Life Goes On....We have been here almost a month now. I am so surprised today that life goes on everywhere! I woke up to Chaz's birthday today. Our family carried on at Thanksgiving just fine without us. The month will change tomorrow. Christmas lights are appearing on the street corners. See.....life goes on.
And the mission here carries on also. We took two Visa Waiters to the airport on Monday to catch a plane to Brazil. They have been here waiting for a couple for months for their visas. Well, I should say working here, not just waiting. It was a testimony to me that The Lord is so mindful of his missionaries. Who sends two little ol' 19 year old kids to Brazil with layovers in Atlanta, and then, they wake up to a new day, a new language, a whole new world in Brazil? What kind of mother does a thing like that? That next day, nineteen elders and sisters were dropped off at that same airport to fly to their various homes across the world after serving their time as missionaries. On Wednesday evening, we went to the Mission president's home to greet the new bunch that had arrived that morning from the MTC. There were seventeen of them. Ten little boys and seven little girls. I say that with huge respect. Again, I think, their mothers would be so proud! Not one had a tear in their eye as they stood and introduced themselves and told why they chose to come on a mission. Why did they come?....."I always knew I would"....."I saw the change it made in my brother"......."My family is inactive. I wanted to show them the joy the gospel can bring"....."I was going nowhere. I fasted for answers and here I am".....I wanted to kiss and hug every one of them! How can they be so brave? So bold?
My elder moved in the new doctor yesterday. He will service several missions from his home here in Independence for the next year. A new couple appeared yesterday across the hall. They will serve in the two visitor's centers here with all those beautiful young sisters. We hauled bunk beds to a threesome out in Higginsville yesterday. As my elder talked to them on the phone and realized they may be short a bed the young elder told him not to hurry. They were taking turn sleeping in the recliner. He will be going home in three weeks and could do it. So....you see....mission life goes on also. I realize I am but a speck in this work and life will go on whether we chose to serve or not. But, I am so amazed at all these young people and old people who come out here to try to do some good. Our sacrament meeting today was again, a missionary's farewell. He is going to Mexico to the MTC to learn Spanish and then, back to Long Beach, CA to serve. He told all the young people to serve only if they have pure intents and pure desires. Need I say more about my life these days? It goes on in a different way, in a different state but, man oh man, I'm so thankful there are good mothers across the world teaching their children the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are brave and bold and can do hard things. I want to live my life like them.
"I know that the work I have been called to do is the work of God or I would not stay here one minute, no, I would not have left home. But I know that our happiness is dependent upon my faithfulness while I am here. I am in the hands of our Heavenly Father and he will watch over me and protect me if I do his will. And he will be with you while I am away and watch over you and protect you in all things."
President Joseph Fielding Smith to his wife, Louie, when he was serving in England. I bet they wished they could have gone together like My elder and me.
The Rolling Hills of Missouri...
Never ending miles and miles of rolling hills covered with mowed grass or cultivated farmland broken only with wooded areas, ponds, rivers and streams. Scattered little towns or homes every now and then. It is beautiful. The geese are everywhere. The buildings are mostly older, probably built 30 to 100 years ago. The soil is black. There is no need for irrigation. Everything grows on its own. I can understand why Adam and Eve liked it here.
Speaking of Adam and Eve, there is some misconception about where the Garden was. The Garden of Eden was in Independence, literally. Right at 517 W Walnut Street. (This is also the site of the prophesied temples to be built in the last days. 24 of them to be exact, right on this site.) I am probably writing this blog from the east side of the garden. When Eve decided to change things, they were sent out of the garden and ended up at a place called Adam-Ondi-Amen (Man and God.) It is about 50 miles from here. There are great things going to happen in both places. Our mission surrounds the mission of Adam-Ondi-Amen. The church owns thousands of acres of farmland there. President Monson presides, personally over this mission. It will be the place that all the Prophets down through the ages including Adam will hand back the keys of their dispensations to the Savior. It is a meeting scheduled a few years in the future and will be by invitation only. Our mission is referred to as the "Alpha and Omega", the beginning and end. It all started here, it will all end here. This place is so full of history it is hard to believe.
And so we try to learn our duties and responsibilities, so that this mission will be as successful as possible. That includes taking care of young and old missionaries. We love them.
You will remember that there are a few break-offs of the Church here. They politely call the break-off a "separation." The main break-off was the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (RLDS). They stayed when the Saints left for Salt Lake City. They have had nothing but trouble in the last few years. A few years ago they had about 1.5 million members. After disavowing the Book of Mormon, allowing women apostles, gay marriage and a few other things, they are now down to approximately 250,000 members and out of money. When they started changing things some of them left and started the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of those guys left them and joined our church a few years ago. He is now the Stake President of the Independence Stake. President Cato is his name. He seems like a real good man. And he is very focused. It is so interesting here. Our perspective is changing somewhat.
Oh well. Good night from the Alpha and Omega Mission.
|This is a BIG Samoan missionary leaving for the MTC in Mexico tomorrow.|