did arrange appointments - no 'surprise visits')

We found in doing these that,
1. Most missionaries have limited storage space...for anything.
2. Most missionaries live so simply they don't need much storage space.
3. Missionaries are very creative with no-cost wall decor - mostly ward
     maps, gospel art and sticky notes.
4.  All kitchen space is not created equal.   For instance:

Sisters - tiny kitchen space, and just as immaculate as you'd think. I am standing at the far end of their kitchen.

Elders - medium space, and kept pretty well for 'Elders'.

Then there's the 'foursome flat' - legendary in this area.   This was our first glimpse inside.   Hel-lo!   Does Martha Stewart stop off here?

We also noticed many places have maybe two rickety chairs or no sofa, etc. Then I thought, 'of course - no one actually comes here!'   Missionaries are not allowed to have people in their flats.   There is no 'entertaining' going on here!   Life happens 'outside'; this is simply a place to study, sleep and stop for meals. Discussions happen at investigators' homes or the home of a member.

And speaking of members, they have been putting a big push on having 'member-present' discussions.   We can totally see the wisdom in helping investigators connect to the ward as soon as possible.   Boy, ward members are just the secret to retention.   Missionaries come and go, but the members are their lifetime friends and support.

Did I say 'come and go'?   Transfers happen this Wednesday, so here's a last picture of our great district (actually two districts).  Half of them will be different next week!  (we lose the 'center Sisters' and three Elders on right)

Well, here are a couple of recent happenings around the area.   Our Stake Relief Society held a luncheon and temple day Saturday for sisters across Preston Stake.  Sis. Rodriguez (say 'Rode.ri.geth') is a wonderful president.   She's in our South Ribble Ward.

By the way, her husband is in our bishopric, her RM daughter was just called as Primary President, and this Sunday we sustained her 23ish RM son as YM President (he was released as Elder's Quorum President last week)!   Spain's loss is England's gain - kingdom builders!

South Ribble just held their RS birthday celebration, centered on women's contributions to the WWI effort.   I got to do a music section where we sang "A Long Way To Tipperary", "Pack Up Your Troubles" and "Keep The Home Fires Burning".  They were also good sports to join in a chorus of their allies' "Over There"!   This week they all keep coming into my head!
For the semi-annual Chinese activity Saturday, Senior Couples were asked to cook up a slow cooker full of curry and a pot of rice. 

  It was the first time we've cooked with 'anise stars'.   When we took them out after cooking, they were fun to suck on - tasted just like a great piece of licorice.  

I do have to say, though, we each pretty much had curry and rice 'to burn' at the end. (those styrofoam bowls hold nearly nothing).

They held it in the new YSA building in Manchester.   It was fun to see the Pews again, and I always enjoy being with all the Senior Couples.

These are the fun gentlemen who helped their wives cook all the curry and carried it four floors up.

Some happy thoughts to end:

First, we are trying to eat healthier.   And we're being pretty consistent at the gym.   So far I notice almost no difference, weight wise...but I sure feel noble.

Second, Aunt Jodi made the trip to Boston to hug our newest grandson on his blessing day.   I can almost whiff the sweet smell of 'baby' in this shot.   Thank you, Aunt Jodi!   And squeeze that little guy extra times for us!

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