It’s been almost a month since we started serving as live-at-home missionaries. We have been assigned to the Dallas 6th Ward in the Irving, TX stake. For those not familiar with LDS terms – the church divides its congregations geographically and a congregation is called a “ward”, while a “stake” (that’s like a tent peg stake) consists of several (10-20) wards. Our newly assigned ward is centered around the I35/I635 intersection here in Dallas. The chapel is about 25 miles from our home and takes from 30-60 minutes to get there, depending on the time of day. The people are wonderful; the commute though, is a bit of a contrast from our Mariposa mission:
We have been making phone calls and visiting folks to get to know them. Well, Sister Mahlum has been making phone calls and we have been visiting. We have met some wonderful people and so far not a single grump among them. This initial meeting of people is the hardest part of the process for Elder Mahlum. Once we’ve met and started visiting them, though, he is hard to shut up. Sister Mahlum is very long suffering.
Christmas was very quiet and peaceful here. Our daughter Danielle is visiting with her sister Celeste in Iowa, so we had the place to ourselves. We stayed busy but found time to Skype with everyone in Iowa on Christmas Eve to watch the Christmas Pageant in the Davis home (great re-enactment by everyone – Celeste and Rich have definitely stepped up the costumes and acting several notches from us) and on Christmas morning to watch everyone (but mostly the grandkids) open their presents. That was fun. Family is a wonderful blessing.
All’s quiet for us on the South African visa front. The church sent another young man through the South African D.C. embassy with additional paperwork a week or so ago. Now we are waiting to see if he gets approved. If he does, we will make another trip to D.C. to resubmit all of our paperwork again with the new and improved stuff included. If he doesn’t get approved, the Church has another plan (C?) to pursue. That’s pretty much all they’ve said about that plan to us – they have one. So in the meantime, we are here enjoying this mission immensely. We get to associate with the young elders and sisters more here than in California, but living outside of their area does obviate the dinner invites to our house. Still, we do get the last minute calls that district meeting has/has not been cancelled and could we bring this or that, or provide rides here or there – so that makes us feel right at home. At 18 or 19 it is apparently very difficult to see more than one day ahead. Elder Mahlum has also suffered from this most of his life, but being on the receiving end is more trying than being on the giving end, he has discovered. Sister Mahlum is a (gorgeous) saint.