Our apartment in Nutley!

Our apartment in Nutley!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

We Went Walking This Morning

We try to go walking as often as we can in order to provide us with the illusion that we can obtain eternal life through exercise.  When doing so we often encounter other walkers who are pursuing some variation of the same illusion.  We always try to greet such fellow pilgrims with a cheerful, "Good morning!"

Most of the time they return the greeting as we pass, usually with somewhat less enthusiasm.  I think our name tags worry people a little.  Occasionally our salutation is completely ignored.  Oh, I am sure it is not intentional.  They probably just had a death in the family or some equally traumatic event in their life that has soaked up their entire bandwidth of awareness.  Who am I to judge otherwise?  After all, I have been known to focus on a problem or other attractions with such intensity that the world could cease to exist and I would hardly notice.

Once in a great while we encounter someone who wants to talk.  Such was the case today.
He was a very nice man of 63 with full head of silver hair who was out walking his dog which looked like a miniature husky.  Very attractive dog.  Our name tags did not bother him a bit.  In fact, that was what started the conversation.  He said something like, "God bless you for what you do.  I am Roman Catholic, but it's all the same.  Right?  As long as you treat people right it's all the same God.  Right?"

We learned that he was a retired school teacher of special needs children and that his wife is still actively teaching such children.  I will not be surprised to someday learn that people who do that kind of work have a very special place reserved for them in our Father's Kingdom.

As the conversation continued we learned that they have one adult daughter who also works in education and that there are no grandchildren yet.  Our new sidewalk friend said their daughter has a boy friend and he made it abundantly clear, complete with expansive hand gestures (I think he is Italian), that he wishes they would get married and have children before he develops dementia and won't know who they are!

In this kind of situation we really do not enjoy mentioning that we happen to have seven wonderful children and 18 equally amazing grandchildren because it would be a little too much like going, "Nah, Nah, N', Nah, Nah" as we did when we were kids on the playground.  And, we are adults.  Right?

Actually, we kind of know how he might feel.  Many of the senior missionary couples we meet seem anxious to tell us they have 27 children and 3,509 grandchildren and only 75 great-grandchildren, so far.  "Nah, Nah, N', Nah, Nah."

Okay, okay, I am exaggerating a little.  I have never actually heard a senior couple say, "Nah, Nah, N', Nah, Nah."  How did I get this far off subject?

Anyway, as we said goodbye and parted ways I was feeling a little sorry for this very nice Italian gentleman (I think his name is Tony) because his desire for grandchildren is probably a forlorn hope.  Why?  Because all religions are not the same.  Yes, they all teach us to treat people right, but they do not all have the true doctrines of our Heavenly Father which, when coupled with the power of the Holy Ghost, make it much easier to develop the faith necessary to keep the commandments of God when it is very unpopular in our society to do so.  Now, that is a long sentence but it is so true.

So, while we are experiencing joy and rejoicing in our posterity, poor Tony is becoming more and more aware that he and his wife are missing out.  Mercifully, they are not fully aware of the depth or height of that joy and rejoicing.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Photo Of Elder Alforeza That Goes With The Story Below

What Is The Most Rewarding Part Of Being A Senior Missionary?

I can think of several contenders for the answer to that question.  So far I am reluctant to identify one that I would put above the rest.  However, one of those contenders that always comes to mind is the joy, privilege, pleasure, spiritual experience, and all around fun of working with the young Elders and Sisters.  Something happened this Sunday morning (08/31/2014) that reaffirmed that serving with these wonderful young people probably should be at the top of the list.

We received the following text message from Elders Alforeza & Cruz:

            Good morning oh so sweet and loving couple to zone 1 and the Paterson Branch!
            We don't know where we would be without you two!
            All we know is that we will be lost and that we appreciate all your help :)
            <Brazil ~ Saipan>

I think :) is a smiley face, but I am not sure.  Elder Alforeza is from Saipan and Elder Cruz is from Brazil.  I responded:

            Thank you so much!  It is wonderful to be appreciated.

Whereupon they texted back:

            :) youre welcome.  Its much deserved.
            I was just thinking about all the hard work you do for this mission, for us, and the           branch.
            The least I can do is say thank you for all your efforts!
            <Brazil ~ Saipan>

Someone who is a little cynical may be a slightly inclined at this point to think that these missionaries are looking for some major favor.  But, not me.  In fact, I was so touched that my eyes moistened up a bit and I began to wonder how hard it would be to adopt someone from Saipan.  (Note to our children:  Don't worry about your inheritance.  Zero divided by 7, 8 or 9 is still the same.)

If you are feeling under appreciated try serving an MLS (member and leadership support) mission.