Monday, September 17, 2012

Stump the Experts (#53)

Elder Johnsen was surprised this month that his picture project actually stumped the experts in Salt Lake. He has been using the windows Snipping tool to create head shots of our branch members, and get them loaded into the online LDS directory.  By the first week in September he had captured about 175 photo’s but had been unable to get them uploaded.  His appeals for system support finally reached the QA Engineers at church headquarters where they have noted all the problems he’s been having, not only uploading pictures but also mapping each member’s location on the LDS mapping tool.  On September 14 Elder Johnsen received the following note back from SLC, “Well, I think you’ve stumped our experts. We just don’t know what to do from our end to make this easier for you. I’ve asked everyone I can find to ask with no success. I apologize and appreciate your patience in dealing with all these hiccups.”  On most of the problems we are experiencing the experts could duplicate the problem and promised fixes in the next release of the directory and mapping tool (next month), but on the picture upload problem they couldn’t replicate the problem in SLC.  Elder Johnsen took that as good news, there wasn’t a bug it was just a dial-up speed issue.  So arising at 4:00 a.m. he began playing around and instead of trying to upload the pictures one at a time, he tried the multiple upload feature and wonder of wonders, it worked.  On his first try he was able to upload about 75% of his head shots.  It took all day, but by day’s end on Friday—all the pictures we had were uploaded and associated with the right person in the directory.  His goal is to have pictures and locations for 90% of the members in the branch by the time we leave Palau.
Speaking of stumping the experts, we just had our second new AC evaporator replaced in our 2005 Corolla. The mechanic can’t figure out what is causing them to repeatedly get holes—we’re sure that Elder Anderson in Guam who keeps buying us new ones and sending them can’t either. What really stumps us is now that we have the Corolla all fixed up:  new AC, brakes, tune up, oil change, new tie rods and tie rod ends, tires, paint job—we just took delivery of a brand new Toyota Yaris this week; it will replace our fixed up Corolla!  You’d be surprised how much running around is required to take delivery of a new car in Palau; it has to clear customs, have all the taxes and fees paid, then you have to get it inspected, titled and registered.  Other than rental cars, this is the first new car that we’ve ever had to drive.  Elder Johnsen has always purchased vehicles which are two or more years old, and then drives them until they’ve lost all value and are uneconomic to repair.  Don’t get too envious about our new ride, here’s what “consumer reports” says about the Yaris, “The original Yaris hatchback scored a dismal 52 out of 100 points in our road tests. Still, that looks good compared with the redesigned 2012 model, which dropped to 41. This spartan hatchback subjects you to a noisy cabin, uncomfortable seats, and a cheap-looking interior. It’s also slow to accelerate and has a choppy, uncomfortable ride. One redeeming quality is its excellent fuel economy of 32 mpg overall.” We’re sure our Yaris must be much better than what they evaluated; our Yaris has 4 doors, it’s not a hatchback, ha.  Our main complaint is we no longer have power door locks and power windows.  When you get in and out of a car all day long, like we do, it really gets old opening the car door with the key (no remote entry like the Corolla), and then leaning across the car to unlock the passenger door.  It’s a good thing both Elder and Sister Johnsen are a spry 62 years old.  

Speaking of getting older, we celebrated two birthdays this week, both Elder Early and Punga are turning 22 so we turned our typical Sunday dinner with the Elders into a birthday party.  Here you see the two Elder’s about to blow out their respective candle on the birthday cake. 
 We stumped the experts; they couldn’t guess what kind of jello we used in the poke and pour cake (it actually was a white cake with strawberry Jell-o and vanilla pudding frosting).  Sister Johnsen had great gifts for both Elders.  Elder Early, after wearing short sleeve white shits for nearly two years, got a royal blue long sleeve dress shirt with matching tie (he’s going home soon).  And Elder Punga received construction paper, colored sharpie pens, envelopes and stamps he is our artist and has a girl back home to whom he regularly writes. Sister Johnsen is the best gift giver! For dinner we had the famous GrandmaFay chicken pot pie recipe, with fruit salad, and brown sugar muffins.  It was an awesome meal.  Elder Johnsen was especially glad that there was one serving left over—that’s one lunch he won’t have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich this coming week.  

This was another super busy week for us doing member leader support work.  We had branch council this past Sunday so Elder Johnsen spent considerable time updating the budget so that could be reviewed.  He also updated the October calendar, prepared the agenda and found out about the Fair which will be held at the end of the month at the midtown Bethlehem Park.  We were considering having a booth as a follow-up to our open house which we held about 6 months ago.

Of course, Elder Johnsen also taught his usual Sunday school class—Sister Johnsen wrote an 11 page primary program, got the YW ready to sing a special musical number in Sacrament meeting, and also prepared and delivered a great talk about Temples in Sacrament meeting.  At the end of September Sister Johnsen will be teaching a temple preparation class.  We have a group of nearly 10 members who are preparing to go to the temple over the thanksgiving break.  Given the limited economic circumstances of most of our members it is a great blessing that the church can help with travel expenses for first time temple attendees.  

Elder Johnsen’s tried to stump his Sunday School class asking them what it would have felt like to have been numbered among the righteous Nephites who were waiting for the promised day and night and day with no darkness, which was the Sign predicted by Samuel the Lamanite Prophet of the Saviors birth in the holy land.  The wicked part of the people set aside a day when the righteous believers would be killed if the sign did not appear.   They were not stumped at all as to what they would do—some would hide, others would prostrate themselves before their enemies, others would fight rather than die passively.  We supposed that the wicked would wait until night fall to do the dirty deed—then we speculated what the wicked man would be thinking as he sat at his grinding wheel sharpening his machete waiting for a night fall that didn’t come.  What would he be feeling when at the setting of the sun it was as bright as noon day?  We supposed that it would be much like how the wicked will feel at the time of the saviors second coming.  We hope that some of the work we are doing will help us and the Koror Topside Branch prepare for that day—no one will want to be among the wicked when that day comes.

We are not stumped about what to do this coming week. The work list is so long!

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