Cambodian New Year began on Thursday, April 14, 2022, and ended on Saturday, April 16, 2022. Lowell Massachusetts has a sizable Cambodian population and there are several Cambodians who are members of the Lowell 1St Ward. On Saturday the 16th we experienced a baptism of a friend in the ward, and our first Cambodian New Year. Preparations began in earnest on Tuesday night when the Young Women of the ward made egg rolls under the tutelage of those who knew how to make them. On Saturday night we were treated to the Young Women and Cambodian members of the ward dressed in traditional Cambodian clothing, Cambodian traditional dances, and lots of tasty food. It was an enjoyable evening that again highlights the diversity of the community and Lowell 1st Ward.
On a Friday night we were treated to a visit from Richard and Kaye Mason from Los Alamos, NM. We’ve known the Mason’s for about 20 years now. Richard and I served in a stake presidency together. It was great to enjoy a dinner out with them and catch up on family news.
Sunday the 17th was Easter, and we held our Sacrament meeting celebrating the Atonement of the Savior. Elder Zollinger was asked to speak during the meeting along with a youth speaker and a counselor in the bishopric.
We also delivered donations of toys collected by the Young Women and delivered them to the Stake Center where donated items were being collected for Ukrainian refugees. Sister Zollinger had told the young women that we had learned that when refugees arrive by train in Romania parents had been very grateful when their children had been given toys after losing everything when they fled the country. The YW in the Lowell Ward took that to heart and we helped find a way to donate them. That afternoon we were invited by a couple in the ward to enjoy an Easter meal with their family. We had an enjoyable afternoon getting to know them, their son and daughter-in-law and her parents, and most importantly two surrogate granddaughters. We do miss our grandchildren!
On Monday the 18th we traveled about 50 miles to visit Portsmouth, NH. Portsmouth is home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyards, and important part of our nations defense. A number of submarines have been built there over the years. We were able to tour the USS Albacore submarine museum and tour this experimental sub that was built and launched in the early 60’s. We are amazed at how small it is, but how efficiently it was designed. Since Elder Zollinger served in the US Navy surface fleet this was like Disneyland for him! He only bumped his head once. Here are some pictures:
We continue to support the English classes. This past week we had high attendance at some of our classes. Here is a picture of the classes being held on one evening when we had 26 people in attendance:
On Saturday, April 23rd we participated in a Stake Day of Service using the BillionGraves app to take photos in the Lowell Cemetery. This is beautifully maintained cemetery with paths used for walking and jogging. We enjoyed taking 200 photos between us for this important family history activity.
We have been on teaching visits with the young elders and sisters and continue to enjoy those experiences. Elder Zollinger also gives a ride to friends of the church most Sundays. This past week he gave a ride a gentleman from the Congo who speaks little English. Despite that he had an enjoyable experience and learned a great deal about his family. We have enjoyed very much the interactions we have with people from all over the world.
This past preparation day we celebrated with the members of our district and zone leadership at a park in Nashua, NH. We provided a BBQ and enjoyed the day watching the young missionaries play pickleball. To end this blog entry here is a picture of us all on that day.