Week 29, What a Full Week That One Was – Wowsers.
Note: Sorry this is another long one. Now we know that most people just “Like” the cute photo of my Honey and don’t bother with my ramblings and that is OK. We just hope that you are well. 😊
Sunday started out with the usual spiritual love-fest with our beloved Recruits. We had 59 this week, of whom 20 identified themselves as LDS. Interestingly we had three female Recruits who subsequently met with the Missionaries to learn more about the Church, who had identified themselves as LDS, but who have never been baptized. I am now not sure as to how many “real” members we have in attendance.
Emma’s lesson was on Chastity. Both she and the Missionaries in attendance thought it went well, that the Recruits were attentive and paying attention. One Recruit mentioned that his pastor told him, that if you are thinking of sleeping with some young woman who is not your wife, she is going to be someone else’s wife, so how would you like it if the table was turned? That comment gave everyone something to think about.Sunday started out with the usual spiritual love-fest with our beloved Recruits. We had 59 this week, of whom 20 identified themselves as LDS. Interestingly we had three female Recruits who subsequently met with the Missionaries to learn more about the Church, who identified themselves as LDS. I am now not sure as to how many “real” members we have in attendance.
While Emma was teaching her lesson, I met with a companionship of Elders teaching three female Recruits. They have been coming to our services for a few weeks. Two expressed interest in baptism right off the bat, the third became interested because of the other two. All three of them have been dealing with health issues, one very long term, while one of the others goes back into training shortly. The one with the long-term problem, I ran into at the Naval Hospital a couple weeks ago. The Chaplain there noticed her copy of the Book of Mormon and thought she was a member who could use a visit. She did indeed. When I got to her room, we talked for a bit. I asked if she would like a Priesthood Blessing and she said yes, she would. One was given.
Now fast-forward to Sunday and our discussion. As we discussed the Restoration of the Church, to include the Priesthood, I mentioned to her that it was that Priesthood that allowed me to give her a blessing. At this, she told her friend and all of us, how that blessing helped her in dealing with the anxieties and fears that had been troubling her and the peace that it brought to her. It was a cool moment with a strong dose of the Spirit attached.
Interestingly, two male Recruits with whom we met last week, when they heard that Emma’s topic was Chastity, decided they wanted to stay and hear what she had to say.
Later Sunday, we had our next-door neighbors, the Fry’s, over for dinner. We had gone out for dinner with them the Monday before, as their way of thanking me to looking after their cat while they were traveling. As we talked over dinner that night Emma decided that she and John Fry had to be related, there were way too many similarities. So, she invited them to our house Sunday for dinner and a Family History lesson with Liz Irvine. NOTE Emma INVITED them to come on a Sunday. They came, we talked and had fun, Liz wasn’t able to make it, but they did some Family History on www.FamilySearch.org. Interestingly, we thought they would love steak fingers, but we suspect, not so much. Who would have thought? We thought they tasted pretty good. Anyway, there is supposed to be a Ward Cinco de Mayo activity on Saturday that they sounded interested in attending, so we will see. We just won’t feed’em steak fingers. 😉
We started out the week with District apartment inspections and then as usual with District Training. Early on in our Mission, Emma would sometimes whine a bit, “Do I have to go? I’m the only woman there and don’t feel comfortable.” That is a complaint I haven’t heard in a while. Now she is a full-fledged participant, with many pertinent comments and inputs. Sometimes, she is talking more than me. The beauty of these training meetings is the quality of the training provided by these young Elders. Week after week, I am impressed, as we repeatedly find new nuggets of gold in Preach My Gospel. The Mission President has asked all of the Missionaries to get into Preach My Gospel every day, and I admit I haven’t been doing so, in part because I am not a proselyting Missionary, but after some recent experiences, I have decided to repent. More on this later.
After our training, the District went out for traditional Southern Cooking, at Sgt. White’s Diner, in the middle of a true monsoon rain. We were soaked just getting from the car to the diner and back again. But the food was great.
That evening, as mentioned, we went out to dinner with the Frys. Despite the fact that Emma is cooking far more than ever before, she is also going out to eat more.
Tuesday, we had our Backpack Buddies project for the last time this school year. Because of some changes – Bishop Morgan was out of town, the Food Bank changed how we could receive the food pallets, etc. I found myself in charge of coordinating the set up. I got a couple of Marines from the Air Station and a Corpsman from the Hospital to help and we got things in place. That night folks showed up and in a little over an hour, we had packed close to 2000 bags of kid-friendly food to go home with food challenged youngsters.
In addition, that afternoon I also got some incredibly boring training at the Naval Hospital, pertaining to an ancient software system I will be using while volunteering in Patient Admin. The lady doing the training was great, but this is a DOS program that was old 15 years ago.
Wednesday we had more apartment inspections, this time in Savannah, in addition to an interview with our Mission President and his wife. I have said it before and will say it again, how we love those good people and are grateful we get to serve with them and under their direction.
Thursday was our regular Family Day recognition ceremony. We only had one newly graduating Marine in attendance and he got there early. But he had a great story to tell:
He said that when he came to Boot Camp, he was NOT in a good place spiritually, but came to the LDS services anyway. He was sitting in the back row, asking those key existential questions that hit so many Recruits: 1) What the heck am I doing here? 2) Why am I even here? 3) How am I going to survive? 4) How can I get out of here? With those thoughts going through his mind, he said a little prayer, and opened his Book of Mormon to Alma 62: 10. When he did, and read how Captain Moroni was dealing with dissenters, he then thought about how his Drill Instructor had told his platoon that the key to success at MCRD and the Marine Corps, was to “Conform or Die (not literally at MCRD, but potentially literally on the battlefield), he then laughed and realized that the Lord was mindful of him and he knew what he needed to do. Over time, as he came to our services, his countenance changed markedly, he began to assist with the Sacrament, and now a Graduated Marine, he’s a very happy, talkative, and confident young Marine ready to take his place in both the Marine Corps and the Church. His parents gratefully acknowledged his spiritual condition on arrival at Boot Camp and the positive changes since then.
Friday, we had the last of our apartment inspections (9 total) for this transfer. The Missionaries have come to know what to expect from us and they really do a good job. The fact that Emma always has some sort of treat probably doesn’t hurt either. 😉
There was supposed to be a discussion that evening with Megan (see last week), but she was unable to have us come to her house, so the Elders set up a virtual discussion via Facebook messenger/chat. They were able to answer her questions and left her with a continued good feeling about moving forward. The Elders said that, “in her prayer she thanked God for putting us in her life, for being patient with her and asked for help to continue on the path to Him.”
OK, now my need for repentance and Preach My Gospel. One of my repeated prayers is to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord in sharing the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have had three or four recent experiences in sharing pass along cards with people with whom I have had conversations, sometimes in parking lots of all places. They were nice conversations and the people I talked with seemed genuinely appreciative of the information I shared. That is nice, as President Nelson would say of us when we say we have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but it is not enough, and I feel I need to do so much more. I have the resources in Preach My Gospel, but they are of NO use if I don’t study and learn so that when those situations arise, I am better prepared and thus more useful to the Lord. I like Joshua’s words to the people in Joshua 3: 5, wherein he said, “Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Maybe I am being presumptuous, but I also like the language in D&C 11: 21
21 Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.
On a side note, when I work out, I have been listening to President Nelson’s General Conference talks from when he was first called as an Apostle to the present. That is a powerful experience in and of itself, especially when combined with President Oaks recent article/description of this great man, who is now our Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and President of the Church.
This coming week shouldn’t be quite as busy as this last one. Emma and I get to go on a ministering visit Tuesday evening to the Maxwell’s who we first met a month ago.
Emma held up very well last week, even with all that we had on our plate. She finally got into her “Mission Project.” She is going through all of our letters that we have written over the years to each other, when I have been deployed or otherwise away from home. She is enjoying seeing the growth she experienced over time and the expressions of love we have for each other. She says that she is so glad, that she was not the “whiney witch on the third deployment that she was on the first. By the time of our last deployment, when I was a squadron commander, she was a loving mentor and mother figure to many of the young wives, much like she is now a loving grandmother to our Recruits and Missionaries. 😊
Life is good.