Sunday, June 14, 2015

11 months and loving it!

I can't believe that next month, on July 7th, it will be 1 whole year that we have been out serving as missionaries. It has gone so fast and we have loved every minute of it......well.... every minute of it may be a bit of a stretch.  We did have those ice storms and some challenges with utility companies and other work related challenges.  But, overall it has been a delight.  Darryl might have included his small closet they call an office in the challenges.
    The magnolias have been out for about a month now. They are all over town and they are beautiful. Everything is green and beautiful....which it should be considering the amount of rain.  I have found that if it doesn't rain for 5 days they start using the "drought" word.  Unbelievable!  But it has rained at least once each week, and usually more than that. We have had some real downpours lately. I guess this is the price you pay for green.
   Recently we spent the morning in Downtown Franklin Tennessee. Here is some info on Franklin:  "The city of Franklin was founded October 26, 1799, by Abram Maury, Jr. (1766–1825), a state senator. Maury named the town after national founding father Benjamin Franklin."  Franklin is quite the "going" city!  It has been revitalized with small shops and restaurants.  In the center circle of town they have a couple of huge canons, just to remind you that this was a civil war site. In this picture you can see the small bluegrass band that greeted us where we parked out car on the city center street.  They were really good.
     We walked around and enjoyed all the cute shops and contemplated the restaurants, but they were too crowded. 

We spotted these cute signs along the street.  I tried to convince Darryl that this sign gave me permission to spend some money....but it didn't work. 

We drove around the City of Franklin and came upon this group of bicycle riders.  We thought they were quite unique. 

Next is the Carnton Plantation in Franklin.
    Beginning at 4 p.m. on November 30, 1864, Carnton was witness to one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. Everything the McGavock family ever knew was forever changed. The Confederate Army of Tennessee furiously assaulted the Federal army entrenched along the southern edge of Franklin. The resulting battle, believed to be the bloodiest hours of the Civil War, involved a massive frontal assault larger than Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. The majority of the combat occurred in the dark and at close quarters. The Battle of Franklin lasted barely five hours and led to some 9,500 soldiers being killed, wounded, captured, or counted as missing. Nearly 7,000 of that number were Confederate troops. Carnton served as the largest field hospital in the area for hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers.  
   In early 1866, John and Carrie McGavock designated two acres of land adjacent to their family cemetery as a final burial place for nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers killed during the Battle of Franklin. The McGavocks maintained the cemetery until their respective deaths.
Today, the McGavock Confederate Cemetery is a lasting memorial honoring those fallen soldiers and the Battle of Franklin. It is the largest privately owned military cemetery in the nation.

     We toured this beautiful house as it poured rain outside.  I got a little claustrophobic during the tour so I chose to go sit on the beautiful porch overlooking the garden.  I almost felt like Scarlet O'Hara looking for Rhett Butler to come riding his horse down the lane.  
 I could live with this garden.  I took this during a short lapse in the rain.  The rocking chair was so comfortable that I could have stayed all afternoon.  A fellow tourist came and sat next to me and we had a great conversation.  One of the best things about wearing a name tag all the time is that other LDS people spot you very quickly and they are  great to come and speak with you.  This gentleman was from Idaho.  He was in town for a very short time, and was enjoying a quick tour during a break between business appointments.  Actually, I think he was about to go to the airport to return home.  We enjoyed the rain and the garden until Darryl came and it was time to leave.
     This last weekend we went to Clarksville Tennessee to check on some missionary apartments.  We had a problem with one of the apartments that the missionaries had moved out of and left in a terrible condition.  It cost the mission a lot of money in order to rectify the damage they did, so we decided to step up the apartment inspections. Friday and Saturday we checked 4 apartments and fortunately they they were in good condition.  Sister Crawford (out 82 year old nurse) went with us because she is a really effective bad cop to my good cop persona. All the missionaries we met with on this trip were very nervous because transfers are this week and they were sure we were checking because they thought they would be moved.  Actually, that was not the case. It is so much fun to see them try to pry some information from us on upcoming transfers.
I would like to introduce you to  couple of  young women in our Green Hills Young Single Adult Branch of the church.  They are both here pursuing music careers.  In this picture, on the right, is Elle Duke.  Today in church she sang "I am a Child of God" with Makelle, who is on the left.  Elle had written an original arrangement of this hymn.  It was fantastic.  Elle usually sings solo.  I found a couple of examples of Elle singing on Youtube, so I am putting the link here.   I think you will have to cut and paste it, however, because it doesn't seem to work.  

This is Abby Anderson.  She also sang in church today (It was a very musical Sunday).  In this picture she is being interviewed by Glenn Beck.  The link I will put here is for a song she performed called "Let Freedom Ring".  Today she sang a medley of "Praise to the Man, and We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet." She plays the piano and sings.  

I hope you will take the time to listen to them.

There is one more thing.  In our branch there are 6 missionaries:  Two Elders, Two Sisters and then Elder Dunn and I.  Our Branch Mission Leader is David Archeletta, who is a fantastic leader. We worked together and came up with the idea to make a video of recent converts in the branch, hoping to inspire more member missionary involvement.  I will try to post that video on facebook.  Please tell me what you think.

The biggest lesson I have learned while serving this mission is about the 'pure love of Christ'.  Through service to others you have the incredible opportunity to love everyone you come in contact with.  How do you love 240 missionaries that you hardly know?  It is only through feeling the pure love of Christ. Try it..... it works.