Sunday, November 17, 2013

Where have all the Mormons gone?

It's Sunday evening here, Nov. 17th, 2013. We've had four weeks of really poor attendance at Church and it's hard to know for sure what to blame it on. Basically, as I'm sure I've mentioned, we have two families who are the bulwark of our tiny branch, and when they don't come, we take a really bit hit. One family, the Walshes, consist of mom, dad, three teen sons, and a 21-year-old daughter. The father in this family provides the ride for another, bigger family - the Campbells - who have seven active members, but no driver. The daughter in the Walsh family drives the Walsh family because Mom is blind. So, anyway, the Walshes for one reason or another have been absent for four weeks and will be absent for another two, at least. And no Walshes equals no Campbells which equals poor attendance. The last three weeks we've had 17, 15, and 23. It's just sad. And Satan would love us to be discouraged. For that reason alone, we refuse to be.

Let's see if I can find something happier to talk about. One funny thing that happened is that one night the elders were in the midst of "exchanges" when they found themselves locked out of their flat. We considered the options and they came to the conclusion that there was really no choice but to let them sleep at our apartment. So here are Elder Holum (a zone leader) and Elder Wightman, one of our pair of regular missionaries. They were obviously grateful for the housing! And elders are always a joy to be around, so we didn't mind a bit!
We've had some wonderful activities with the youth and YSA in our branch. One of them was a pumpkin carving party. Pumpkins in Ireland are a bit of a rarity, but we were able to locate some in a store here. We went online and found a few patterns that we thought would be appropriate (the character "Sonic" was a big hit with a 12-year-old named Harry). And then we prepared the pumpkins for carving by cutting the bottoms off and then cleaning them out. The youth thought we were pretty clever to think of cutting the bottoms off, rather than the tops, once they understood how much easier it is to light them that way. Here are some pictures from the activity:
(Notice the pumpkin on the far right - Laura, the girl on the left above, carved different faces on each side, so the other side of her pumpkin is reflected in the window. We thought it was a great effect and wished that we had thought to do them all that way!)
Great smile - lousy picture. Oh, well.
Jumping right from Halloween to Christmas ... this is a decoration that was demonstrated for us at a Relief Society Conference which was held in the Finglas Stake Center in Dublin. (Finglas rhymes with ring-glass.) For me it was one of the best days here. I was absolutely surrounded by Relief Society sisters. I think there were something like 90 of them there, and I really think I may have written about this before. But it's worth a second mention anyway because it meant that much to me.
This is obviously a picture of a rainbow. We were looking out our front window to the northwest as this beauty formed. I actually took six pictures of it, but this was the last and best. We've seen at least four rainbows here, the last one was a double and we could see the whole arch - really amazing.

Okay, one quick last thing: we had a mug-painting activity with the youth last Tuesday and, again, it was great fun. There are five or six youth who come each time and I didn't get any close-ups of the finished products, but here we are hard at work:
Until next time, I remain tired but humble Sister Walker