James and Sara Perry are serving in the Virginia Richmond Mission as President and Mission Mom.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Autumn in Virginia

Virginia in the fall is hard to compete with in its beauty. If you have been to Virginia you know it’s known for its trees. Trees are all you see from the plane coming into Richmond. Trees are all you see when you drive from Charlottesville to Virginia Beach. It’s all green until the fall. Then it becomes an endless sea of various shades of yellow, red, and green. It overwhelms you with its beauty. The crisp air and the smells of chimney smoke invite nostalgic feelings. I love this time of the year.

I think we are getting accustom to the pace now and feel more comfortable with our responsibilities. Training is a constant at the individual and group levels. Interviews, transfers (missionaries coming into the mission and going home) and phone calls, change the dynamic of the mission almost daily. The old saying that the only thing constant is change holds true in a mission. Once you understand and embrace it, you will be fine. The challenge is to embrace change without losing your sense of purpose. I spend most of my time helping others focus on their purpose in the midst of growth and change. A new favorite quote with a twist on an old standard summarizes my thought process. It reads:

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me. ~Author Unknown

Since our last update we had a visit from Elder and sister Paul Sybrowsky (Sep 13-15). They came to tour the mission. They were very kind, gracious, and most helpful in their observations and suggestions on how we can improve the mission. They participated in Emma’s twelfth birthday party celebration (Sep 14).

Other visitors included, Kathy Birdwell (Sep 20), Mickey Nielsen (first few days of Oct), two of my sisters, Maggie Cady (plus her girls, Naomi and Birdie) and Barbara Stevens (Oct 9-15). We also enjoyed a visit from our daughter, Esther (Oct 31- Nov 2). She had a two day layover on her way to Russia. Additionally, Shane Littlefield and Tim Bothell from the missionary department came this past week, to help Sara and me with training our mission leaders (Nov 9-12).

Sara is doing well and is using her creative talents to help others in meaningful ways. She has taught many how to spin wool on her spinning wheel. It is particularly helpful in relieving stress. Spinning therapy, I think she is on to something here. If only we could speak with our great grandmothers…

Richard has joined us for a little while. He is taking time off to see his family. He came back from his mission in Brazil just in time for us to move so some R&R is in order.

Joseph is preparing for his mission to Norway by working, buying clothes and working out at the gym.

Eliza just had her first high school choir concert. She loves her choral group and French classes. She is also going to early morning seminary (5:30 a.m.!)

Emma is going to school half days and is doing an online school in the afternoon. She is starting to make the adjustment.

Christena and Julia will be here in early December for a visit and Courtney will be here at Christmas.

We are looking forward to Esther’s pictures and narrative of her recent trip to Moscow, Russia.

I have carved out some time to take in some Virginia historical sights recently, so I’m in non-fiction heaven. I spent a day with my sisters and Emma at Thomas Jefferson’s, Monticello. He was a remarkable and complex, human being. He has to be listed among some of the most gifted people that have walked the earth. Monticello is a must see while in Virginia.

Two recent “small world” experiences from the field:
1. Sara and I participated in a mission president seminar in Kirtland, OH at the end of October. It was very enjoyable and we had time to take in the Kirtland historical sights including the temple. We stopped in historic Bedford, PA on the way home. We attended church in a small branch of Latter-Day Saints. A returned missionary was speaking in church and he stated he had served his mission in Lynnwood and Everett, WA. He attended my Brother Joe’s ward for six months. Elder Vaughn says hello.

Additionally, one missionary currently serving in that little branch was coached in Lacrosse by Sara’s brother-in-law Randy who lives in Alpine, UT...

2. We had four missionaries arrive here this past week on their way to Brazil. They are temporarily assigned to the VRM because of Visa issues. Two of the missionaries are assigned to the same mission where Richard served so he will be able to help them with the language etc…

We are grateful for our many blessings. We are grateful to serve with so many talented missionaries. We are grateful for a mission that provides many opportunities to pursue discipleship.

A Thanksgiving thought:
“Mortal mathematics… is forever mistaking who and what counts. Even so, we should be more quick to express genuine appreciation to others. The arithmetic of appreciation is far less practiced and known than the multiplication tables” (Neal A. Maxwell).

With love and appreciation for your love and support,

James & Sara Perry