Okay, you are going to think all we do on a mission is have fun and you would be right! It was fun spending all day on each of our first two full days with about 86 young Sisters and Elders as they were being trained on how to be effective missionaries. It was fun on our third day (Saturday) to go with most of the senior missionaries on a trip to the Museum of Natural History in downtown New York City. And, it was fun attending church for the first time in the branch where we have been assigned.
The thing that made all of these activities fun was the people we were privileged to be with. Participating with those young Elders and Sisters as they worked together to become more powerful servants of the Lord filled us with many feelings, including hope for the future and a strong witness of the Spirit that this is the work of the Lord. Those two days were essentially one giant spiritual experience that left us with feelings of peace, love and joy. We were also exhausted.
We had similar feelings as we associated with other senior missionaries on our trip to NYC. Here are people who are truly "the salt of the earth." That means you could instantly trust any of them with your most precious possessions, including your life. They all know that we are indeed children of our Heavenly Father and therefore their goal is to seek the interest of their brothers and sisters. We instantly felt welcomed and loved! Their diversity of experience in life was amazing. There was a sugar beet farmer, a city manager, a medical doctor (87 years old!), educators, a nurse, and more. But, they all recognized their most important work was as fathers and mothers or would be as such in the life to come. If heaven means being with people like these then where do we sign up? Oh, that's right, we already did when we were baptized. Now all we have to do is endure to the end. I think we have some motivation to do that.
We attended church today in the Paterson 2nd Branch which is one of three branches in the Paterson District. When we walked in we were almost immediately surrounded by six young sister missionaries and two Elders who are currently serving in the branch. It was like we had suddenly acquired eight new grandchildren and that is exactly how we plan on treating them. Sister Shaw has the cookie recipes all ready to go and I promised to help. The members of this branch are from all over the world and that is no exaggeration. We again had feelings of hope for the future as we watched these people from such different backgrounds rub shoulders and work together to learn and practice the gospel of Jesus Christ which will bring them closer and closer together.
There is no doubt. We are having fun!