We were working in Gulfport today and drove home along the gulf. Wow. the Brown pelicans were fishing in flocks and the white fishing birds, I don't know their names, and then to top it off we got to watch an EAGLE fish. Awesome.
Separation in families is so painful. It was nice to be able to bring some joy in these lives today. We drove to Poplarville, (an hour drive) to get TJ's (the son's) things as he moved back in with his dad. The big bonus was the reunion with his sister who is almost 16. It was a special time especially for their father. He seldom gets to see her. I love the pictures of her running in to their arms to give them big hugs to express her wonderful love for them. To let the "little girl" in her come out was perfect way to express those precious feelings.
I do not judge why or if it (the separation) was right. I have not got much information. Sometimes separations are the best thing so please, no guilt trips. This is just a beautiful expression of love that may be replayed for any girl and her dad or her step dad or her grandpa, grandma, mom, brother. You know what I mean. We need to let the "little child" out sometimes and express our love. It is so elequent.
These folks were a joy and a privilege to teach. It is one of my favorite things to do, to be involved in the Career Workshop. It is truly an inspired program. I learn so much by doing this and these people were all so excited about what they learned. I believe that they will all go right out and get jobs because they will give their search eight full hours a day. Getting a job is their full time job until they get one. They have each qualified themselves and the workshop helped them to see just how much they really have to give. It is a great builder of self esteem and gaining important skills for getting that job.
These pictures were taken at the restaurant where we had dinner. It is called "Italian Pie" they had these wonderful paintings on the wall so they made fun backdrops. Left to right. Sister Goodin (New Mexico), Sister Dustin (American Fork), Bp. Mike and Sharon Dohm ( Slidell Manager), Elder & Sister Jacobs (Baton Rouge LA), middle, Elder & Sister Matson( Meridian Idaho), Sister M. Garcia (New Orleans), Bottom- Elder & Sister Johnson ( Mobile AL), Elder & Sister Wuolett (Hattiesburg MS.), Elder &Sister Hurst (Birmingham AL), Sister Dorothy Greene (Slidell) Resource Professional.
Wonderful people. We enjoyed them all so very much.
This last week we had the great opportunity of enjoying a missioary conference for employment missionaries. They came from Baton Rouge LA, Hattiesburg MS, Mobile AL and Huntsville AL to join us. Our managers presented some wonderful and inspiring training.
Since our office was closed on Memorial Day, the six senior missionaries took a short drive to this beautiful, historic park of 2800 acres. It was very hot and humid but we enjoyed it anyway. There was a short but heavy downpour while we were there in the visitor's center and museum part while we enjoyed learning about the early history and then we took a hike to Lake Pontchartrain and then turned the other way to hike to the alligator/bird refuge.
This week we hosted a man and his son who were taught by the young sister missionaries there and then we were able to take them to church on Sunday. the father came into our center and then a few days later we took him to a town an hour away and brought Terry's son, TJ , age 17, back to the men's shelter where they now are reunited after a year being apart. It is a sweet time for them and inspiring to watch what faith they have under such difficult circumstances. Terry got a job in about a week after he first came in. He came in a rung the bell and asked that his son be in the picture.
Our job is to help people learn how to get a job and to train church leaders when asked, so we don't often get the opportunity to be involved in the teaching of the gospel. We have seen several of our job candidates get baptised and what a joy that is. Two of them were even baptised by Elder Matson.
We are so excited to have someone ring the bell. Sometimes we go weeks without that joy but this week there have been six ring it. Today three of them and another called to say he got a part time job. that would make SEVEN jobs this week. I do not really think the economy is different but most of these people have been looking 5 to 6 months for their job. Julian in the center(from Jamaica-20 years ago) is in his work clothes and so happy to be doing something. He is really a dental technician but he is happy to do construction and now maybe he will be able to do some dental work on the side. Bottom Left, Malik a citizen of the United States is from Afghanistan and a student now is working full time and studying engineering part time.
The more friends you call, the quicker you will find a job. If you don't work hard and contact everyone you can then you are likely to sit unemployed for many many months if you only casually looking. You need live people to recommend you.
A couple came in this week desperate for help and employment. He had been out of work for TWO days. How well are you prepared if you loose your job tomorrow? Another fellow lost his job but has 4 months paychecks in the bank! What a contrast. Have you stored some food and money for the unexpected unemployment? One father is sick and his wife must find employment. She has a degree but jobs are hard to find still. If you have a job, work very hard and do not quit. It is good to work.
Kemmons Wilson (founder of Holiday Inns) says "I believe in just working half days, you can either work the first 12 hours or the second 12 hours, it makes no difference. "
Elder Matson and I and Sister Goodin and Sister Dustin got to go to Memphis for a training in the Memphis 1st Ward. Wouldn't you know it, that happens to be the ward my brother lived in when he was University of Memphis President. The last couple of years he was there, he was also the Stake President so it was pretty fun to meet some of his great friends but the best thing was to have a visit and dinner with this sweet, great family. My niece Kate and Her husband Todd and son Zack. We ate at Corkys which is one of the very best barbecue places in the country. Yum.
Then we stayed at the wonderful Holiday Inn at University of Memphis which was built by Kemmons Wilson (the Holiday Inn founder) and donated to the university as a school of Hospitality and Resort. It was great to stay there knowing the whole story of the beginning. There are a lot of Mr. Wilson's sayings and ideas all over the walls and downstairs, awards galore. One of his sayings is "I believe in working half days, it doesn't matter which half you work. you can work the first 12 hours or the second 12 hours." "Sell your wrist watch and buy an alarm clock."
This bed is made of the hotel key cards. someone was really clever!!!
The car in front is the church vehicle that we drove. It is a long drive about 7 1/2 hours to Memphis including the stops. We made it in good time.
Memphis first ward is amazing. They are very integrated. It was dying on the vine and then two years ago things started moving and 18 months ago the one active boy invited two of his inner city friends to play basketball with him on Tuesday nights at the Church. The missionaries, ( now 4 sets) must have also played with them. As a result of the Young Men's basketball program as a starter the ward has had 70 baptisms in the last 18 months. Yes SEVENTY. They are a great and caring ward and have strong leaders, of course there are many problems but they know how to help each other. It was a great experience to meet them and do all we could to help them understand better how to get jobs and to use the new website.
It was also a treat for us to meet some of the leaders we have been working with over the phone. Two of them came from the Memphis Stake which I work with. First Ward is in the North Memphis Stake.
Here I am enjoying the company of two great people who work so hard at their callings to help others learn how to help themselves get jobs and to go the second mile to help them. Bro Ball is from Sugar City Idaho. Yup, he is another "Spud". He is our most top notch Stake Employment Specialist. I wish we could "clone" him.