The Journey to Freedom

The Journey to Freedom

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy Birthday

Today was Elder Anthony's birthday. Today was the second day of checking in student.   Today was the big meeting with those that are over the Barlow. It was a two hour meeting.  Today we started at 7:30 and finished at 6:30.  I gave Susana the money to buy Elder Anthony a birthday cake and we sang happy birthday to him before the meeting started and shared his cake.  I think it was a triple layer tre leche cake.  It didn't have any chocolate on it and yet Elder Anthony who loves chocolate cake said he thought it was his next favorite cake.  It was light and had a fresh fruit flavor.

I wish I had taken a picture of the cake before I cut it.  It didn't have chocolate on it but fresh fruit, strawberries, kiwi, and peaches.  Elder Anthony was very surprised.

We both came home so tired that we were grateful for our left over in the fridge.  The best part of the day was talking to our children.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Walk of Shame

Once in a while you get on the metro and you realize that you are going the wrong way.  You then have to get off and walk across and catch the metro going in the opposite direction.  That walk is called the walk of shame.  We have had that happen once to us.

We learned about the elevator button of shame today.  This morning we went down to work out.  We live on the fourth floor and the work out room is on the 2nd floor.  When we finished we came back to the elevator and I pushed the down button to go down instead of the up button.   The doors opened and here was a nice older couple staring at me.  They looked at me and the man pointed down.  I looked back and pointed up.  He said you pushed the wrong button didn't you?  I said yes.  That is a moment of shame that you can't get out of.  There you all alone and they had to stop because you pushed the wrong button.

We were over to the Barlow at 7:45 this morning to start checking in student.  We left long enough to eat dinner.  We got home tonight at 9:45. At ten one of our old interns called to see if it was to late to pick up her luggage.  She had left her luggage here while she toured around DC with her parents. They came by and we visited with them until 10:30.  It was fun to meet her parents.  Her Dad's grandpa was Elder Anthony's bishop when he was a little boy.  He activated Elder Anthony's father in the church.  We of course are grateful for that bishop and it was fun to have his great-granddaughter in our institute class.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Busy Day

We were up and at the temple early this morning.  The temple is always a wonderful place to go to feel the spirit and to get hope and renew your dedication.

We needed to stop at the store to get the welcome treat for the students. When they check in I have a welcome packet for them that gives them instructions on what they need to do and where to find things.  Then we have a granola bar, a banana, and an orange for them to snack on.  I had to get them delivered to all the rooms so they would be ready for the students.

We got home and got a call that our first student and his wife was coming in.  This is our assistant and we wanted them to get unloaded and get their rental car returned before 5 o'clock traffic.  While they returned the car I came home and made dinner.  We had them over for dinner and then headed back to the Barlow to introduce them to what they need to be in charge of.  To my surprise I got a call that we had another student coming in tonight.  There are not suppose to be any other students until tomorrow.

When we finished with our AA.  We came home and I got cookie dough made to bake tomorrow. Fresh baked food make is smell like home when the student arrive.  We got the call that our next student had landed.  We headed back to wait for her when she should have showed up.  She didn't come and she didn't come.  Elder Anthony finally walked down to Foggy Bottom Metro to see if we could find her.  I was worried she had gotten lost.  She had luggage problems and we finally got her here and into the Barlow.

Tonight I feel like I have run all day without a break because I have.  Tomorrow will be a lot busier We will check in 29 of our 42 students.  Best to go to bed and get a good night sleep.

Monday, April 27, 2015


We have tried to make a change to procedure at the Barlow.  In the past students had to buy their own sheets and bedding and towels Students arriving late had no bedding.  Some didn't buy any and then our mattress pads was all they used and they slept on the mattress.  Then when students left they couldn't fit the things they had purchased in their suitcases so the sheet supply started growing.    The past missionary washed all their left bedding and bagged them up and the students that came first could take the left over.  We had left over sheets taking up space all semester in the laundry room.
At Halloween someone got creative and took a sheet and cut holes for eyes and used it as a ghost costume and then returned the sheet with three holes.

Last semester I washed all the sheets and we had enough left over to put a set on every bed.  If they didn't want them they could buy their own.  We then proposed that we send all the laundry out and found a place that would wash the sheets by the load instead of by the piece.  This time we sent out all the mattress pads and the sheets we used. We got all that done for less than we had paid for the mattress pads in the past.  I still washed all the shower curtains, towels and blankets which are really hard on the the washers.

We contacted BYU housing and we are now going to work the Barlow like a dormitory.  We provide the sheets, blanket, they provide their own pillow.  All sheets are the same.  They will be sent out to a laundry and assigned back to the student when they come in.  The sheets arrived today but there is not enough time to start with the new sheets.  So after this semester hopefully we will have a lot less shuffling of sheets.

That change has taken a  many weeks and proposals to finally come to pass.  I had to present a proposal of how the sheets would be issued and checked back in. The students will be charged for damaged sheets.  It will need to wait until next semester.  But we are hoping that it will simplify our work between students.

Our first student arrives tomorrow. He is our assistant.  We are ready.   To celebrate today Susana made chicken and rice and I did a big green salad and we celebrated getting everything done in less than one week by having a nice lunch together.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Golden Contact

We took our young senate pages to an area conference by the temple today.  Elder Hales, Elder Andersen, Elder Kacher, and Sister Reeves spoke.  It was a wonderful conference.  Our young lady is so excited about the church that she is talking about going on a mission and she isn't even baptized.  We set her up with the Elders today so they can get her ready for baptism.  She will need her parents permission but she is so excited about the Church.  Elder Andersen talked about just being a good example and feeling free to share about the Church.  This young man from Salt Lake has done exactly that.  He is just a shining example of the gospel.  He lives the gospel and he had her so ready to talk to the missionaries.  They will need to just teach.  She would like to be baptized here so this young man can baptize her.  She had a discussion at the visitor center.  We stepped back and let the Elders teach.

Elder Hales talked today about  strengthening the family.  He asked that we teach our children about ordinances and covenants. Teach them about baptism and the Holy Ghost and what the sacrament means. Three things we need to do daily:  have personal prayer, companionship prayer and family prayers.  Then we need to have personal scripture study, companionship scripture study and family scripture study.  He talked about the importance of the way we speak to each other.  When we have contention in the home the spirit leaves and we are left on our own.  You can discuss differences without being disagreeable.  One thing that touched me was that he said parents serve as powerful images of the Savior.

After we got the kids dropped off we had the Elders for dinner.  It has been a full day of of highs and lows.   We have worries at home that concern us but we also see the Lord's work going forward and it a privilege to see someone so hungry for the gospel.  It is a special experience to sit at the feet of the apostles and be instructed and feel the Holy Ghost bear witness of their words.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

That is the Pentagon in the back ground. 

Washington Memorial in the background. 

Some of the more recent stones. 

John F. Kennedy's grave. 

We went tomb of the unknown soldier today and to Arlington cemetery.  It was a very cool 55 degree overcast day. We went to watch the changing of the guard.  There is a great video on the internet of the changing guard. 

Tomb Guards are handpicked and rigorously trained. The duty at the Tomb is not for everyone, with the majority of soldiers who begin Tomb Guard training failing. Tomb Guards describe their service as a privilege and an honor, and are undeniably proud of their service. They are part of an unbroken chain of soldiers dating back to 1926. The ideals of the Tomb became the Guidepost for their lives, as well as a motivating factor and measuring stick for future endeavors.
Currently, the Tomb Guards work on a three Relief (team) rotation - 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on, 96 hours off. However, over the years it has been different. The time off isn't exactly free time. It takes the average Sentinel 8 hours to prep their uniform for the next work day. Additionally, they have Physical Training, Tomb Guard training, and haircuts to complete before the next work day.
The Guard is changed every thirty minutes during the summer (April 1 to Sep 30) and every hour during the winter (Oct 1 to Mar 31). During the hours the cemetery is closed, the guard is changed every 2 hours. The Tomb is guarded, and has been guarded, every minute of every day since 1937.
I can't imagine guarding this tomb during weather like this.

After we went to the cemetery we got back on the metro and went to Old Alexandra.  It is a fun place to just visit and see old store fronts.  We got a great bowl of clam chowder.  It warmed me up after being out in the cold all day.