Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Week At A Time

O.K., I promised last week that we would talk about our first week of fall Institute classes, but first I just want to mention the wonderful concert we were able to attend tonight at the Temple Visitor's Center. There is a "Mormon Choir of Washington, D.C." that performs at various events around the District. It is made up of members of several stakes (all volunteers, of course). Tonight, they performed a musical program in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The music was stirring and the remarks thought-provoking. Elder Bruce A. Carlson of the Quorum of the Seventy spoke. As an Air Force General, he was in his office in a different area of the Pentagon when it was hit by the third plane. Living here, it is easy to imagine the terror of that day and to be grateful that nothing resulted from the high terror alert here this weekend.

In the Wakefield Ward, where we attended Sacrament meeting today, the bishopric counselor who was conducting admonished everyone to make a stop at the meetinghouse library for a copy of the ward's emergency plan. Said he, "Now that we've survived the earthquake and the hurricane and the flooding, we hope you'll be sure to pick up your folder before the locusts arrive." We all laughed -- but not for very long....

On a happier note, we LOVE our Institute classes and especially the students. We have had a fifth class added to our weekly schedule, so our week goes something like this:

SUNDAY - We have been told to ward hop (unlike the young single adults who have been told to stay put...). We are usually in a different building every week, meeting new people and spreading the word that there are Institute classes available for young single adults.

MONDAY - We add audiovisual materials and put the
finishing touches on our lessons for the week. We also put together food for "munch & mingle" activities after three of the classes.

TUESDAY - We meet with our CES Supervisor for an hour or two in a staff meeting during the morning. By 5 p.m., we are on our way to Crystal City, near the Pentagon (a 45 minute trip), to teach our first class of the week. The "23rd Street Chapel" is a refurbished office building that was just dedicated this past spring as the meetinghouse for three singles wards. There are three Institute classes taught there every Tuesday night. In our class, we have about 30 Young Single Adults, most of them pursuing graduate degrees or working for the government or in government-related occupations.

WEDNESDAY - We teach two classes. First, we travel about 20 minutes east to George Mason University to teach a class in the Student Union Building. It's a "brown bag" affair for students on campus. Everybody brings their lunches and we meet for an hour between noon and one. We have about 10 students, including a pair of missionaries who are the first set of elders assigned specifically to the campus. They've been on campus about a month and have three investigators already. We hope they will accompany the elders to class. In the evening, we travel about 30 minutes in a different direction to the Annandale Stake Center, where we teach about 20 young single adults who are still mostly living at home, working, or commuting to various college campuses in the area. They are a sweet, humble bunch of students.

THURSDAY - We make the 45 minute trip back to the 23rd Street Chapel to teach a lunchtime class to about 15 students whose schedules allow them to spend an hour with us in the middle of the day. Some work from home or at a near-by business, some are going to school. Then, in the evening we drive just 10 minutes from home to the Centreville Stake Center (in our home ward boundaries) to teach our last class of the week to 20 or so students who are working locally or attending area community colleges while living at home.

FRIDAY - We spend the morning catching up on cleaning, grocery shopping, etc., then devote the afternoon and evening to lesson plans for the next week. If we're lucky, we sometimes take an hour or two off to go out to dinner.

SATURDAY - It's our day to see the sights! We often take the Metro from the Vienna station into the District and explore all the wonderful sights we have hurried through when we've been here before. This is the day we have time to go to the temple and to see Amy and Colin. We have taken some trips together to some great historical sights. Our mission president and our
CES supervisor have both told us to take one day a week off, and we love it!

We're keeping busy, but it's been great. We are so glad to see our students each week. We've definitely wrapped our hearts around them. All-in-all, our students are very diverse in their cultural backgrounds, in age (anywhere between 18 & 30) and in the life goals they are pursuing. It's a great challenge to adapt the subjects we teach to their individual needs, but we are loving it. Lots of work, lots of fun. ~Pat~

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