Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thursday-Saturday (8th-10th) – Another diatribe. Hope you don’t fall asleep reading it.

We have to admit that there is a lot of down time during these last few days. There are things we can find to do, but they are not always what we think we should be doing.  I may have written about going to Sam’s to stock up on kitchen items that we would need to get started.  While checking out (with several others behind us waiting to be checked out), we talked with the girl at the register. She asked what brought us here, and I explained that we were on a mission for our Church. She asked if the Church had sent us here, and I told her yes.  She then looked at me and said that we obviously knew our purpose here, and I agreed. She said that was better than her because she didn’t know her purpose here yet.  Great opening, right? However, when you have other people behind you at a register, you don’t spend the time to explain the Plan of Salvation. We mentioned that we were from the South, and she is from Philadelphia, Mississippi. Craig knows where it is. We talked a little about grits and how much we loved them and only those in the south knew how to make good grits. We got a hotdog from Sam’s for lunch, and as we sat at a table there, we talked about our interaction with her. Craig then found a card that would act as a pass along card and wrote on it. He gave it to her right before we left.  Last night, Friday, we got a call from this young lady. She wanted to bring us breakfast with some real grits. We told her we would come pick it up, and she insisted that she wanted to bring it to us. She showed up at 9:00 this morning with eggs, bacon, sausage patties, another sausage, grits, and biscuits. She had some syrup that she said we could put on the grits if we liked or the biscuits, whatever. She came in for a moment, and Craig gave her a Book of Mormon. She is Baptist, and we encouraged her to read the BOM about Jesus Christ. We told her we would love to get with her again to talk with her about the things she will read. She was amenable, but she was going to talk to her preacher. Craig asked if she had ever worked on her genealogy, and we told her we would help her if she ever got interested in doing so. She was a ray of sunshine. We have her number and will follow up with her. Of course, we have to drop off her dishes next week, so we hope to see her again.

On Thursday, we were involved in a funeral for most of the day. We got there at about 10:15AM. The viewing started at10:00AM, and there were several family members already there. An elderly black sister had died after approximately four years of living with Alzheimer’s. She was dearly loved as we could see with the gym area beginning to fill up with other family and friends.

At around 12:00 noon, the service moved to the Chapel. We were fascinated with what happened. After each talk or song, the audience clapped and approved of what was said. The first speaker was a man in his 20s. He talked about the importance of family, and how it had been too long for the family to get together and how sad that they had to come together for a funeral (I believe I have mentioned this a few times to some children I know). I don’t want to be in my casket when you all get together so we need to plan on something in 2016.

Anyway, back to what happened. This young man had such a nice spirit about him. I hadn’t remembered seeing him at Church last Sunday, but then my memory isn’t as good as it should be. I felt he had to be a member of the Church. I found out later that he was a member, and he had been inactive for over 12 years. He has two young boys he is raising by himself, and he mentioned that he needed to get back to Church for his boys’ sake.  As it turned out, there were several family members there who were members of the Church and who had gone into inactivity. I just thought that if just this one woman’s family returned to the Church, our numbers would double. We have some work to do.

Another young man also stood up and talked about his Granny. She was the glue that held their family together as they grew up. It appeared that she dispensed great love and sometimes showed that love in her discipline with a switch in measured doses. There were a couple of musical numbers which very few knew the words to because they were from our music handbook. At the end, a daughter of the sister read her testimony. Two men behind us spoke out loud enough for me and Craig to hear them say it was a lie, and they got up and walked out. I thought that even if they disagreed, it was rude to treat the family like that.

While we were waiting in the gym area for the funeral service to begin, we got to talk with the funeral director. He was so interesting. He had served in the Air Force, and he had moved with his family to this area several years back. His wife is a resident at an area hospital, and his daughter is at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He had a lot of history he could have told us about, and he did give us some background on the area. At one time, Wisconsin was the welfare state of the nation. There was a time when all the beer companies resided here, and the people made a good living, but as they moved out, nothing came to replace them. It is hard to recruit workers to come to the state. People began to move onto the welfare rolls, and it was easy to do it. As a result, the poor from Chicago, Detroit, and other major cities headed to Wisconsin. In the 1990s, Wisconsin got a wake-up call that said they could not sustain the welfare handouts they had created for everyone. This man was very coherent in his thinking. He said, “People have money for their wants, but then when they have needs, they want everyone else to provide for them. “ I had not really heard of it in that manner before, but it is so true. He felt like this state had a greatness about it, but it had fallen on hard times and needed to turn itself around to find its greatness again.

When the funeral service was over, they left for the graveyard that evidently was several miles away. They had a 2:00 burial appointment. Who would have ever thought you made an appointment for a burial. There were a about five of us Sisters and a couple of Brethren left to set up the gym to feed the family when they got back from the burial. A Sister Coleman was put in charge, and she kept us moving. Then a daughter-in-law who was actually divorced from the family member came in to help. It was interesting to watch the two Sisters decide how everything was going to be. As more family came in, they kept changing the arrangements until Sister Coleman threw up her hands and gave in. It was all good though, and when the family finally got back around 3:30-4:00pm, we were more than ready to feed them. I’m not sure if Sister Coleman knew the family was providing food or not, but in they came with pans of food. I’ll give you one guess what was the main dish – chicken – cooked so many ways, barbecued, fried, baked – spicy, plain, etc. It was a feast! There were other dishes: a ham, Mexican casseroles, rolls, ham and cabbage, spaghetti, navy beans with rice. It was wonderful. The family was able to eat and eat, and we were able to serve them and help with the children. There was a wonderful spirit, and there was much talk of family and memories. We talked with a young woman who came in a little late to the service. She was quite beautiful. At the end, Craig asked her if she was Mormon. She said no, and he said, “Well, you need to be!” Then she said she was thinking about becoming one. Craig got the Missionaries over to her, and before she left, she had a Book of Mormon!

Thursday night, we went to the North Stake Bldg. for the Pathway program. We got there a few minutes early to talk to the Sister in the Genealogy Library about the Polish Festival where we are supposed to help with a Family Search activity. She got there a little late (just as we were going to the Pathway class) so we had to come back afterwards to talk to her. There is a gentleman in the Library who works there who is not a member. He is an expert on German genealogy since that his background. We are hoping that this time together will help Craig with his work. The people with the Polish Festival have not contacted the Sister since their first contact, so she is supposed to get back and see what is going on. I hope we can participate in this activity. Starting in June, every weekend there is some kind of festival, the Polish, Irish, German, etc., etc. These festivals are something else, and we are excited to be here so that we can participate some.

There is also a genealogy group here that we want to get involved with and work with them. We missed the meeting this week, but next month, we plan to get it on our calendar. We want to make our presence known and be of help to anyone who may need to get started on their family lines. 

On Wednesday, we spent some time filling out cards that would lead people to the Mormon.org site.  We put the URLs on the cards that would take them to our profiles. If you haven’t done this, please do so ASAP. It could be a great FHE activity for parents.

Today, after we got the breakfast from the young lady, we invited the sister missionaries who are also in this apartment complex down to eat. It was too much food for us.

We left and went to another part of town for the Hmong market. Our two Hmong missionaries work the market every week. They are friends of the owners, and they have a good time. What a fascinating market. Do you know how many types of bamboo shoots there are, or how many different types of mushrooms are available? I sure didn’t. We missed the market the first time and went right past it. We arrived at our destination and found it was a car lot. So we reevaluated the address Craig gave me and the one he said he gave me (which I’m pretty sure was correct, but I only heard what I wanted to hear). We turned around and found it. As we got out of the car, another white couple were getting out of their car and coming our way. I saw her point to us, and the thought went through my mind that at least we wouldn’t be the only white people there. As it turned out, the missionaries from our Branch were also there. We had been invited to come down and try out the food. It is known for its spicy flavors.

I wandered down the aisles looking at the food for sale. This was the front market, and there were clothes, dvds and cds (all with beautiful women on the front). There were musicals being sung on several TVs. At this moment I can’t think of what you call them (you know like Michael Jackson did Thriller). As I came around the corner of the last aisle, there was the couple I had seen coming in. I made a comment about something, and we got to talking. It’s funny how older people have so much in common. We have noticed that people here will not give you their last name. If you ask a second time to see if you can get the whole name, they will repeat the first name again. Anyway, we had a great conversation. They were retired, and she had been a travel agent, so they had been all over the world. We invited them to come eat with us, and they did. It was fun. They shared so many of their travels, and they know where all the good restaurants are in this area. They actually live in north Milwaukee, and they have a summer home in Racine. They are going fishing there this next week. We have found that lots of people have those homes and yearly make the trek up north to fish. Some say that the lakes are still too frozen to do any fishing, and they are having to wait. The gist of my story is that we traded phone numbers and promised that we would keep in touch. I was able to give her one of my cards that I had made with my Mormon.org testimony URL. I told her if she wanted to know why I became Mormon, she could read it there. I hope we can keep in touch. They seemed so nice.

By the way, in the Hmong restaurant, I took one look at the cooked goose with its head lying on its back and decided I would stick to egg rolls. After all, it’s pretty hard to put organ meat in an egg roll (hahahaha). Craig got Pho soup (small size by the way and would have filled a medium size serving dish for us). It had a good flavor. Craig wasn’t thrilled by the tripe in it.

And that is our last couple of days. I’m doing laundry right now. Ugh! It’s in the basement, and there are three washers and three dryers. Of course, I have four loads. Almost through though, and it will be done for the week.  It is Belinda’s birthday today. What a sweet girl to wish happy birthday to. Amy had her 17th anniversary this past week. Wow, what’s up with that? Both daughters are very special to our hearts.

1 comment:

  1. Quick comment(s) - I love reading your posts, so keep it up. I may not always reply, but that's okay! I laughed at the comment about people not giving last names - Jon and I don't do that when meeting people either. Never really thought about it before. Also, believe it or not, we just celebrated our 19th anniversary, not our 17th. Just so ya know. : )