Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jan. 10, 2011

Who would ever think that Swahili would be a language needed in New England?

Our two companionships of elders in Manchester, New Hampshire found two families who spoke only halting English but who wanted to be taught in their native language Swahili. In the next week, we were sent two sisters from Temple Square, both unexpectedly and without any prior information, Sister Han and Sister Amuli. Sister Han from Main Land China is going tomorrow to teach a couple in Burlington, Vermont who speaks little English and principally Mandarin and Sister Amuli from Kenya who incidentally is freezing in our weather speaks English fluently, two dialects and of course her native language, Swahili. She and her companion are now teaching the gospel in Swahili.

What is the common phrase here, the one that missionaries dread most? I’m all set aka Leave me alone. I’m good to go.

Who is this wonderful office couple? Yes, it’s Elder Nick and Sister Jean Franklin from Lehi. And without them, we are toast! They not only love missionaries, teach with them, look after them, they also manage all their mail, finance cards, apartment concerns, and multitudinous daily operations of the Mission Office. That’s only the tip of the iceberg of their responsibilities. Yes, they always smile, make the office a fun place (marshmallows projected by a pvc pipe gizmo included ) and are constantly helping us.

How cold is it in New England? Uncharacteristically warmer so we’re told. So far, that is. In Bedford, the snow hasn’t accumulated but in Dover Foxcroft, Maine in the far north near Moosehead Lake, there are piles of snow three feet high. It was 16 degrees Fahrenheit in St. Albans, Vermont which is on the Canadian border. Ice sculptures form as water trickles off the many rocky cliffs story. (P.S. 12 inches of snow today January 12, 2-4 inches an hour)

What was the theme of the December 28-29th Leadership Training? Unifying with Members? Maybe this illustration of the rope ‘trick’ wasn’t exactly what the president had visualized as unifying but it sure did give the missionaries a good break from the intense day and a half of workshops, practices, panel discussion, more practices, DVD clips and more practices. We love the people of New England northeast!

What is a fluffer nutter sandwich? And why would anyone want to eat one when the branch president (That’s him, Pres. Harmon with the other ‘only perfect haircut,’ the owner and chief cook at Phil’s Fudge.) is offering some of his fudge that he has been making and successfully marketing for 24 years? A fluffer nutter is a peanut butter sandwich made with fluff which is much like marshmallow cream.

Does he still do magic tricks? The same ones? Yes. (At least Jackson thinks Grandpa’s magic tricks are great. Just ask Blain.) This time President Wilkey introduced a fireside for young men and women with yet another magic trick but emphasized that magic is not ‘real,’ just illusion but that miracles (a response to faith and prayer, the acts of One who is almighty, the natural results of the Messiah’s presence among men -see the Bible Dictionary, p. 732-3) are real and they happen daily in the mission, a consequence of the faith, prayers and hard work of missionaries and members who seek to bring the Messiah’s presence into the lives of others. (P.S. Have you been on Mormon.org? Have you given your ‘profile?’)

Who are these people with President? They are Bill and Judy Noury, mother and son. He baptized his mother on January 8th just three months after his own baptism. She is in awe of the miraculous changes in him and in her outlook on life and hope for the future. Both reflect peace and joy the gospel brings.

What did we do on Christmas night? It was a happy evening with nine missionaries, two young men, these two sisters and a family. We ended the evening with the family who is investigating the Church, singing and reading from the Christmas story. Elders Urrietta (5 foot 4) and Dahl (6 foot 4) stand with two sisters on the stairway in our home. Notice the Christmas socks!

Big dog or small missionary? Both. Short missionary long on love for dogs as well as people.

Whose shoes? A missionary so busy, so completely dedicated to being the feet that bringeth glad tidings that he had no time to find new but less used shoes at Goodwill industries.

What Key ? Sister Wilkey accompanied the children in Primary singing time, no advanced notice, no practice. Why did she ever stop piano lessons from Janae?

How many ZZZZZZZZ ’s are there in LTPz?! An LTP is a letter to the president which is received and responded to via internet. President was reading them and responding while sitting on the bed. His head started to bob. He awakened and started to read again. He pressed the key to respond. Several moments later he woke up finger still pressed on the keyboard but this time he had 16 pages of response. Sixteen pages of ZZZZZ’s.