Sunday, January 31, 2016

Missionary Moments #74--Jan 31, 2016

 It is hard to believe that today I am writing the 74th missionary moment.  This has been a great experience for us and one that I am grateful that we could enjoy together.  Today would have been Grandad Lambert's 92nd birthday and I have lately wondered what he would have thought about the politics that we are experiencing right now.  I suspect it would have been painful on his ego to see that the democratic party he loved so much has become unrecognizable.  I had promised myself that I wouldn't start packing up until February and beginning tomorrow I will begin the sifting and sorting.  The young missionaries send much of the things they have accumulated home in the mail and I will probably send a few things that way as well but mostly I have to figure out how to get the accumulation of STUFF we have gotten since we got here back into the back of our Edge.  When you see us you will know rather it worked or not.  The young Elders and Sisters said they would help us load everything up and I will be especially glad about that.  

Yesterday we took our last trip enjoying the beauties of New England.  We drove down to Hartford, Connecticut and checked on the progress of the temple.  We had gone earlier when it was just beginning to be wrapped on the outside but yesterday the walls were all up although they were wrapped in big sheets of plastic and the beautiful symbol on most of our temples stood proudly on the top--the Angel Moroni.  The have put in all of the parking lots and sidewalks and I am sure that as soon as the weather begins to warm there will be flowers and grass added.  There seems to be a hundred trees planted all around it and most were very young.  I am sure it will be stunning when it is done.  We had dinner on Monday night with our friends the LaDieu's who work in the Boston temple every Friday.  Dan was telling us that when the Hartford CT temple opens half of their temple workers will be gone.  I am impressed that they come all the way to the Boston temple every week to serve.  

The work at the archives is going great!  We had 20 boxes when we finally got back to work and we are already down to eight left.  I suspect that when we finish those we will close everything up and then spend our remaining time helping the Mayvilles prep their documents until our release date comes.  I was thinking at work this week how amazing it is that we are working as fast as we can getting documents ready for picture taking and still barely stay ahead of the newly prepared folders.  I love that we have those little reminders that we aren't alone in our efforts.  We owe much to our young missionaries who come in each week and help us get the documents opened up and ready or we wouldn't be able to keep the camera going all day.  

A little side note is that Janie sent us Flat Stanley who will be spending the rest of our mission with us and will be traveling back with us as well.  He is having a good time so far and really enjoyed our little journey yesterday!  Have a great week everyone. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Elder Duncan

We got an email from Perry.  It brought back fond memories of our time at the MTC.  He sent some pictures and Angela forwarded them to us.  I wanted to include a couple of them.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Missionary Moments #73--Jan 23, 2016

We had a great week appreciating all the blessings that come when you are serving the Lord. Although we didn't get to hear Perry speak in Church for his farewell we heard that it went well. He flew out of Ontario on Wednesday morning and then caught a shuttle to the MTC once he arrived in Salt Lake.  The best news came when he emailed his mom "I'm Alive!"  It sounds like he is already enjoying the wonderful experience that you have once you walk into the world of daily feasting on the Word.  We are proud of Perry and don't doubt he will be a great missionary.  

We have been busy in the archives and although we are continually prepping documents we are moving the documents through the camera so fast that it is hard to stay ahead.  We love each week when the missionaries come in and serve because they always get us about two boxes ahead.  I mentioned to Scott that I have started seeing a lot of guardianships for people who have been declared insane.  I'm not sure why we hadn't seen any before since we are already into the N's in the alphabet.  We have 16 boxes and have already opened and prepped five of those.  It will make me feel much better if we leave with all of those boxes emptied and the images of each document done.  As of yesterday we have one month before we start driving home so we are working hard to make that happen.  

It has been interesting to see the weather reports.  Compared to last year it has been a lovely winter for us.  I don't mind the snow but all the other things that go with snow can be a bit daunting.  I am sure this summer we will be absolutely dying from the heat and won't need a coat again when winter hits California.  It is amazing to me how our bodies adapt to our circumstances.  We all know what storm is coming long before it hits in relation to the weather.  It makes me admire our ancestors who had to say "come what may and love it!"  

As you can tell we are staying really close to home.  We want to go to Connecticut but each weekend we have had something going on or the weather was a little iffy.  At this point our big weekend trip is to go to Nashua to enjoy our Chick-fil-a.  I have started separating what stays and what goes and I am feeling a little panicked because I know more is going home than came with us and I just hope the back of our Edge can hold everything.   It is similar to our mission experience because believe me we are taking home so much more than we came with as far as our testimony and faith goes.  It has been a truly joyful journey.  Have a great week. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

One Last Time--Lego Challenge!!!

Thanks Ava for the Reminder!
Ava made this at the beginning of the month.  It made me remember what a great job you all did when we did our Lego contests.  How about one more contest before Grandpa and Grandma come home?  This month's challenge is a Lego design of one of your favorite things--the skies the limit.  The deadline for this is January 30th.  Can't wait to see what you make!

Monday, January 18, 2016

All Because...

Married January 4, 1997
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children...
The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Missionary Moments #72--Jan 17, 2016

This has been an interesting week because in spite of having folders now we weren't able to work for three days.  We had to wait for our archive director to have time to go in and get us more probate files to work on.  They came on Thursday and we went down that afternoon and got busy.  He brought in 16 boxes and if my calculations are right we will finish all sixteen before we leave for home.  While we have been at the apartment I have started sorting through what needs to go and what needs to stay.  One of the things we have done since we started teaching our Sunday School class is celebrate their birthdays and our last of the original group turns 18 this week.  Yesterday I did some baking and made a Twix Cupcake which I am sure is worth 1,000 calories per bite!  I gave some to the Elders last night so they could tell me if they were okay and they came over later and assured me that they were great.  Now that the cupcakes are made I will pack up all of my baking necessities and will begin packing up things in the kitchen that we won't use (some of it we never used) and have it ready for when the mission office sends some missionaries to pick up our furniture and other household items.  

Yesterday we got a call from President Stoker.  He set up a time for us to come in and meet with him before we leave.  This is typical for the young missionaries and we are excited to get to spend some time with him.  He and his wife are amazing people and have both inspired not only the young missionaries but us as well.  The Elders told us last night that a typical exit interview for young missionaries was to talk about their mission experiences and then a reminder to continue to serve, get married, get an education, and continue to do things that will strengthen their testimonies. It is pretty nice to know we have accomplished some of that already!  I was thinking this morning how amazing it is that we have been out for 17 months.  As I look back it seems like just yesterday I was wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. What a blessing to be able to accomplish a significant experience that will truly change our lives forever.

Today Perry will speak in Church to give his farewell address before he leaves for the Missionary Training Center on Wednesday.  Although we won't be there I am so grateful for being able to know that whatever Perry sets his mind to it will be done with amazing grace.  I so appreciate the example he has always set for his brothers and sister and all of his cousins.  I am so excited for the wonderful people of Kentucky to have him in their mist.  His capacity to serve will be enhanced because of his wonderful parents, teachers, and leaders.  As Perry begins his mission we will be ending ours and although he will be doing a different type of mission we know that both his life and our lives will be changed forever because we were able to serve the Lord.  One of the greatest things I have learned since being here is that our young Elders and Sisters are amazing and I have had the opportunity to see first hand how the Lord qualifies whom he calls!  Have a great week.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Journey Begins

Perry received his endowments last night at the Redlands Temple.  Next Wednesday he will enter the Missionary Training Center for three weeks and then on to the Louisville Kentucky Mission.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Happy Birthday Owen!

18 Years Old
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters...compared to what lies within us." 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

From One Missionary to Another

Dear Perry,  In just a week you will be a missionary serving in Kentucky and I have thought so much about what I would tell you if I could find the right words.  Today Aunt Amy forwarded me a email from a wonderful missionary serving in Equador and I decided to let her say it for me.  Grandpa and I are so proud of you and so excited because we know what a great experience you will be able to have as you serve in the Lord's vineyard.    God be with you until me meet again!

Well. I bet you will all be very excited to know that I almost died this week!
This week we went to Quito for training. Quito is about 4 hours away from us and Quito is INSANE. We had a new missionary training and it was really great. We ate some really good food and learned a lot about how to be better missionaries. And then we headed back home. There was a group of about 10 missionaries all traveling together to get to the bus terminal. I had my little suitcase and I was trying to navigate through all the people. I looked up and realized that everyone had started to cross the street. I quickly turned and started to follow them.
And then I saw the bus.
I picked up the pace and yelled, "AHHH. THERE IS A BUS! We are going to die!" Hermana Gardiner laughed and reminded me, "No Hermana! YOU are going to die." Everyone had already made it across the street and I was about to be road kill. Lucky for me, I was able to run quickly and safely make it to the other side where the other missionaries were laughing at me. All’s well that ends well. :)
This week was transfers. Hermana Gardiner and I had just barely arrived in our sector 6 weeks ago. We came not knowing anyone or really anything about Riobamba. It was a lot of work to learn the sector and gain the trust of the people, but we had both learned to love everyone in it. We weren't worried about leaving because we had just barely gotten to that sector and were finally figuring it out. There was no way we were leaving. Oh. We were so wrong. We got the call last night and we were told we were leaving our sector together and going somewhere completely new to us. We were in the home of a recent convert when we got the call and we all cried together. It looks like we would be opening an area all over again. I was really upset. I loved these people. These people helped me with my Spanish. These people had become my family away from home. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to sit on the curb and just be upset. Then I remembered something really important. One of my favorite talks.
"Come What May, and Love It."
I realized that this isn't my work. I am not in charge here. Who am I to say that I should stay where I am when the Lord needs me somewhere else? After that moment, I couldn't help but feel happy. This is not my plan, and thank goodness for that!! I don't know anything! I loved the people so much in my last sector, but now I have the opportunity to love even more people! I am so grateful for that. And maybe there is a blessing here that I could never have imagined! I know I could be very upset, but I don't want to be! Sometimes things happen and we don't like it. We want to pout and cry about it but how miserable does that sound? Always search for the blessings. Even when it’s hard to do.
So when you almost get hit by a bus or trip over every flat surface in Ecuador or wake up to dogs barking at 5 every. single. morning...remember the times you helped someone with an act of service or heard a testimony of a recent convert that changed your life. There are blessings everywhere!
I am so grateful for my blessings. I am so grateful for this gospel. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ that makes this all possible.
Hermana Bryce

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Missionary Moments #71--Jan 10, 2016

Another great week is behind us and now we begin another full week at the archives.  Last week was great because we were able to work every day and got our numbers back up where we had set a goal to be each week.  It is interesting because the Hillsborough County records were set up completely different than the Rockingham County ones.  In Rockingham County the records were all put together by decades so as we would go through the preparation and picture taking we would begin in say 1850 and complete the ten year time period and then begin in the 1860 records.  We did this through 1919.  In the Hillsborough County the person who set the up records decided to change it up a bit.  When we first began, all the records from 1770 to 1850 were name changes for that whole time period, then once that was done we began the typical probate files.  The minus of that is that those name changes were pulled out of the regular probate records and so there are often gaps in the number sequence which may cause people to think that a record is missing, but it is actually in another box of records.  The plus is if you are only looking for a possible name change they are all together now and you don't have to go as far to find the name you may be looking for.  The other change was that the records were set up alphabetically from 1770 through 1850.  When we started, the last names that began with A we did them all for that 80 year time span.  Once we completed the A we then started again in the B's doing the same thing.  Again the minus may be that you will need to do a much more intense search because you have 80 years of records to look at because they are only using the first A and not alphabetizing the rest of the last name (So we may have an Adams and the next name could be Ashworth).  The plus for us is that we get to see the records change quite quickly in information and style and history because we begin in 1770 and move quickly from there to the final year of the letter A which ends in 1850.  Another interesting thing is the change in lettering.  When we started in 1770 the s looks like an f when we begin then pretty soon it looks like the s we now use.  A capital Q looks like a 2 and it takes real skill to discern between a W and an H.  We have pretty much conquered the challenge.  At this point we are in the L's and I think that we may just be able to finish the whole alphabet of probate files from 1770 to 1850 before we close up shop and head home.  What a wonderful experience this has been for us.  I would love to share some amazing discovering we found in our records like last year when Scott found the 1862 dollar bill which was in pristine condition and now valued at $175.00.  But the truth is we have seen thousands of records of every day people doing every day things in spite of all the wonderful history that was going on around them during this time.  We have loved this opportunity.  Earlier in the week I was listening to the Mormon Channel and a Senior couple were being interviewed.  He made the statement, "It was the hardest things we had so much fun doing." I knew exactly how he felt because although people often tell us they don't think they could do such a tedious task I know that we can do anything when know what we are doing is going to be so important to some family.  They may just wants a little reminder that they are connected to a significant member of their family who lived hundreds of years before them and sacrificed much to remind them that they too can endure and endure well.  

The weather has been very different from last year.  We had one day of snow but since then we have only enjoyed occasional rain.  Even though we have had a few days of under 10 degrees most of the time it has been a very balmy 39 degrees.  I know there is more snow coming before we head home but so far so good.  I won't complain either way and the thing I honestly look forward to the most is being able to put on my flip-flops again!  By the time we reach Utah I am sure that I will.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


A couple of weeks ago in a class a discussion about trials and struggles came up.  One of the class members observed that we sometimes think we are the only one who has struggles and yet there are many people who struggle with disappointment, illness, employment, depression, etc.  In some ways that seemed to make everyone begin to discuss the fact that some one else struggling made it better knowing we were each dealing with our own challenges. The remainder of the class time I thought about what was said and now in fact, I am still thinking about it.  I decided I would share my thoughts on this subject.  Nothing profound--just pondering.

Why does someone else have to have a struggle so we can feel better?  When our son left the Church there was no comfort for me because someone else had a child who had done the same.  When my husband lost his job in his 50's I gained no strength to deal with that reality because someone else had lost their job.  The only real comfort I received was from those who prayed with and for us.  The real comfort came when I remembered that the atonement of Jesus Christ took the burdens I carried and made them lighter.  I don't want someone else to have struggles so "misery can have company."   I would like it most if no one had to suffer--but actually I wouldn't, because growth doesn't come to the complacent--it comes to the recipient of the realities we face in this life.  That adversity makes us strong and that strength can help others deal with their challenges because we may be able to say, "don't give up, you can get through this."  Even more than that is someone just saying, "I'll pray with you."

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy Birthday Ellis!

15 Years Old
"Every year on your birthday, you get a chance to start new." S. Hager

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Missionary Moments #70-Jan 3, 2016

The folders came in and we are back to work which is a huge hooray for us.  I projected a completion date for the county we are working on and it was February 2018.  It is sad to realize we will leave behind a project that we only got to the tip of the iceberg, but don't worry, we will leave this behind to be able to see all of you again.  I don't know if a new missionary couple will be called to replace us but if they do they will have a wonderful project to carry on.  This week was especially nice at the archives because the Elders and Sisters all came in and worked with us in preparing the documents for capture.  What a blessing this mission has been for us as we have had such wonderful opportunities to interact with these amazing young adults.  It is humbling to realize that in just a few weeks Perry will become Elder Duncan and join the ranks for God's army.  

New Year's Eve was very interesting.  It began that morning when we walked out of our apartment building and I hit a patch of ice and slammed to the ground.  It was so painful that I didn't have time to be embarrassed!  After getting up I decided to walk through the snow instead of the sidewalk so I would have a little padding if I fell again.  Thank heavens I had some aspirin which helped me make it through the day.  By the evening the medication was no longer numbing the pain and so I took two Advil PM about 7:00 and by 9:30 we were both in bed and sound asleep.  Needless to say the New Year came in very quietly.  In fact if there was any excitement around our apartment complex we slept right through it.  On New Year's Day we kicked it up a small notch and went to a lunch of Mexican food at our new found restaurant and then did some grocery shopping.  Beyond that is was NCIS reruns and crossword puzzles. Even better than that--we had a wonderful day.  We are creatures of habit and are proud of it.  

Saturday, January 2, 2016

It Came!

New Hampshire had it's first snow of the season the Tuesday after Christmas and the best part was we didn't lose our electricity!  The snow I can deal with but being without electricity for days was something I only wanted to experience once.  What I did experience this year that I hadn't last year was the ice.  We came out of our apartment on the way to our car and after telling Scott to be careful because there was a lot of ice I slammed to the ground before I could even realize what was happening.  Fortunately, no broken bones--just some nasty bruising on my elbow and leg, but I was able to get up and we continued on to work.
From our apartment balcony
Taken at the end of the day after the
snow had been cleared.
And here is the elbow!  Ouch.