We held our second District YSA activity this past Saturday and we had a great time. We went on a hike at Clare Glens which is located a short drive, 20 minutes, from Limerick. It is a short hike up a creek valley to a falls and then you cross over and hike back on the other side of the creek. We had beautiful weather that day, it was sunny with light winds. The hike went well, we couldn't believe how beautiful it was the way the sun was filtered through the trees. After the hike we gathered at a picnic area near the trail head and had a picnic lunch. After lunch we played frisbee, football and there were some card games going also. It would have been nice to have more YSA attending but those that were there had a great time, it is nice to get them together to socialize.
Maurene told the grandkids before we left home that we were going to try to find a leprechaun and bring one home to them. While we were on the hike she found what looked like a leprechaun home, it was so exciting!
There has been some shuffling of the young missionaries locally so we now have only two young elders in our district in Limerick and two sisters again and we now have two young elders who serve in Galway in our district also. So that means that the Reimers, a senior couple who serve in Galway, are now in our district also. We had our first meeting of the new district on Tuesday and had our usual lunch following the meeting. Later on that day we went for a walk in a small wood that is right here in the city just on the other side of the motorway from our place. It is a beautiful peaceful spot that I sometimes go for a run in.
Although we usually have lots to do to keep us busy and productive here there are days that there isn't a lot that we are required to do. We had one of those days and decided to go for a drive out around the Ennis area, a place that is not too far from Limerick that we had never visited before. It ended up being a nice excursion and when you just follow your nose you come across some unexpected places. This is such a beautiful country with such a rich history.
We often have the opportunity to go to lessons with the young missionaries and enjoy doing this when we are invited. The sisters had arranged a lesson with a woman who lived in Bruree which is about a half hour drive. So we gave them ride out there and sat in on the lesson. We enjoyed the trip and the lesson very much. She was so happy to see the young sisters!
We had a great time Wednesday night at Mary Immaculate College where we attended a musical production by Andrew Lloyd Webber entitled Starlight Express. One of the YSA in our branch is a student at the college and does all of the make up for their productions and invited us to attend so we took the opportunity to do so. Our expectations for the event were not high but we were pleasantly surprised, it was excellent! The music, the acting, the choreography, the costumes and all were really well done. We enjoyed the evening a great deal. The story was about trains so all of the actors were on roller skates the whole evening which was difficult enough but they pulled it off.
'To start the week off we went over to the Elders' old apartment with Sister Buhler in tow and finished cleaning it and moving out the few things that were left. We all worked hard and got it done in just a few hours. We were wishing the Elders had started on it sooner but at least now it is done and I have just to do the final inspection with the management company that looks after the place. The Elders are settled into their new place well although there are a few things that need to be repaired and we are working on getting that looked after.
Transfers happened here on Tuesday. The plan was that our new sisters would be arriving on the bus from Dublin at 9:30 pm along with Sister Buhler's new companion. We would take the sisters to their apartment here and Sister Buhler and her companion would stay overnight with us and take the bus to Cork the next morning. We thought we had everything figured out until the bus arrived with our new sisters and no companion for Sister Buhler. Someone in Dublin had put her on the bus to Cork instead of sending her here. So we got the new sisters settled in and the zone leaders came and picked up Sister Buhler and made a late night drive to Cork to take her there to be with her new companion. We felt sorry for both Sister Buhler and the zone leaders but things worked out.
So the makeup of our district here in Limerick has changed quite a bit after the transfer this week. We have only two Elders in Limerick in our district, Elder Taylor and Elder Trease. We now have two new sisters, Sister Morton and Sister Fechser. They only have two Elders in Galway now and they are also in our district and of course we still have the two zone leaders here in the city, Elder Salinas and Elder Mulville. It turns out that Sister Fechser was a music student at BYU Hawaii and took classes with and knew Stacey, small world!
We went down to city centre one day this week with Sister Buhler to get a few things that were needed and paid a visit to the library down there. The little library near our place can't keep up with Sister Wilson's voracious reading. So we had to look down there for some new material. We almost got lost in the maze of narrow streets but eventually found our way.
Saturday we had a really good meeting for Seminary and Institute teachers in the district with President McCrudden, president of the Belfast stake. It was a nice meeting discussing good teaching principles and although there was nothing new for us it is enjoyable to meet with him, he is such a good man and a good leader.
One of the highlights of the week was a musical number in Sacrament meeting of YSA organized by Maurene. Two YSA, Nathan and Kim, sang a duet accompanied by another YSA, Emilie, on the flute and Maurene on the piano. It was so beautiful. People in the branch were quite shocked as they had never heard Nathan sing before and he did a great job.
Some good news from the home front this week. Jay passed his firearms exam with a great score and Caleb and Kailey bought a new home that they are going to move into in June. They are going to keep the home they live in now and rent it. It is always great to get good news from home but makes us wish we were there to be part of it.
We live in a new home in Ireland, Jay lives in our home in Lethbridge and Kailey and Caleb are moving to a new home in Calgary, the young missionaries here change homes every few weeks. Homes may and do change but wherever there is family and love, we are home.
On Thursday of this week we had a visit from Elder and Sister Anderson from Frankfurt, Germany. They are responsible for all of the senior couples who work with YSA in Europe. The Reimers came down from Galway and we all went for lunch at a carvery. It was good food and not too expensive either. When we were finished we took them on a walk around old Limerick by the river and then they attended our Institute class that evening. They were very tired as they had driven here from Germany and had been on the road for two weeks in England and Scotland. They headed for home on Friday.
A couple of "Vive la difference" moments that I thought of this week. The postal system here is amazing. I was talking to a business here on the phone a few weeks ago about a bill, this was about noon. She had to send me some paper work so said she would put it in the mail right away and I would have it the next morning. I thought to myself "sure". The next morning the letter was in our mail slot. This week the post man knocked on our door during his morning rounds and had a letter for the senior couple in Galway from the mission home in his hand. For some reason the mission home had their name and street address on the envelope but had our street and Limerick below it. He recognized that it was to an Elder and Sister Reimer and asked if we knew them. I said we did and he had me write the correct city on it and said it would be there tomorrow. The postal system just works here! Also, we have seen street sweepers about town on the roads, just wanted to say that they are a tad smaller than the ones at home!
We had another great family home evening with the YSA on Sunday evening. We watched the second half of the Elder Holland question and answer worldwide broadcast. We had watched the first half during the last home evening. When it was over we had a delicious treat made by Sister Wilson and the YSA played a card game for a while. We love having them over to our place and giving them an opportunity to learn and socialize in a relaxed environment.
We got a new member of our companionship this week. On Friday we got a call from President Thompson asking us if Sister Buhler, who is serving in Cork, could come and stay with us for a few days. Her companion has completed her mission and was starting for home on Friday and normally she would stay with some other sisters until her new companion arrived but she was quite sick and needed some rest to get over her illness. So Elder and Sister Petit drove her up here from Cork and carried on to Dublin with the sister going home. We are happy to say that she is feeling much better and will be with us until Wednesday when her new companion will arrive from Scotland they will travel to Cork together.
It has been a week with big changes both for the branch and for the missionaries. On Sunday the district presidency was in attendance at Sacrament Meeting and President Faloon was released as branch president and Tom Murphy was sustained as the new branch president. I had a chat with President Faloon about it and it took him by surprise as he has only been in the calling for two years. He was a good branch president but we have confidence in President Murphy who was released as district president just a year ago.
The moves call came last night and there are many changes for our district. Our district leader, Elder Harman, has been transferred to Edinburgh and Elder Peterson is being transferred to Dublin. Elder Trease is getting a new companion and we will only have two elders here now along with the zone leaders. We are getting two new sisters again in our district and they will be arriving on Wednesday. Also, Galway is losing two elders and the two that are left will be in our district.
So lots of adjustments to be made but that is life in the mission field. We are enjoying our work here both with the YSA and the young missionaries.
We finally got the elders moved to their new apartment this week and we are all happy about that. We spent all of Tuesday helping moving their things to their new place. Their old apartment had housed elders for several years so there were lots of things that needed to be disposed of. Maurene and I went back over to their old place Tuesday evening and threw out a few more things and cleaned up two of the bedrooms and set up the double beds that had been in storage in a third bedroom that they were not using. There were two more double beds in the spare room. One belonged in there but was damaged and one belonged to the mission. There was also the bunk bed still there that was no longer needed at the new place. I met one of the branch members, Tommy Cassidy, over at the old apartment on Wednesday morning and he took the bunk bed, helped me fix the damaged double bed and also helped me put the closet doors back on that the elders had taken off for some reason. He is a great guy and always willing to help out with things. I put the third bed together in the spare room and now all that remains to be done is dispose of a few things and clean the place. Maurene put together a list for the elders and they have to get busy and clean it.
There was another move this week but it wasn't quite so happy. Elder Grant went home after serving 6 months of his mission. He has been wanting to go home for while and President Donaldson couldn't keep him here any longer. His parents came to pick him up on Friday and take him back home to England. So we will have three elders until the next transfer.
We have been assigned a few families to home teach so we took a day to see if we could contact some of them as I have had no luck doing so by phone call. One woman hasn't lived at the address we got for at least two years according to the person who lived there, one was not home, we had a good visit with one active family who are from the Philippines and were celebrating their daughter's birthday. Then in the evening we travelled out to Tulla where one family lived. The mother was home but would not answer the door. Maurene recognized one of her sons playing outside so we left a treat with him and told him to give it to his Mom. It was a nice little town and we enjoyed the drive out there. The town was built on a hill with an old church and cemetery at the top. There was a great view of the countryside from up there.
One thing that you notice here in Ireland is that there are a lot of redheads in the population or gingers as they call them here. Our grandson Brixton would fit right in over here with his bright red hair. "Vive la difference"
Every Saturday morning I am continuing to go over to the UL campus and participate in the Parkrun. It is fun to get together with other runners instead of going out on my own all of the time and gives me the opportunity to do some timed speed work and push myself a little bit instead of just plodding along.
We have started planning our next district YSA activity that will take place on April 23rd. We are going to do a hike at a place called Clare Glens that Maurene and I visited a couple of weeks ago. We will just hope that the weather will cooperate because it is a beautiful spot with a great hike along the creek to some waterfalls. There is a nice spot at the trail head for a picnic. One of our Limerick YSAs put together a nice poster to advertise it. We are excited for a great activity!
This weekend was general conference. We watched all of the sessions here at home except for the priesthood session and we really enjoyed them. The times were quite different here, the morning sessions were from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and the afternoon ones were from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The branch had all of the sessions at the chapel for those who wanted to watch them there. They also rebroadcast the priesthood session on Sunday morning at 10:00 am. Before the broadcast they had an Irish breakfast which was great!
We drove down to the city centre Saturday to take a birthday gift to one of our YSA and to shop for some things for the sisters apartment. Maurene loves tulips and we found some at the O'Connell statue so she had to take some photos. We also had lunch at a little cafe on Thomas Street!
To finish off today a couple of photos for my good friend Ed Wilson, groovy! We saw this beetle in a little town named Six Mile Bridge on the way to Tulla.
This is the blog of Elder Tom and Sister Maurene Wilson of our mission to the Scotland/Ireland Mission.