Friday, October 10, 2014

P-Day at Redstone Arsenal

Huntsville North Zone serves six units that more or less surround the Redstone Arsenal, home of the Marshall Space Flight Center (and Space Camp) as well as major US Army Commands and units.  Many members work on or are contracted to Federal agencies located there, and as such enjoy access to all its facilities.  Two weeks ago, just prior to transfers, one of those members provided a discounted pass good for up to 75 games at the Arsenal’s bowling alley. 

Seeing an opportunity to build unity and camaraderie within the newly reconstituted zone after Transfers, Zone Leaders arranged for all 25 missionaries to gain access to the Arsenal and to the bowling alley for two hours Monday afternoon.  Having the alleys almost to themselves for the first hour, it was pure fun; once the alleys began to fill, members from the area as well as intrigued random other bowlers stopped to visit and enjoy the energy that the missionaries brought. 

Anyone who happens to glance at the pictures of the scoreboards will soon realize that there was far more energy and excitement than bowling prowess.  But, in the end , keeping score isn’t something that we really do anyway!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A rare photo of Sister Austin

Hi, Sister Austin, Blog Moderator here.  Most of the time I'm thrilled to be doing the behind the scenes work on the blog.  However, that means that most of the time the missionaries in the Alabama Birmingham Mission have no idea who I am!  

One day I was in Walmart, in the pet food aisle, trying to decide what brand of food to get for my picky cat.  I hear a voice say "I really love your skirt!" I turn and see two sister missionaries! Turns out they were contacting in Walmart and decided to try talking to me (thinking I was a nonmember).  It's always fun to tell them not only am I already LDS, but I'm the also the mission blog moderator because they always respond the same way: "No way!" 

These two sweet sisters then wanted to get a photo with me, which I promised to post on the blog.  So here it is!  Two sister missionaries and Sister Austin.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mission Tour By Elder Zwick of The Seventy

"We love you trusted friends!  ROLL TIDE!" - Elder Zwick

On Sunday evening, September 7, 2014 Elder W. Craig Zwick of the First Quorum of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Jan Zwick arrived in Birmingham at the start of a five day Mission Tour.  He also serves as a Counsellor in the Southeast Area Presidency and our Mission is one of 18 in the Area.  Furthermore, they had recently completed an emergency 2.5 month assignment presiding over missionary work in the Caribbean and we anticipated their arrival with great enthusiasm.  We remembered Elder Zwick’s “target of opportunity” visit to the Alabama Birmingham Mission last January as filled with spiritual energy, enthusiasm and instruction and we weren’t disappointed this time either. 

Just to give you an idea of how much General Authorities put into everyday of their consecrated and sacrificial service, here’s a review of the Tour, characterized throughout by excitement, energy, enthusiasm and enlightment:

Sunday evening arrival, dinner and discussion about the objectives of the Tour and the vision for the mission, planning the actual parts of the tour, and other conversations at the Mission Home.

Monday, visits and interviews with individual missionaries and companionships, visits to missionary apartments, tour and inspection of the operations of the Mission Office and overnight at the Mission Home.

Tuesday morning, with an early departure from Birmingham, drove north to Huntsville where a multi-zone conference – including Tupelo, Madison and Huntsville Zones – was held at the Huntsville Stake Center from 1000 to 1600.  The Zone Conference included a delightful luncheon prepared by a Missionary Mothers Group, with each Missionary Mom identify her missionary and where they were serving.  Naturally, there was much “I have a cousin/brother/sister/friend serving in the same mission as your son/daughter” small-world Church conversation that continued after the traditional thank-you singing of “We’ll bring the World His Truth.”  It seemed even more meaningful when it was being sung to all the Missionary Mothers.

Tuesday evening, began with an early dinner with each of the three Stake Presidents and their wives, followed by a two hour devotional with members drawn from all three stakes in the northern tier of the Mission.

Wednesday morning, started with another early morning departure, this time going south to Birmingham for the Mission Leadership Council and luncheon.  Then, departing for Bessemer, AL for an early dinner with each of the three southern tier Stake Presidents and their wives followed by yet another adult member devotional that evening and return to Birmingham.

Thursday morning, another early start with another multi-zone conference representing Birmingham, Bessemer and Montgomery, lunch sandwiched in between sessions of this conference, followed by a quick trip to the Birmingham airport for the Zwick’s return flight to Salt Lake City in time to perform a sealing Friday morning at the Salt Lake Temple and preparations for the next week. 

All this against the backdrop of the “regular” labors, Elder Zwick is also of currently serving as an Assistant Executive Director of both the Missionary Department and the Correlation Department of The Church in addition to his service in our Area Presidency. 

Elder and Sister Zwick Visit to Huntsville

Elder Zwick with the Mission Leadership Council

Elder Zwick's Northern Tier Multi-Zone Conference

Elder Zwick's Southern Tier Multi-Zone Conference in Birmingham