Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I know, I know. You wouldn't have to take so much time to read this if I would just do it each day. I really do mean to do it, I just can't sometimes. I'm too tired at the end of the day.  So let's get to it.

Wednesday, we had our very first Zone meeting. It was held in another building on the opposite side of town. As we drove through the town to get to the building, I was reminded of Columbus which existed of the southside and northside.  The south was the poor side of town, while the north was booming with all those moving up in the world and constantly moving further from the "town" as those from the south began to take over the older parts of the north. (Does that make sense?) As we drove into this part of town, it was obviously the new developments. There was a mall that was fantastic. Lots of stores we hadn't seen on this side. We decided that we would have to take a p-day to shop on their turf.

What a wonderful meeting! Craig had once attended a transfer meeting (where some of the missionaries are transferred to another area) in Columbus when he had to take the missionaries up to attend. He has always remarked on how spiritually touched he was with a room full of missionaries singing "If You Could Hie to Kolob." It is probably at the top of my list for favorite hymns. It started at 10:00 (they tend to tell everyone to get there about half an hour early - which we didn't know - so that everyone gets there at the real time).  We were fed spiritually, encouraged to fight the good fight (and hang in there), and taught Gospel principles. What more could we want? We actually were asked to bear our testimonies (because we are the old people). President Cutler was encouraging the younger missionaries to remember there are others out there like us who will welcome them in and hear what they have to say.

So, guess who I teemed up with at Zone Conference for role play. A Sister Osmond - yeah, like the Osmond Family. She is beautiful. I could see Marie in her. I didn't asked if she was an Osmond; we had been told there was a sister here from the family, but I didn't realize I would meet her. She has a wonderful testimony, and she has a talent to get you talking about yourself. I found myself realizing that I needed to do the same thing. I don't know which family she comes from, but her mother went to Argentina on her mission.

We had lunch, and then we were back at it until 4:30-5:00. We do a lot of role playing which helps the missionaries get ready for the real meetings with those who want to listen. It is so interesting to me and always has been that someone has to want to listen before we will teach. We will ask if they want to listen to what we believe, and if they say no, that's it. We are amazed though at the number of people who are looking for something that will bring joy into their lives. We love this work.

After the conference, we took the Hmong missionaries to dinner. I had wanted some Korean food, some Bulgogi (I think that is the spelling) to be exact. We had it in Columbus several times, and I loved it. One of the missionaries ordered some soup, and I looked over and asked what that was floating in his soup. We got a picture of it. I never saw him actually eat the little octopus, but I felt bad for it. It sat on the top of the soup like it was going to walk away like in "Nemo."  UGH!  By the way, the Bulgogi wasn't like what I remembered, it was ok, but I don't think we will go that way again. The highlight was watching these videos of some Korean singers. They all have the boy and girl groups. Each person in each group looks just like the others in the group. The missionaries explained to us that they all have plastic surgery to look alike - just perfect. They don't stay popular for long, but while they are, they make lots of money. All were dressed very modestly, but it was like watching groups of robots make all the same movements together. They looked like they couldn't be over 17, but the missionaries assured us they were all in their 20s. They recognized them from before their missions.

 Elder Lee and his new friend...

Elder Vang

On Thursday, we took a meal to a family who just had their second baby and got to know her. I had never met her before, but we felt we wanted to take them something. They are a nice couple, and he has finished dental school. He is 1/32 Indian and owes the tribes three years for having supported him in school. They don't know where they will be going, but they are looking at a place in Washington state.

Later, we helped the Elders teach a young lady. They cannot teach a single sister without another sister being there. This was her second lesson with us there. She has a hard time reading and doesn't comprehend what she reads. We spent the time this past week just reading the BOM with her. We didn't really get through one chapter before her boys came in with her social worker who was there to check up on her. She is working to get her babies back full time, and I hope she does it. So, as I was saying, we read and had to keep stopping to explain the "big" words to her. We had asked her to go to Church with us this past Sunday, and that we would pick her up. We made the mistake of not just telling her we would be there at a certain time to pick her up. When I called Sunday morning, she didn't pick up. I hope she will continue to meet with the Elders. She is a good person, but she has been into some stuff that has messed up her life. She wants to get back on track.

After this meeting, we went home to grab a bit of dinner and then off to the Pathway program and the genealogy library. We are getting prepared to take over the program in the fall. The students are fun to be with, very creative, supportive of one another, and willing to do what they need to do to get their education. Some have decided that they don't want to continue, several have signed up for full time with BYU-Idaho, and others have decided to go into another program now that they have found they are capable of doing the work. After opening exercises, we headed to the genealogy library down the hall, and two Sister missionaries were there with a mother and her daughter they had tracted out. These two are convinced that they are in God's Church already, and we have nothing to offer them. However, they came to start their genealogy, and although they had nothing to back up what they were doing, if we so much as found a name they thought should be theirs, on the tree it went. I can remember doing this same thing. The more I do now, the more I realize that the pieces must fit for the family puzzle to be put together correctly. As I worked with the daughter, one of the Sisters tried to talk to the mother about the Church. The mother wasn't having any of it. In fact, she almost appeared hostile without really being so. She would smile as she talked, but it did not reach her eyes. We set up genealogy accounts for them, and I hope they come back.

We didn't get home that night until after 10:00. We met another Sister outside of the building and ended up talking with her for a while. We were tired. I wish I could say that we slept in the next morning, but the sun comes into the room through the blinds and by 6:00-6:30, I'm awake. Craig sleeps a little longer, but he is also up soon after and we are studying. However, that morning, he was sick. He felt like it was some of the medicine he is taking which has the side affect of causing nausea and stomach upset. He spent the morning (all morning) practically in the bathroom. By noon, he was exhausted. We didn't get much done that day, but by 7:00 we went out and ate at a restaurant that I thought was a rest-home for the elderly.  There is no sign that says it is a restaurant. It always has lots of cars there, so we went to investigate. Craig was starving because he hadn't kept anything down all day, and I needed to get out of the apartment. This town is predominately Catholic. So guess what they all eat on Friday.  FISH!  Yes, we are so pleased. We got fish at this restaurant, but we will be looking at others. Lots of fish fries advertised. Oh the choices we have to make.

By Saturday, Craig was feeling a little better, but I could tell he was still dragging. I called a sister who had been sick earlier in the week, and I just wanted to check on her. She wants us to take a name to the Temple this Saturday when we go. Craig called Ritchey Marbury, our old Stake President in Columbus, to ask if he would mind talking to a young man who had finished his Civil Engineering degree and had no job as of yet. Ritchey consented to talk with the man, and we were told that Ritchey couldn't have been nicer and that he had helped him tremendously.

That afternoon there was a family festival (kite flying) downtown so we went down there to check it out. I actually got to speak to a man who was there with his family. We talked about genealogy, and I handed out a card to him and told him how important the family is. We could tell that he was a family man, and he loved them very much. Who knows where it will go, but we made a contact. Craig talked to a couple of others. Then I noticed that Craig's head was beginning to turn red from sunburn. We are going to have to get him a hat to wear when out in the sun. He burns in a short amount of time.

On Sunday, I taught the Gospel Principles class this week on charity. Next week Craig talks about honesty. We were missing some of the investigators that we had had last Sunday. We are beginning to realize that if it weren't for the visitors, we would have very few at Church. Yet, those that are there are really nice. One of the speakers was an eye doctor, and he talked about keeping an eye single to the glory of God. Another speaker was a heart doctor, and he talked about the pure in heart.  How appropriate don't you think?  One of the Hmong sisters remembered her talk early in the morning, but you would have thought she had spent a month on it. She talked about how her husband managed to have true love for his family even though they treated him so badly as he grew up. The Elders sang an intermediate hymn. What a great meeting. It is wonderful to partake of the Sacrament each week. That is the most important thing we do at the meeting, but having great talks is like having icing on the cake.

Today, we went to exercise and then planned on going down to the Memorial Day Parade. We had plans to help teach someone genealogy that the Elders found, but it fell through. We waited until really late to go to the Parade, but finally thought it sounded like something we would enjoy and may have a chance to meet some people. We are amazed at the number of people who see our tags and ask about them. It is great! We had no sooner than driven about a mile down the road when the Sisters called. They live in our apartment complex. Their carbon dioxide monitor was going off just like ours. They had no screwdriver to open it to change the battery. I told Craig that the Lord just wanted to see us get out and going, and he would give us something to do. We turned around and came back.

We are going to have these same Sisters and both groups of Elders in our Branch over tomorrow for lunch. So I spent the afternoon making a dessert (which is fabulous I might add), baked beans, potato salad, and deviled eggs. We found a Wal-Mart Supercenter finally and it is closer to the apartment than we thought. We had to pick up a couple of things there so we did do that before I started baking. I haven't cooked like this in over a year as Belinda would attest. It was good to actually make something (well, more than one something). I'm not a good cook, and I don't pretend to be. I decided a long time ago that some people weren't meant to be a good cook, and that included me. Oh, well. I think I have something they can eat, may not be the best (the dessert is - I found it on facebook), but they won't starve. Then while they are here we are going to help them set up their Family Search accounts so they will know how to do it when the Polish Festival comes around, and they have to know how to help others. Since this was Memorial Day, their P-day was changed to tomorrow. President Cutler felt they would have greater success finding people home today than tomorrow.

Lots of stuff going on around here. We feel that more people are beginning to meet us, and they are beginning to approach us for help. We like being busy. The Lord has truly been good to us to send us here.

Oh, yeah, on Saturday we have Stake Temple Day. We got a letter last week from one of the couples we met at the MTC. They knew Ritchey Marbury and lived in Georgia before we got there. They knew Glen Rudd when he was a Mission President out there. He actually introduced Ritchey to the Church and baptized him. Again, what a small world.  (Craig and Noel Luke went to visit and talk with Glen Rudd about Church welfare for a book that Noel is writing. I think Glen was or is known as Mr. Welfare because he was instrumental in setting up the welfare system for the Church.)  We are going to meet the couple on Saturday and go to the Temple with them. We had asked a brother in the Branch if he wanted to go, but he wasn't able to go because he is moving to a new apartment.

Our work goes on. Somedays we feel we are making a difference, somedays we want more. It is getting warm here. Naturally, I did not bring many cool clothes so will be looking for a few things soon. I'm hoping I can find some outlet stores here.

Love to all. Let us hear from you.
Craig and Linda

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