Dear One and All
This past week we were blessed to have a Mission Conference where we not only learned from our Mission President but from Elder Cardon of the Seventy. We spent the whole day with four other zones being taught how to more effectively bring the spirit into lessons. Elder Cardon had some of the greenie missionaries give the talks they had prepared then some who had been out more than a year and then a couple who were close to finishing their missions and it was amazing to hear them all speak. The greenies are a powerful force in missionary work because with their greenie zeal they teach just as powerfully as those seasoned veterans. The caliber of missionaries in the field –at least in the GKLM- is astounding. We both really enjoyed the meeting except for the 1 ½ hour drive each way and sitting for 7 hours. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (I was tired of sitting). We had planned on trying to catch two of our families we have been unable to meet on the way home from the meeting but even the Elders were too tired to try and find them.
We spent a lot of time cooking this week as we have had several sisters ill in one way or another. I love to cook so it gives me a good opportunity to make the food and have a little for us and lots to share. I make a lot of breads but this was actual meals instead. Our good friend Carolyn is having a major flare-up of her MS and doesn't feel like cooking but needs to eat so I love being able to help her out in that way. Because she is on steroids which compromise her immune system we are two of the four people who are allowed to go see her so we get to visit.
Evan had the opportunity to give another blessing this past week to another less active sister. This sister is down to weighing 98 pounds but is still as feisty as ever. She has always been small but with her illnesses has lost even more. I took zucchini bread over the night we gave her the blessing and then took food over the next day when I went with her visiting teacher to visit her. She said she had already gained 2 pounds from the zucchini bread which wouldn’t surprise me as it is so rich and you can’t quit eating it. She is as feisty as ever even though she has been ill.
On Saturday we spent five hours helping the Branch President and his wife with the house they are still fixing up. We got two more rooms painted with two coats each. We are getting to where we can see the end of this massive project. Basically the living room and landing are the only projects left for us. Then they will decide what to do with the floors and put the carpet down on the spots where they go. I really enjoy the change of pace that doing this service gives us. It is such a relief to not be so out of my comfort zone trying to meet people. We both came home tired from using muscles we don’t use enough and it was raining again so we had a quiet evening at home.
We had a combined 5thSunday and the Elders talked about how the branch worked so hard getting people to come to church when they were trying to get their new building and had to have the numbers and what made the difference now that they didn’t need those extra numbers. There was a lot of discussion but I don’t know if it made much difference. Some of the people have a good reason for not going out and inviting others to come to church but most of the branch just doesn’t take the time to visit the less active and encourage them to come back. The attitude is that “we have visited them once and it didn’t make any difference” or “you can’t hold their hand all the time”. I know some of the people feel this way because it is their own families who are less active and they do keep trying. We won’t give up on these people. Not the actives or less actives. I have certainly seen that it really does take learning to love the people before you can make any difference.
This seemed like a slower week as far as visits but again we check our little book and see that for the month we visited 36 families just two less than last month and with the number of phone conversations we had with some of the less actives it still turned out to be a busy month.
The pictures are of the tobacco harvest which is taking place right now. We noticed the sheds starting to have the tobacco hanging so stopped to take pictures. Since we did the sheds are even more full. We want to try and see them actually harvesting the tobacco but so far haven't been there at the right time. The 1st picture is of one of the sheds with the hanging tobacco. There are 8 sheds in all. The 2nd picture is an outside view of the hanging. The third is just of some of the buildings. 4th is part of the field and 5th is one of the long buildings which is now nearly full of tobacco. We learned that tobacco is grown on this field every year and once you plant tobacco in a field that is all you can plant there. Also we were told that it is interesting to watch it be planted because it is tiny plants and not seeds that are planted. We will have to watch for that next spring.