After five relatively unterrifying days in the MTC, we drove home, spent the night in our own bed, packed up the van and headed out. We met some wonderful people in our district at the MTC and attended incredible classes some of which were taught by young people young enough to be our grandchildren. We were able to see our niece at almost every meal and loved seeing almost as many beautiful young sisters as young elders there. We were in a group of 111 senior missionaries, a group that varies from about 50 to 120 each week.
We were able to spend Saturday evening and Sunday morning with Brandon and Kiley and kids. Sunday we drove to Monterey and spent the night at Meghan's before heading to San Jose. When we arrived at our new apartment in Fremont, our sweet landlords were here to greet us with fresh flowers, cookies and a basket of fruit. In our refrigerator, we found eggs, tortillas and milk. They are so excited to have us here, they call us their "miracle" couple. Sister Flores is 77 years old. Brother Flores struggles with dementia but is so happy all the time. Jack is their little dog and allows us to take him on walks each morning. He is a small substitute for Tony and Austen.
Monday night we enjoyed dinner with our new Stake President and his wife. He gave us our assignments and we're learning everyday that this is where we're supposed to be. We have three assignments: we'll be working with the members of the Central Park family ward, also with the members of the Fremont Deaf Branch and with the YSA in the Institute program.
We attended Institute Wednesday night and Craig already has an assignment to teach for the next 3 weeks while the regular teacher will be in Utah welcoming a new grand baby. I'll be heliport to provide the dinners on occasion (they feed these kids dinner first, then class, then dessert). We'll be scouting out the young people not attending and encouraging them to attend. There are about 200n on the rolls and about 15 attending. There will not be a shortage of work for us there.
We've also met with the ward mission leader, 2 elders working in the ASL branch (it appears we'll be learning a foreign language after all!) and the sisters working in the home ward. We had our first assignment to meet with a sister unable to attend church but who has her doctorate in French Literature. We met with her today and found a very sharp 97-year-old homebound sister who asked us to visit often and wants me to speak French! Her son is a returned missionary who does not attend (not sure why), his wife and youngest daughter attend but his two oldest sons and daughter do not come. We just plan on loving them like crazy and seeing if we can get the boys to Institute.
We're going to dinner on Saturday night with the Stake President and the bishop of the Central Park family to hopefully get some more info on what they need there. Sunday is filled with meetings from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., including 2 ward council meetings and 2 sets of ward meetings. It will be busy but we're loving it.
We hope all is well with you. Please know we think of you all the time and miss you. Have a wonderful week and we'll post again soon!
P S. I'd post photos but can't figure out how. As soon as I do, get ready to be dazzled!
With lots of love,
Elder and Sister McDonald