Monday, June 16, 2008

“The Lamanites were mean to the Nephites, but they loved them anyway.”

Quote from little 5-yr old visitor. He and his little bro were totally the highlights of my day! I’d just finished explaining to him a quote from John Taylor telling the Church members “we will suffer wrong rather than do wrong.” I was trying to explain what that meant to him and then he piped up with that insightful comment, so I guess he definitely understood the lesson. I seriously almost cried. It was so sweet.

If any of you pay more attention to the news than I ever did, you may know there’s some flooding around here. In fact, you probably know more about it than I do. Apparently it’s pretty bad. Here’s what I know…up the river in Cedar Rapids and stuff it’s ridiculous flooding. Here all the river towns are sandbagging. The river is WAY up and should crest by mid-week (I’m learning a little about how rivers and floods work, you see.) We actually got a chance to go to Niota (a teeny, tiny town about 15 miles away) and sandbag for a couple hours. Most of the missionaries have made time to go out there, including the BYU performers who were here for a couple weeks, and even some visitors. It was really good to spend time outside doing some manual labor and mostly really good to help out in the community and get to know some people.

Nauvoo’s safe for now because apparently it’s a slightly higher elevation. The only thing in danger right now are the Community of Christ sites like the Nauvoo House but the Church has been over there a ton helping and things are ok for now. They’re even still open for tours. There was a storm in Carthage and some damage was done but it was fairly minimal and they’re business as usual today. The weather itself is actually quite pleasant. We even got sunburned out sandbagging. So things are fine. I’m praying all the people in the towns are ok but as far as the flooding, it seems like it’s a really good chance to serve!

Not much news. Sis Rancie and I are staying together. We’re moving to the other littler house in Nauvoo. Our p-day will still be Monday. We may stay together for a long time because President wants us together to be working on the pageant. So that means she’s my second-longest comp so far! In light of that, I thought it appropriate to tell a little more about her.

She’s from Melbourne, Australia, which you already knew. This means I get to translate for her when people can’t tell what she’s saying. I also get to learn cool phrases like, “no, I can’t be bothered” for “I don’t feel like it.” She’s a total powerhouse and loves to work. We have tons of fun together. She’s 5’ 1” so we get to share lots of clothes but she’s also skinny as a rail so, you know how that goes… She told me the other day that I’m the only person she’s ever met who’s worse in the kitchen than she is—so that gives you an idea of our combined homemaking skills. Last night she suggested that with our p-day we spend some time baking. I looked at her like it was the dumbest thing she’s ever said and couldn’t figure out why she was so excited…until we realized the language barrier had struck again and she really was suggesting we lay out in the sun. Ha! She has 5 siblings and they’re all around her age. In fact, two of her sisters were on their missions at the same time as her. Cool, huh? She came out the transfer right after me so we’re both going home in December. She served her outbound assignment in the Sacramento Mission and she’s, of course, filling my mind with grand plans to go play in Australia. We have almost identical “deciding to go on missions” stories (meaning several years of prayers and indecisions). She’s a champ!

This summer we’re able to spend a little more time getting to know the YPMs (the performing missionaries who come out for 4 months.) they’re total champs. The other day one of them opened their mission call (they’re church service missionaries who serve at ages 18 and up so some of them get their full-time mission calls out here if they haven’t already served.) Anyway, one of them opened his call the other day. We do it in the 70’s Hall cause that’s the building they used here to train the missionaries back in the day before they went out. It’s just such an amazing spirit as mission calls are opened. This was particularly powerful though because the entire room was full of missionaries. There wasn’t a single person in there without a badge on. He got called to a Brazil mission (one that he actually totally had predicted, cool). The coolest though was being in the room with all them and singing Called to Serve and then I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go. It was cool to be able to look around and see 50 other kids or amazing adults who’d decided to spend so much of their time serving the Lord. The last verse the kid sang it as a solo (at first I was all nervous for him before I remembered that’s what he does all day. Ha!) and it just really hit me that it’s a matter of personal dedication between you and the Lord. That’s what all missionary work is—a sincere willingness to do what He’s asked. So if you get a chance, I recommend reading through that last verse and really likening it to yourself and then thinking about that throughout the day in matters of obedience…asking ourselves “how willing am I to do the Lord’s work?”

Thanks for all of you and your examples. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by such solid family members and friends. Love you guys!

Love, Sis C

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