Saturday, September 28, 2013

Things have changed

I haven't made an entry in this blog since September 16, when Elder Walker the Younger left and went to Limerick. His replacement is an Elder Wightman from Rexburg, Idaho - second of seven children born within eight years. His mother must be Iron Woman. He's a wonderful, enthusiastic young man who, until this time, had never worked with senior couples. I think we make him nervous or he just doesn't quite know what to do with us. When we saw him last night with Elder Barney we found out he had been very sick for two days. If we had known, we could maybe have helped, but we don't want to be intrusive by calling them frequently so ... well, we just didn't know. But last night, at our September Birthdays Party he was there and beginning to feel better. He's a very reserved young man, so now we have two reserved missionaries. But they get along great and are making headway with their work. They were unhappy that they had had five cancellations of appointments during the week and then Elder Wightman's illness didn't help anything. He says he rarely gets sick - maybe once a year - and this is the first time he's been sick on his mission (he's been out since January).

Here are some pictures from our September birthday party. It was a lot of "craic" (Gaelic for "fun").

Steve and Stephanie Walsh, Lewis Walsh, Stephanie Campbell; the Walshes and Campbells make up the bulk of the branch.

Lenny Campbell is the boy in the middle. He's been in foster care most of his life, but now has been restored to his family and hopefully will be baptized soon.

Two lovely ladies who are sisters to one another and who attended our part with their brother. All three of these people have vacation homes in Sligo and live in the U.S.

My companion and I came up with a good use of time on Friday: we drove around to Sligo, Manorhamilton, and Bundoran to place Books of Mormon in each of their public libraries. We were pleasantly surprised at how willing they all were to accept them and assured us that they would be placed on the shelves. We plan to do more of this this coming week. It's kind of a slick way to get in some sight-seeing while actually doing missionary work. ;)

I keep forgetting to share what I'm learning about Irish culture and language. Let's see if I can remember a few of the new words we have learned while here: a grocery cart is a trolley; a trash can liner is a bin bag (I may have told you that one before); when asked to bring food to a pot luck dinner, it is called bringing "savory and sweet" - meaning a main course and a dessert; they say "yeah, yeah, yeah" a lot; lovely and brilliant are commonly used adjectives; at retail stores cashiers say "now" at the beginning of the transaction and then they say "now" + the amount due at the end.

When we came on our mission we were told we would be "MLS" missionaries, which means Member and Leader Support. It's a wonderful concept, but doesn't provide enough to fill up the time, so Elder Walker and I have been trying to find additional things to do. We are currently, under the auspices of the mission president, trying to pull together a country-wide conference (which sounds huge, but it's only seven couples) to discuss different things that people are doing on their missions to provide the MLS we've been asked to give. Richard is terrific at coming up with ideas, and I have suggested a few myself. But, as I said, it's just not enough. We're hoping that we can make the conference happen - either in Dublin or Belfast - and when we return from our mission we plan to approach the Powers That Be in the Provo Mission Home to suggest that they give MLS missionaries some additional training in what they will be doing in the mission field. The training that we received in the MTC was basically just role playing, which really is not applicable to us except when we are called upon to joint teach with the junior missionaries.

Well, I think I've rattled on long enough for now. I hope all is well with all of you. We miss you very much and, it's true, we're out of our comfort zone - even though Ireland is mighty beautiful when it's not covered with clouds and fog. We've been told that in the winter there are only six hours of daylight. Wow, I'm really looking forward to that! Not!

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