I'm actually posting this page on June 28, but while we were trying to get our Internet to work, I wrote the following page:
Sunday, June 23, 2013
It’s been a week of busy-ness and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit and write a bit about it.
We hit the ground running on our mission … to a baptism of fire, as we were involved in a zone meeting one hour after landing at Dublin Airport. But before that baptism of fire, we first had to meet a very unfriendly lady at the airport entry. She took a look at our passports and (United Kingdom) visas and asked what we were doing in Ireland. We told her we were here to serve a one year mission for our church. “What! You can’t do that!”, she said. “You have a UK visa which is no good here. Didn’t they tell you that?”
“Actually, we questioned it, but they assured us that the UK visa was the one we needed. Is there a visa for Ireland?”
“Oh, no. There’s no visa needed for Ireland (but we for sure can’t use our UK visas!!). How much are they paying you to serve this mission?”
“Nothing,” we replied. “We’re paying our own way.”
“Well, how long did it take to you save up for this?”
“Oh, several years.”
Where are you going to live?”
“We’re being sent to Sligo.” (She got a big kick out of this.)
“It’s just your luck they’d send you someplace like Sligo! Well, it just won’t do. You can’t just come in here and say you’re going to live in Ireland for a year and serve a mission. Doesn’t your church know this?”
“I’ll tell you what I’ll do” (we could tell she was softening a wee bit),” I’ll let you stay for three months” (and she so noted it in our passports). And thus we entered our field of service.
Following the dramatic entrance to the country, we went to the zone meeting and bore our testimonies, then moved on to an incredibly okay luncheon, followed by receiving keys to our not-quite-new Opel Mariva or something like that. We hopped in with the two missionaries who had taken the train from Sligo to meet us (Elder Walker - yes, you read that right – and Elder Donaldson.) (We have since seen Elder Walker’s pedigree and do not think we’re related.)
When we got to Sligo, they showed us around our new “flat” (which is very nice, but has a few problems – one being that we can’t connect to the Internet!). It’s very clean and seems to be quite new. We love kneeling on the hard tiles each morning and night (not!). Then we took the elders home and came back to our flat. Fortunately, we didn’t collapse right away, so that has helped with the jet lag.
So that was Tuesday.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday all rather blur together. During these days we have set up housekeeping, been to several stores around the city, taken a trip to another town – Mullingar – by ourselves, with our not-so-trusty GPS at hand telling us to turn left and right here and there when it was never appropriate. (Sigh.) We did finally get to Mullingar after two and a half hours, rather than the proscribed two hours. We met again Elders Oman and Barney (whom we had first met in the zone meeting) there in Mullingar and did a flat check – which is a matter of seeing how tidy they keep things and had nothing to do with looking at tires …if you follow where I have drifted. J
We’ve gone on visit with the elders here in Sligo and have met a Nigerian man who lives with a woman and has been investigating the church for quite a while. He was very interesting and obviously had studied religion a great deal. At one point I made the observation to him the perhaps it was time to do less reading and researching and actually get on his knees to ask Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true and if, as he had been taught, Joseph Smith was a prophet. He seemed agreeable to the idea, but at the same time I sense that he’s holding back. In truth I think Jamie, his girlfriend, was actually taking in more than Francis was, even though Francis was doing a great deal of talking. I look forward to meeting with them again and seeing if Francis and James actually have followed through on asking for an answer to their prayer.
Another interesting man we met is named Ed. Ed is probably 50-something because his mother, whom he is caring for is 85. Ed has many problems and sometimes tries to treat them with alcohol. When we met with him he was just coming off a one-week binge and willingly admitted it. I think he knows it’s not the answer, but he gets frustrating with his pain and so gives into the drink. Ed is a regular Saturday visit for the elders and he always provides them with something to eat. I find that very touching and, as with Francis and Jamie, look forward to meeting Ed again.
Well, it’s getting late and we’ve have another visit lined up in the morning, so I’m going to end here. I know that Elder Walker (Senior) and I are in the right place doing the right thing and it’s a great source of joy to both of us.
Take care! Sister Walker