We have spent a little over a week in our new home in Lowell, MA. We live in a two bedroom apartment on the third floor of an apartment building. For my wife and I, it is a return to apartment living for the first time in almost 40 years!
We are grateful for our living space and now we almost enjoy the stair climb to our cozy apartment. We do have a dishwasher which at first we were told we not have. In fact it took me three days to realize that we DID have one. Lynn is concerned about my mental faculties at times. It is an object lesson that we don't see something if our brain has been told something else. I'm glad I could share that lesson with you. I'm sure I could create a good TED talk out of that.
Our building is made up of a very diverse population with many languages being spoken. In addition to that , we get to smell the international blend of food aromas at each meal time. Most of the time it is a savory mouth watering blend. From time to time the clash of aromas is noticeable.
Our bedroom window faces the boulevard that we live it. The apartment is of old construction, which as you can imagine, does not include a great deal of insulation. The sounds of the street penetrate easily, including sirens, garbage trucks, car horns, and honking geese. Fortunately I learned to sleep with ear plugs in while in the Navy a million years ago. My wife envies my blissful slumber.
We are assigned to work in the Spanish group in the Lowell 1st Ward. The ward (congregation) also has a Cambodian Group. In the same church building their is a Portuguese Branch (small congregation), and a Young Single Adult (YSA) Ward. Right now our week is not fully subscribed. But, we help teach free English classes three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8 pm. These classes can have upwards of 20 to 30 people in attendance. Lowell Massachusetts has a very large Brazilian population. The popular grocery store chain, Market Basket, has nearly an entire aisle dedicated to Brazilian food. So, our classes have a majority of native Portuguese speakers. We've enjoyed these classes and helping out the young sister missionaries who are in charge of it. The number of attendees at the Spanish group meetings are small, about 15 people, but they are friendly and welcoming to us. The numbers grows and ebbs at times. We have also gone and taught a gospel lessons with young elders (male) missionaries. We are part of a district of missionaries that includes ourselves, two Spanish speaking sister missionaries, two Portuguese speaking sister missionaries, three English speaking sisters assigned to work with the young single adults, and two English speaking elders. Every Friday we have a district council meeting with them. They all live in our apartment complex and we are only about a half a mile from the church house. We enjoy these 18-20 year-olds and their vitality and enthusiasm. Our preparation days (p-days) are on Mondays. Yesterday our district enjoyed volleyball with a neighboring district of missionaries.
We enjoyed a zoom meeting mission conference this past Wednesday, as well as zoom meeting devotional with Elder Neil Anderson as his wife Kathy this past Saturday as a mission. The amount of technology being used in the missionary effort is astounding, as well as the manner in which the young missionaries use it to teach and inspire. A far cry from my days in Argentina where we used cassette recorders and filmstrip projectors. We had one precious 16 mm movie projector in the whole mission! We live not in the downtown sector, but are surrounded by shops of every description. Here are some back street views with more pictures coming next week.
On Sunday evening we had a nice surprise. Nathan and Maggie Wittwer Mason brought their children to see us. They live south of us in the Boston Mission, but brought us a zucchini bread loaf with chocolate chips to welcome us to New England. We are friends with Nathan's parents, Richard and Kaye Mason of Los Alamos, and also Maggie's parents Julie and Robert Wittwer, who now live in Corpus Christi. What a beautiful family, and how nice to be welcomed in that way. Apologies if I spelled any names wrong!
With that we will end this blog entry for this week.