Monday June 16, 2008
Today, Monday, we began our office training at 8 am with a general intro to computers and to MS Word in the morning and the Church's MOS (missionary office system for tracking the missionaries and their activity) and Excel in the afternoon. It is pretty elementary for me, but Cindy is finding it very new. She is doing really well for someone who hates computers. and she'll be fine after a few months of experience. It is a different kind of thinking than she is used to.
After dinner we had our first Russian lesson of the week and worked on the alphabet and reading simple English words in the Russian lettering. This is really hard for me to learn a whole new set of sound symbols. I have a pretty good ear, but a so-so memory. I guess the Lord will have to fill in where the gray-matter is missing.
Tonight I decided that I needed a slightly smaller suitcase. Each of our bags was at 70 lbs. coming here and we (Cindy) have bought more stuff (shoes, etc.) and I need to "lighten-the-ship" and leave some stuff home. I called Trisha's house on the SKYPE system and asked her to check on Ross' closing time in Orem because they have some inexpensive luggage that might work for me. She found that they closed at 9:30 and it was already 8:20, but she jumped in the car and came to take us to Ross. We found a suitable suitcase (pardon the pun) and I forgot to take a picture in the store so I took one in the Baskin Robbins parking lot with her and the suitcasse, which brings me to our next nice experience tonight.
Cindy started this whole thing while I was on the "phone" with Trisha by saying that she wanted her to come and take us for an ice cream cone. Well, after getting the luggage, we stopped at her house to get a piece of ribbon to tie on it for identification and then headed to Baskin Robbins on the way back to the MTC. On the way she mentioned that she needed some electric clippers to help her elderly neighbor. who was also a member of her ward. We asked why and this was the story.
She was touched Sunday by a sister's talk that mentioned how she had been in the ward (congregation) for over 6 months and no one talked to her. She was feeling very lonely and sad and prayed for someone to be nice to her. The next day her Visiting Teacher (a woman who is supposed to visit her once a month) called wanting to get to know her and made an appointment to come by. She said that now she had someone who talked to her and be a friend and how important that was to her.
Trisha identified with the lonely sister because she spent many lonely months in that ward before someone talked to her. This evening, as she drove off to pick us up, she realized that she had seen the same old man in his front yard watering or doing something else many times as she passed several times a day and she would wave, but she never stopped to say hello. Tonight, she stopped and asked him how he was and he said, "Not too good." She asked how she could help and he said that he could do most things still but could not do the trimming with the hand clippers he had. She responded with love and compassion for this lonely old man by saying that she would see that his trimming was done.
Now she needed some tools and some muscle and was going to talked to someone in the Elders Quorum to find some electric clipper. Cindy suggested that instead of doing it all herself that she report the need to the Elders President and get a work party over there for an hour and do it right, and I think she'll do it. What a nice person she is and how wonderful to be moved by one person's story to help another person with the same need. We have good kids.
The final nice thing of the evening was our stop at Baskin Robbins. As we entered (me in my suit and name tag) people noticed, but said nothing. As I stood at the counter reviewing the 31 flavors a man standing next to me turned and said, "Are you serving a mission here?" I told him we were at the MTC and going to Russia. He pulled a $20 bill out of his pocket and handing it to me said, "We want to buy your ice cream." I said that it was not necessary, but he replied, referring to the (about) ten year old boy next to him, "We take care of the missionaries. Please let us buy your ice cream." I accepted his money and thanked him and the boy that I presumed was his son. I asked if he lived in Provo and he said that they were from Las Vegas and were here for a basketball camp at BYU.
I thanked him again as they left with their ice cream and I reflected on what a powerful lesson that father had just taught his son about honoring missionaries, about being a missionary, about their duty to serve those who serve the Lord, and about being a man. I didn't need the ice cream or the money, but that boy will not soon forget what his dad did to honor a servant of the Lord. We all talked about it on the way back to the MTC and reflected on the goodness around us in a world that often seems harsh and uncaring. There is much love being shared with ordinary people by ordinary people. That is Jesus' way isn't it.