Well, yesterday we spent much of our P-day cleaning and straightening up the meeting house -- a nice good-size brick building on the east side of town. But we paid for it later since the air-conditioning wasn't working right and it was 40+ degrees outside !! I know, you say so what -- but that's 40 degrees centigrade which equals 104 degrees farenheit !! So we were dying by the time we got home and spent the rest of the evening sitting in front of the air-conditioner. Ahh, the joys of missionary work.
But before we get too far along here, want to thank you for putting so many great pics on the blog -- starting with Amanda's sweet birthday present -- G's list of 30 things he loves about you. We heard from G and it sounds like things are still very preliminary. But it doesn't really matter what the diagnosis is, we have the priesthood. Then there's Cori's post -- thank you for bringing us up to date, and don't ever feel sheepish about putting stuff on the blog -- that's what it's for. (We were hoping you would get on board pretty soon.) Looks like you're right in the thick of things, with kids going every which direction. Enjoy this time -- it goes fast. And I think Erin must own stock in Disneyland by now !! But why not? -- you only live once. Those were some great shots of the park too -- even if your "hiking" was on a paved walk. Congratulations on your calling too -- it's always fun to work with the youth of the Church, especially when some of those youth are your own kids. And finally, we have Dal trying to teach little Brynn how to put on a game face. I think she's already got it down though -- she just looks totally confident and unimpressed with the competition.
As far as news from our end -- we're really busy trying to put a branch back together and get a new district presidency up to speed. We'd forgotten how much work is involved in running a ward or a branch, but I already have a counselor to help so things are looking up. Just finding leaders for the various organizations is a challenge. And then there's the District (stake) -- we now have a new president who's 31 years old and only been a member of the church a couple of years, but understands the nature of his calling, is teachable and eager to learn. What a difference from the previous guy !! The missionaries in our branch are baptizing up a storm -- we've had a dozen baptisms in the last few weeks, completing 4 families and yielding 6 potential MP holders. So they're not just baptizing women and children, which apparently has been the case down here for years and years. There really needs to be a re-focus on retention and strengthing the local units -- but I guess that's why we're here.
I have to say this has been one of the most challenging experiences that we've ever had. It's hard to describe, but here we are in a totally foreign environment -- foreign language, foreign culture, foreign church in some respects, without many of the conveniences we're used to, no car, no peers, no family near-by, in a city full of litter and clutter, poverty everywhere, oppresive heat, and people who are nice enough but just seem to be "oblivious to the obvious" -- and all this coming on the heels of a wonderful eight year experience in the Graham WA Stake. There's so much here that needs fixing, it's deprssing at times. Those of you who have been on foreign missions understand what we're talking about. Yet we know this is where we're supposed to be. The Lord knows just how to tutor us, so the rendering down and spiritual insights have been invaluable. I guess what it teaches us again is that there is a price for discipleship -- if we would follow Him, we better be ready to wade through whatever. And so Mom and I remind each other almost daily that it's worth the price if it gets us there.
So I'll conclude with that and tell you all again how much we love and respect you. With all these holidays coming up, we are going to miss you for sure, but please put lots of stuff on the blog and we'll enjoy the times together that way this year.
XOS, love you, love you, kiss, hug,
Dad and Mom/G-pa and G-ma