The Journey to Freedom

The Journey to Freedom

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Lisa's Birthday

Today we left an hour earlier than normal and headed to the DC 3rd ward on 16th Street.  One of our students told us that she was singing in the choir and they were doing a spiritual song from the South.  When we got there we found out that two of our married interns were speaking.  Plus our new mission president and his wife came to the meeting so we ended up staying for the whole sacrament meeting.  The spiritual song was fantastic.  The talks were supper and we saw some of the mission couples that we work with.  It was really nice to go there.

Ward on 16th street.  I love to drive or ride the bus up 16th street. because there are so many different church and then there it is this beautiful ward house. 

We took the bus and headed to our ward. We arrived in time to hear the talks.  One of our interns spoke in that meeting as well as one of our students.  So I am really glad we got back in time to hear them.

Chevy Chase building were we go to church each week.

We got home and I made the first batch of cinnamon and orange rolls.  I have promised all my classes this week cinnamon and orange rolls so for the next few days I will be baking.  It is hard to believe that this week ends our teaching part of the mission.

It was little Lisa's birthday today.  I can't believe she is four.  The years do pass by quickly.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


We have the best neighbors.  We have really enjoyed getting to know our neighbors.  When we were first married we lived for 7 months in a huge apartment complex.  I never saw and I never knew who lived on both sides of me.  We really wanted to get to know our neighbors here in DC.  So we started taking treats to them each holiday.  We have gotten close to about half the neighbors on our floor and we casually know most of them on the same floor as well as some through out the building.  Our closest neighbors had a brunch for us today to honor us.  It was fantastic.  There were all kinds of quiche, pastries, fresh fruit and I took blueberry lemon cake.  We just sat and visited for nearly three hours just enjoying being with each other.  We truly have great friends who are great Christians and do wonderful things in their work and community.  We have been so blessed to know them.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Check Off Check Off

Two more bucket list items done.  We met with the BYU professor early this morning before his class. He is the one we kept going to Belarus Embassy to get his pass port.  He gave us a run down on his trip and then gave us chocolate from his lay over in Belarus with pictures of buildings on.

Chocolate from Belarus. 

He also asked us for help with an activity he is doing next Thursday.  He also invited us to the last day of class next Friday.  He is a really creative teacher.

One of our interns set up for the group a tour of the Pentagon.  That has taken a lot of planning on his part and we went with the group that decided to go.  I was surprised at how few took advantage of his work and planning.  You can't take pictures inside but I got a couple in the visitor center where you wait for your tour.  There is heavy security in the building.  We got to see where the plane flew into the Pentagon and the memorial inside the building to those who died.  We had already seen the memorial outside of the building.

The group that went tot he Pentagon

The five branches of the military are represented. 

Steven set up the tour and made the arrangements

I thought our tour guide looked so sharp and I got her picture before the tour started.  They have to maintain their own uniforms.  I asked how they kept those gloves so white.  Bleach was the answer.  

On the way home we ran into Kimmy our old intern that lives here in DC.  She is the one we have root beer Fridays with.  She was on her way to work but we were all hot and shared a bottle of root beer. It was a new brand that was a salted caramel.  It was really good.     

We had tickets we got two weeks ago for the National Geographic museum.  They have a display on ancient Greece that was really good.  After lunch we headed over there. We were not able to take pictures in the display but we found a few pictures on the internet of things we saw.

This is a death mask.

This crown worn by a woman was made out of gold.  Gold is able to stay in great shape and it looks perfect.  

Alexander the Great

We were both walked out after our double tour day and walking over 4 1/2 miles.  We came home to the cool house and got a chance to work on our last lesson for next week.  That doesn't hardly seem possible.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mission home

We went to the mission home today for the first time.  Our new mission president had all the senior missionaries come to the mission home today for interviews.  It was so much fun to see the mission home and then to be able to talk to our new mission president and his wife.  I really like them.  He is going to get a lot tougher on the missionaries.  They are going to live by the white hand book.  He was instructed by the brethren to have the missionaries live by that rules that have been established.  There were some unique rules for our mission so that will be great.  There first four weeks of  their mission have been very exciting.  They got Annapolis incorporated into our mission.  They picked up 26 more missionaries that are on a different transfer timing from our mission.  That will not be blended until the first of the year.  They received 22 new missionaries this week and lost that many.  It took a van and four cars to get them to the airport to check in.  They had two sister missionaries get in a car wreck and the one sister had just arrived in the mission.  I think it was her first day.  They were taken to the hospital and bandaged up and left.  So that is an exciting beginning.

President and Sister Johnson

Missionaries that left the mission two days ago. 

Mission home

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

One more

The air conditioners didn't stop working today.  That is note worthy.  Our Wednesday institute class was small than normal.  We only had 12 people out.  That is sad and provided us with opposition to keep us humble.  On more week of teaching and we start in working at the Barlow to get it ready for the new students full time.

I had a really good visit with Susana, Lance and Mike today.  We love the people we work with.  One more lesson to get ready.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pay Day

When as a mission you are sent out to start a new class or open a new area you have to trust in the Lord that He will magnify your humble efforts.  Is there a need in the area?  Will people respond to the offering?  Will you be able to retain those that come? If you are the s&i coordinator you send out the missionaries so you can concentrate on the largest group of young adults and hope that maybe the missionaries can build up a class and meet a need.    Each semester you start almost with a new class and have to start building again.  For the first two semester we hoped to get 6 to 10 people.  Tonight was a humbling blessing as students kept coming. We had 37 students in class tonight.  That is our biggest class.  We have one more class with them before we switch guards.  I am so grateful to see that our work has touched the hearts of these young people.  We had one of our old student come home for a weeks vacation and he came to class.  It was so fun to see him.  We love these young people that we teach.

I wish I was able to capture on paper some of the wonderful experiences we have had with our students.  One day at church we started talking to a young man that had just moved in.  He told us that he went on a very successful mission.  Came home got married ended up divorced and disillusioned.  He got into some bad stuff. One day out of the blue his ex-mission president called to see how he was.  He told him he was nearly homeless living in his car.  Had no hope for school and was inactive.  His mission president told him to come and live with him.  So he moved out here.  Before he could go see his mission president he cut his hair that was down to his shoulders and shaved off the beard.  We are watching him slowing grow and the light is starting to radiate in his eyes.  He is living the mission rules again, getting up early and studying in the morning and starting school and applying for work.  One student asked a question about her concern for her brother who is so lost and destroying his life.  She has prayed but he doesn't even want to talk to her.  She wanted to know why her faith and prayers didn't have an effect on him.  Elder Anthony asked this young man to explain to her what had to happen for a change to happen to her brother.  He gave such a powerful testimony of having to have a seed of hope to want to change and until it is there nothing effected him.  Hope has returned to his life.

Or we could write about the young man that came with a friend last semester.  The friend wouldn't drive back and pick him up and bring him to the stake center so they could play soccer in the gym after institute so he had to come to class.  He came in with a chip on his shoulder and you could tell he didn't want to be there.  But he just kept coming.  His friend isn't bringing him anymore and sometimes his friend can't even come to class but Brian is the most consistent student we have.  He is the only one with 100% attendance and he is into the lesson and his whole countenance has changed.
Our support specialist said to me a few days ago.  Do you know there are 70 people signed up for your Tuesday class.  I said one reason is I am good at keeping track of them and getting their information so they are constantly invited after they come once.  If they all came at the same time we wouldn't fit in our room.

Today was temple day as well.  It was a great session.  The time we go is always a small session so we often serve as the witness couple.  We did today.

This morning we were the lone employees.  Lydia is out on vacation, Susana is still at home on bedrest, Mike doesn't come in until after we leave because he also teaches on Tuesday nights until late.  Public affairs wasn't in the office so we were it.  Elder Anthony and I spent the first two hours cleaning and throwing out the garbage.  I spent the rest of the morning emailing students to invite them to institute. Elder Anthony composed an email.  I am so thankful that he is over the technical stuff.  I would never be able to make sense of these air conditioners.  Here is a typical email.

      Here is a summary of yesterday's problems on RTU1, RTU4, and NOW

Last night while Paul Tarkington was working on RTU1 and RTU4, RTU 3
went down, also.  When these units go down the following occurs:
1.  The fan stops
2.  The readout which is locate on the "Interface Module" (Part#
365160810) which indicates the compressor status stops completely or
occasionally displays a "F000" which indicates that the compressor is
at "0" Hz speed or off.
3.  The Master Control Module called the ReliaTel (RTRM) has an LED
which indicates the status of the unit.   This LED flashes on and off
twice indicating a problem with the CO2 sensor (I know that doesn't
make sense).
4.  The voltage between pin 6 and 8 on the RTRM fluctuates wildly.
This indicates that there is a cooling problem.
5.  The voltage between pin 6 and 7 remains at a constant "0"
indicating that there is no heating problem.

When this occurs, the unit MUST be manually reset.  It WILL NOT reset
itself.  The following steps must be taken.
1.  The blue button on the relay must be manually pushed.
2.  The power to the unit must be manually shut down and remain off
for a short period.
3.  The power must be manually started up so that the system can
This whole process takes at least 5 minutes before the unit is running

The original problem with RTU4 could not be resolved using the above
procedure.  Trying to reset the unit using this procedure did resolve
the problem Sunday and yesterday.  In the past, RTU4 would shut
down for 3 to 4 hours and then would reset itself.   Diagnostics were never
run and captured on RTU4 during one of these shutdowns.

I am glad I don't deal with the technicians or the BYU guys that he reports to.  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Air Conditioners

Trane may never get our business.  The Barlow has four or five huge air conditioners to cool the building and the student rooms.  If you follow this blog you notice that we are having problems with them all the time.  Yesterday two just shut down.  Elder Anthony climbs up a ladder onto the roof and resets them and we cross our figures that they will respond.  We are in a heat wave right now and you couldn't survive without air-conditioning.  Every time the repair man comes out they are working and he cannot find the problem.  It is so maddening.  Today one went down that went down yesterday at 3.  We were so happy because it was work hours and the students were still working.  Elder Anthony called and the lady was not workable at all.  She was saying it would be after hours call.  Elder Anthony was so mad and reminded her we are still under warranty.  He went up and reset the unit and sent out some scalding emails.  At 5 they called back and said they had someone to come out.  It just so happened that another unit had gone down and we were thrilled to have him come when it was not working.  Elder Anthony was given a time frame when he would be there.  The guy came about 7:30 and it was after 10:30 before Elder came home and the guy was done.  While he was working on the unit another one that has never shut down went down right while he was there.  What a blessing for us to have him see it happen.  I don't know the out come but maybe they can see what is happening or figure this problem out because it needs to be fixed once and for all.

Our maintenance lady has been struggling.  She is pregnant and is very high risk.  She has had to miss so many days.  Friday her feet were so swollen that she couldn't fit them into shoes and she was swollen all over.  I told her to go home and call the doctors.  We are very concerned about her. She has already lost a baby several years ago when she was pregnant due to preeclampsia.   Her blood pressure is really high and she is boarding on diabetes. I think they are going to put her on bed rest.   She is 40 and not in good shape.  I am really worried about her and I realize that is going to put a lot more responsibility on our shoulders to try and fill in for her.  I really don't know what the new couple will do because she knows how everything works in the building. Elder Anthony has really taken over the management of the building especial with all the new projects and we know the routine but we will have to switch hats from being teachers to labors.  So we are in a difficult situation.

Our Monday class went well and we had 13 in attendance which is a record for that class.  We got a fun picture from Lisa today.  She found our book in Costco.  I am starting to hear of from people that have bought it.

Here is a comment I got from one of our Thursday Moms.  "I started reading your book today. I've only read the first two chapters so far but I wanted to let you know of the huge impact it is already having on me. You can feel Heavenly Father's immense love for each one of us through each story that was shared. It also reminded me of a very touching moment in my life on the day I received my endowment. I'm so excited to keep reading and to continue to learn."   

I also got an email today from Ted Gibbon telling me that he found that my LDS Living article had been translated into Spanish.  So that is exciting.   

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Quiet Sunday

We went to Church from 10 until 4.  We had a missionary meeting after.  Two air conditioners went down and Elder Anthony had to change clothes and climb on the roof to reset them.  A student lost their key and had to get a knew one.  I made dinner and we worked on our lessons.  Nothing to exciting to report except at our ward missionary meeting we are going to set a date to have each of us find a person that will see the missionaries.  One of the Sister missionaries suggested that we do a 40 day fast where we each take a turn fasting for our success.  We do that for 40 days and depending on how many agree to it you could fast one day or a couple.  We will see what our ward mission leader decides about that.  That could be challenging right now in this heat and humidity not having water.  We made special invitation for three of our neighbors to go to the Philadelphia temple open house in August and we are hoping some of them will take us up on the offer.  We have tickets.  So far we haven't heard back from any of them.  I hope we didn't scare them.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Check Off

We had a big bucket list item checked off today.  The Seniors missionaries in the mission when to Annapolis.  That is Maryland's state capitol is located.  The Maryland State House is located in Annapolis and is the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use, dating to 1772. It houses the Maryland General Assembly and offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The capitol has the distinction of being topped by the largest wooden dome in the United States constructed without nails.

The only draw back was that it was soooo hot today.  It was the hottest day of the year.  It was 97 but with the high humidity it felt like 106.  Between last night at the Marine Parade and being out in the heat all day today I felt like we have about sweat to death.  We drank bottles of water but we were still really hot but we had a great day in spite of that.  

Senior Activity to Annapolis

This hotel or inn John Adams stayed at as well as Thomas Jefferson. 

250 year old tree.

Cool old houses.  Four of the signers of the Declarations of Independence lived in Annapolis

Chesapeake Bay

Main Street

Street leading to the state capitol

Cool House

Chesapeake Bay

World War II Memorial dedicated to those that died from Maryland

Maryland state flag is a coat of arms.  

When Trina was here she thought these trees looked they had been peeled with a carrot peeler. 

Someone painted this on their house.  They even made an extra windos.  

We ate crab cakes here and it was the best I have ever eaten.  It had homemade pies.  It was a great place to eat.  

Work out physicality at the Naval Academy.  

This Navy new recruits are in training.  

Utah State flag.

Are tour guide said that when you see Japanese Torpedo it means they didn't kill anyone.  

Bancroft Hall

This is the typical cadet room.  The closet is organized and the socks are even folded a certain way. 

There was a wedding going on so we couldn't go in the church.  

These models were made by prisoners out of bone. 

There mascot is a goat. 

Senate building

State Capitol of Maryland