At What Price?
Brother Atwood, who my Elder replaced, is long gone. On our way to Walmart early Saturday morning to buy yet another houseful of items to stock a new apartment for missionaries, I spotted this sign. Now, not only did Elder Atwood like to eat at lots of places, he got great pleasure in noting and commenting on the price of gas whenever I got to ride around with them in the gray mission van. I couldn't help think that he would have been so happy to see Casey's sign. Man, that price was cheap. But we all know we can't count on the price of gas to make us happy on a daily basis.
We had a couple come in from Thatcher, AZ this week. They are here for just six months. As we had our get-to-know you dinner for them on Monday night, we heard their story. A little over two years ago they were serving a mission in Oregon. They were involved in a horrible accident when a logging truck lost control in a canyon and dumped the logs on them. They were both severely injured with Brother Garrett ending up in a coma for over a month. His prognosis was grim at best and had two strokes to boot. He had to learn to sit, eat, stand, talk, walk, etc. all over again. He now has disabilities that he will deal with the rest of his life. She drives for them. She takes care of business for them. She cares for him. Why are they here? Because they wanted to "finish" a mission. I am in awe of them. My thought was, haven't you already paid a price?
We had an All-Mission conference this week. Over 280 missionaries trying to squeeze on risers for a group shot after a morning of training and lunch. Three hours of afternoon Christmas singing from each zone. Throughout the day, I kept my eye on as many of the 17 "newbies" as I could find. These are the ones that came here from the MTC the day before Thanksgiving. Honestly, one or two still carry that "deer-in-headlight" look. I understand. Others were hard to recognize as they have blended in so well and seem so happy. Actually, the whole chapel was just "happy" that afternoon as they sang for each other. I couldn't help but think of the price they all have paid to come to Independence, MO. to preach the gospel.
Our Independence Visitors Center is hosting Christmas programs on the weekends in December. Last night, we heard from the Bountiful Quartet. It was Christmas hymns played on violins and a cello for the Mormons by four members of The Remnant of The Church of Jesus Christ. There was a time in the program when the audience sang carols as the foursome played them so beautifully on their instruments. One song was a Christmas hymn they sing in their church to the old tune of "If You Could Hie To Kolob". Man, that got me whispering like a kid to my elder! That is one of my favorite hymns! And it has Christmas words, also! All he wanted was to be left alone to just sing the darn thing. But it made me think so much of our doctinally correct version.
The works of God continue,
And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression
Have one eternal round....
The price we pay to serve in the Missouri Independence Mission office is small when I look at the big picture. I miss my little darlings from home at least six or seven times a day. I love young Arizona elders like long lost friends. (I have not met any young AZ sisters yet) But, everyday, I am more thankful for this opportunity to spend time with my elder serving. I can't measure the cost by wordly standards because I just know I feel kinda like a rich girl on those days when I get to walk right smack dab where Joseph and Emma walked right here in Independence, MO.
Not much to say....
Sister Seaman said it all this week and I feel a little down tonight. My stress level is up and I'll tell you why. I wake up way too early and worry about furniture and Elders and Sisters and leases and estate sales. The furniture I bought at the estate sale this week all smells like cig smoke. Yuck. I haven't taught one temple prep class yet. We tried to clean the church yesterday but nobody showed up and we couldn't get in. I thought maybe the Samoans were running on Polynesian Time, but no, turns out that the elders quorum plays basketball at 5:00 on Sat. morning, but the gym was decorated for a Ward Party and they couldn't play so they cleaned the building and were all through by 7:00. We missed it all. They ask to speak in church next Sunday. Dang.
But tomorrow it all starts over again. It is a little something like the movie "Ground Hog Day." New Senior couple arrives tonight. Their apartment is not ready because I thought they were coming in next week. I will be scrambling for a couple of days. Oh well.
Now, let me tell you what is important and why all this stuff doesn't matter. I know that we are here in Missouri to serve. And serve we will. If I don't do anything else I will know when we leave that we did all we could to make things better and we helped further the work. I carry pass-along cards with me now because when people see us in our suits and name tags they are very curious and it will present opportunities. (I haven't passed any out yet so...) I am trying to be bolder about what we have in our lives that is so important and sacred. It makes all the difference to know. And I know. If I could just get people to listen. It will happen someday and I will report it from Missouri.
As a side note, I think I told you about all the "separatist" churchs here. I have included photos of several of them. It is so interesting and they are all within a mile radius.
|Cheap Gas on 23rd Street|
|This is what a person comes home to when the Apt Bld |
they live in is full of old RS Presidents.
Totally plastic. Red balls and candy cane reindeer really
add to the season.
|Church of Jesus Christ Temple Lot|
|Church of Jesus Christ Restoration Branch|
|Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Remnant Branch|
|RLDS now Community of Christ Stone Chapel.|
It is beautiful.