This week we had a branch YSA service project. We had a Billion Graves activity at the Mungret cemetery which is close to where we live. Billion Graves is an online database of the headstones from cemeteries around the world. Maurene has used it often in her family history research. They depend on volunteers to visit the cemeteries and using their phone app take photos of the headstones and upload them to their database. The cemetery at Mungret had not been done yet as is the case for most of them around here. We only had three YSA show up but we had a good time together and completed almost all of the headstones. We will go back soon and finish up the small part that is left.
Before we did the YSA project I went for my usual Parkrun. I am going to miss the Saturday morning runs when we lose the car as they are held on the university campus which is quite a ways from here. I didn't feel too good that morning so took it easy. I had a nice chat with a fellow from Leeds, England about the Brexit vote.
Through our family chats and also Skype we are able to keep the communications open with our family at home and keep up to date with all the news. That is a real blessing for us. This past weekend Jay was able to travel to Cranbrook to watch Ty play in a baseball tournament. He is a member of an all star team from Creston and plays shortstop and pitches. Also Kailey and her family and Corey and his were in Lethbridge visiting for the weekend and they all got together at Skye's place. It is so nice that the cousins can get together and play. Kailey and Caleb got some family photos taken while they were down there.
We have done a lot of gardening this week at the church and also at the Haxhiaj's whose place we are looking after until they return home from their vacation. We enjoy doing the gardening and it keeps us busy when we don't have a lot of other things to do. They have a few raspberry bushes in their yard so Maurene has been picking the ripe raspberries and it has been nice to have fresh raspberries for dessert this week.
We took a little trip out to Askeaton which is a 20 minute drive from Limerick down the Shannon. Last time we passed it I noticed an old monastery so we decided to go and visit it. We had a nice walk around the town and explored the ruins. We stopped in at a pharmacy to pick up something that Maurene needed and when we were leaving a member of our branch, Brother Davison, came out from the back to say hello. It turns out he is a pharmacist and owns the business there. It was a nice surprise and we had a nice visit with him.
We got some sad news at Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. Our branch president, President Murphy and his family are moving to Finland this summer. She is from Finland but they have lived here in Limerick for 12 or 13 years. He has only been branch president for three months now and he has been really good, a very capable leader. They will be missed here in the branch.
We got a phone call from Sister Donaldson on Tuesday asking us if we would put together the lunch for everyone at Zone Conference on Thursday. So we enlisted the help of the Reimers from Galway and put together chicken burritos for the lunch. We did the shopping on Wednesday and spent most of the zone conference getting the food ready and cleaning up after lunch was over. We got to sit in on a little of the conference at the end when the cleaning up was done. One of the highlights of the day was the opportunity to see and have a visit with Sister Muller. She gave us a beautiful card expressing her love for us and we truly do love her. There is a special bond formed with some of the young missionaries and she is at the top of the list for us, a wonderful missionary and person.
We were thinking the other day that it seems like all of our children, except one, are moving while we are on our mission. This past week Kailey and Caleb moved into their larger new home and we are so happy for them although we certainly wish we could have been there to help. Their new place was less than clean so they had a lot of extra work to do and it would have been nice to have been there to help out.
I started off Saturday at the Parkrun as usual and enjoyed it. It is such a beautiful spot to run at the University campus and I especially enjoyed the trail along the river. The icing on the cake was that I did another personal best. It has been a few weeks since that happened and I thought I would not do another one so that was great!
Later on Saturday we attended a District Council meeting at the church and then the Institute graduation which was held that afternoon. Just about the whole council meeting was devoted to the YSA program and especially how we could get more of the YSA to attend Institute classes. It was a good discussion and they have some plans to move the Institute and YSA program forward and I hope it happens, there is so much potential in the district. The graduation went really well and we had four of our students here in Limerick receive course completion certificates for the two courses that we taught this past year.
On Sunday I got some nice treats for Fathers Day from Maurene and I especially loved the great bagpipe key chain. We also had a great FaceTime chat after church with Corey and Julie, which was early in the morning in Calgary. On Sunday afternoon we travelled out to a hotel at Castleconnel, which is about a half hour drive from Limerick. We met up with Barb, a cousin of Maurene's who is on a tour of Ireland and Scotland. It was nice to be able to meet with her and for Maurene to have a visit.
We had our usual District Meeting on Tuesday of this week. We enjoy meeting with the young missionaries and although the discussions and instruction are not always germaine to our assignment, we like to meet with them and show our support. It is also an opportunity to meet with the Reimers, a senior couple who serve in Galway and are now in our district. Together with the Reimers we provide lunch for everyone and this week Maurene made burritos which was a big hit. Our sisters also showed up as twins for the meeting!
We were thrilled this week to get news and to share in three great blessings to our family. We got a text from our youngest son Scott towards the end of our Institute class on Thursday. "Well I have good news. I just got a letter of acceptance this morning into the pharmacy program at the U of A! I start in September! I'm at work so if I don't reply, that's why. I'll be on my lunch break soon though" I was so excited I could hardly stand it. Maurene was teaching her part of the lesson at the time so I had to wait until after the closing prayer to share it with her. She was so excited she was dancing around the room and it was great to share it with our students. We are so excited for Scott and Stacey and this has been an answer to prayers. Scott has worked so hard to get to this point and the hard work is not over but now he can work towards the career that he wants.
This week was also the convocation at the University of Calgary and Caleb received his PhD. He has been working long and hard to get to this point and so has Kailey to support him in his educational efforts. It is a such a great blessing for them to finally have this milestone achieved and we are so happy for both of them. We only wish we could have been there to show our support and offer our congratulations. The cherry on top is they are moving into their new home soon and it will be great for them to have the extra room that they need for their family. Again we wish we could be there to help with the move.
To finish the week off our granddaughter Ayla was baptized. It was such an exciting day for her and her family and we so wished we could be there to share in this great event. In the photos Ayla looked so happy and we are proud of her for this important step in her life.
We had a phone call from the mission president this week telling us that he was considering moving us to Stornoway in Scotland for the rest of our mission. For the Americans on missions here and for Canadians in Ireland, our driver's licences are only valid for one year. So if you wish to continue driving, you either have to get an Irish licence or move to the other country and your year starts over. The couple in Stornoway needed to move and our year was coming up in a few months. Getting a licence here in Ireland is a time consuming, complex and expensive process. I had told the president that I was not going to go through that. We heard from him shortly after that he thought we should stay in Limerick to complete our mission and we would not have a car for the last six months. There went my dream of serving part of our mission in Scotland and not having a vehicle here in Limerick will be challenging as the public transportation is not stellar. Somehow we will manage and things will work out. We're here for a reason and we trust that we will be blessed for our service.
When we first arrived here in Limerick there was a couple who were taking the lessons from the the Elders who lived close to us called the Haxhiaj. There were from Albania and had lived here in Ireland for about 10 years. They had two sons and attended church every Sunday. They are a very nice family and we all had hopes that they would be baptized. For some reason they decided not to and we have tried to remain their friends since. They came over to our place Friday evening and we had a nice visit over at their place, it is a short walk. They invited us to supper Saturday and we had a wonderful meal and had a nice visit with them. They are leaving for Albania for a holiday next week for a month and we volunteered to look after their yard for them. He is a gardener and their yard is beautiful so I hope we do a good job.
This was moves week in the mission and we had lots of changes take place in our district. We found out on Monday morning that both Sister Fechser who was staying here and Sister Plummer, from Cork, were getting new missionaries so had to travel to Edinburgh. Sister Plummer was also being transferred to Scotland to open up a new area so the sisters were being pulled from Cork. So they had to travel to Cork on Monday and close the apartment and then start travelling on to Edinburgh. So we drove them to Cork and helped them clean out the apartment there. It had to be deep cleaned and all missionary things removed. Needless to say we spent the day cleaning. It needed lot of work. We got them on the bus to Dublin and then drove home to Limerick. It was a long day! We have never been to Cork before but didn't get a chance to see any of it this trip, maybe next time.
We usually do the cleaning of our house and laundry etc. on Mondays so we had to move those chores to Tuesday this week because of our trip to Cork. There was a baptism on Tuesday evening which we attended. Maurene played the organ as usual but I was recruited to lead the music. I haven't done that in a long time but I muddled my way through! We also said goodbye to Elder Salinas who is headed to Belfast and Elder Trease who is going to Dublin. They left right after the baptism. On Friday we welcomed Sister Fechser back from Edinburgh with her new companion Sister Weber who is from Germany. We picked them up at the bus depot and then took them to get groceries. We enjoy helping out the sisters when we can.
The people who own the property we live in are great. Whenever we have a problem, they look after it right away. They came over on Thursday morning to repair a kerosene leak in the boiler and we had a good visit with them. They said we are great tenants so that was nice to hear. Later that day we had the opportunity to visit a beach that is directly west of here called Ballybunion. It was a really nice spot with nice sandy beaches and clean water although the water was very cold. It is the North Atlantic after all. On one side of this rocky outcropping with Castle Green on it is the women's beach and on the other side is the men's beach. It must go back to an earlier time when men and women couldn't bathe together.
I continue to go out three mornings a week and go for a run. I go to the Parkrun every Saturday morning when I am able and do the 5km run there. It is a beautiful course along the Shannon River and it is nice to get out with other people and enjoy nature and a run. It is even more enjoyable now that the weather is getting better. This past Saturday was a great morning, sunny and warm and completely calm. So after the run I took a few photos of the trails and the river.
On Saturday we decided to go back and do some shopping at the Milk Market in city centre. We went there soon after we arrived here in Limerick and haven't been back since and we had a great time there. There were lots of vendors of all kinds of items with lots of fresh produce and a variety of foods. It was a very busy place and we ran into Elder Ensign who finished his mission this past week, it was quite a surprise. His parents came to pick him up and he was showing them around Ireland. They attended church in Limerick on Sunday.
We are almost finished our Foundations of the Restoration course for Institute. We held a class this week and have two more before the course is finished. At Family Home Evening last night we had two new YSA attend for the first time and had four altogether. To finish off the post this week, here are some photos of some roses from our yard and some other flowers from around Limerick.
This is the blog of Elder Tom and Sister Maurene Wilson of our mission to the Scotland/Ireland Mission.