Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011—By Their Shoes Ye Shall Know Them

Monday, April 25, 2011—Transfers . . . again

This week is transfers.  I cannot believe that six weeks have already passed.  Each transfer seems to go faster and faster.  When they say that time flies, they must mean that they dropped it out of a plane.  When it first falls, it is not moving very fast.  However, as time goes on (pun intended) the velocity gets faster and faster.  I will hit nine months of my mission this week.  That I cannot believe.  I feel like I just hugged mom goodbye yesterday.  Now don't think that I am "trunky" in the least bit, for it is quite the opposite.  I have to work hard and use every second of my time while I have it. "Behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors" [Book of Mormon, Alma 34:32].

Well I'm sure that you are all sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to hear the results of this transfer.  Would you like to know where I am going?  Am I returning to the North?  Am I staying in the South? Who will be my new companion?  You will have to just wait to find out.  After all, patience is a virtue.

This week I experienced something new in the mission: a rainstorm.  We woke up on Friday morning to find that it was a dark, overcast, rainy day.  The rain continued until about six in the afternoon and then it let up.  That day I was on companion exchanges with an Elder Junker.  Since he did not have his jacket, we both went out to work in our usually garb of a white shirt and tie.  We did, however, manage to find some semifunctional umbrellas in the apartment.  However, by the end of the day, it did not make a difference.  We were soaked. 

As I thought about the day, I remembered a certain day 2,000 years ago.  It just so happened to be that on this last Friday, we commemorated the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The "ugly day" that we had here on Friday helped me think of Christ and His sacrifice for us.  It seemed that even Mother Nature was commemorating that monumental day.

Marcelo and Victoria are doing really well.  On Sunday I called them to remind them about church and that a member would come by to bring them to the chapel.  I sat at the piano playing prelude when the Duarte Family (the family that was going to bring Marcelo and Victoria) came in.  Victoria and Marcelo were not with them.  Hermana Duarte gave me an apologetic look and shrugged her shoulders.  I felt so sad.  They had not come.  My heart groaned inside as I said a quick prayer in my head that somehow, they would come.  Sacrament meeting stared and ended.  They did not arrive. Then halfway through Sunday School, one of the members came and told me that a lady had arrived with her son.  I quickly jumped out of my seat and ran to the hall.  There they were--Marcelo and Victoria had come!

I love my mission so much and I learn so much every single day.

Monday, April 18, 2011 – Two Gringos at a Funeral

Esta semana ha sido muy buena. [This week has been very good.]

This week we had a mission conference. A couple of weeks ago Hermana Gillespie called me and asked me to prepare a musical number with my zone for the conference, using the hymn "Jesus the Very thought of Thee."  It is kind of hard to rehearse a musical number here in the mission.  However, I arranged a version of the hymn for my zone to sing as I accompanied them on the piano.  We rehearsed the number at our zone meeting on Wednesday and then on Thursday we sang in the conference.  The zone did a wonderful job and even brought tears to Hermana Gillespie´s eyes and some of the sister
missionaries´ eyes as well. 

At the end of the conference, we had a scripture chase activity.  Separated into our appropriate zones, we sat face to face with our companion.  Then the fun began.  The assistants would read a passage of scripture or a phrase from Preach My Gospel and we had to beat our opponent to the page.  The winners would move up the line and the losers would move down.  The goal was to get to the head of the line.  In the end, the five champions from each of the zones (one from each) got on the stage for the final round.  All the missionaries were cheering and yelling for their zone´s representative.  After one round, the cheering got even louder and louder.  President held up his hand to silence the crowd.  He walked across the room as we all watched and waited.  He then stopped in the center of the room and quickly removed his tie.  President held his tie in the air and indicated that the winner would receive his tie as a prize.  The activity was a lot of fun and taught me that I need to study my scriptures a lot more and much better. 

On Saturday I had a new, interesting experience.  I was the organist (keyboard set to the organ setting) at a funeral.  Let me explain.  On Friday, we were passing by the church and saw that it was open.  My companion and I entered to find the bishop and his family cleaning the church.  They explained to me that a member had died and that the church would be having the funeral the next day.  They also explained to me that I would be playing the organ.  Almost all of the member´s family are not members, so it must have been rather strange to see me, a random gringo missionary playing the piano at their dear family member´s/friend´s funeral.  Also, Elder Boyd was one of four people to sing in two special musical numbers at the funeral--two random gringos playing and singing at a funeral.

Yesterday was a wonderful Sunday.  We had six less active members, with whom we have been working, attend church.  Also, Victoria and Marcelo came to church for the first time.  Even though yesterday was Victoria´s birthday, she still set aside the time to come to church.  They are progressing very well.  Also, they have made friends with the members of ward and that will help them a lot on their journey.

My time is up.  I love you all so much.  I know that Christ lives.  I know that He suffered and died for each one of us, but on the third day he rose from the grave in a perfected and immortal body.  He is risen!

I love my mission!