Poughkeepsie, New York. Lovingly termed “the Poke” by missionaries.
It sure does rain a lot up here. We have had rain on and off and on for quite some time. I wonder if the whole summer is like this…? It’s cool–so green and so beautiful. And no wonder! The trees and plants are under constant mist. We cover all of Dutchess County, and so we drive a lot. Out in the boonies, in little towns, in agriculture and fields and little neighborhoods where I imagine the kids have a BLAST exploring and jumping and playing all the time. It’s really something.
A lot of the ward members have chickens, and so it’s fun to see everyone at church with their egg cartons and giving them to others. They are also really good and charitable with giving rides and filling in gaps and needs of other members. And both wards are in English–that is so weird to me. We translate in the first ward, and boy, that was something! Ha. Talk about stressful–especially because we had quite a few Spanish investigators there, and they really are depending on you to get the spiritual nourishment they need–the direction and messages prepared for them on the sabbath day.
I had a neat experience as I translated–it came time to be the sacrament and as a young man knelt and said the prayer, I opened up to Moroni and read the sacrament prayer. I’ve never done that–and said it out loud like that DURING the prayer. It was a sweet experience for me…..I can’t even put my finger on why. I wasn’t using the priesthood to break and bless the sacrament, but I felt like I was a part of it. It was tender for me.
Other than that, it’s mostly been running around and me trying hard to get to know the people and who is in what ward and names and learning how to teach in English. Ha!
Yesterday we met President and Sister Smith and their kids. What a beautiful family they are–so united, so willing, so ready and excited to serve and give and grow. I drew great strength from them in meeting them. It’s been kind of a weird week, to be honest. I’ve felt a lack of direction and aim, generally speaking. I think, with transfers, that can come. But also the switch of a mission president–just a sense of unknown, I guess. Yesterday was beautiful–to get to know them and to see their desires to serve and lead and honor their call. I found great strength and assurance in that. President Smith is an Ironman, and high-energy and fun-loving and hilarious. Very charismatic and funny, outgoing, and so very kind. He has a very bright light in his eyes–he reminds me A LOT of Brendan. Very much so. His wife told us how last week they were at a park and she was talking with the kids or something, and they lost their dad. They backtracked a little and found him embracing a homeless man after some change had been given, and words of love and encouragement had been exchanged. I imagine the words on that man’s lips being “God bless you.” To any of you who personally know Brendan, you SURELY know and can label him as “that guy.” He is and always has been the one we’d lose, and find embracing a homeless man, pulled over to help, stopping to be a part/all of the rescue.
My heart is full.
1 Nephi 1:20 has touched my heart this week–how merciful is our Lord. How He loves us and lifts us in all aspects of our lives–callings and troubles and successes and errors and re-tries. I love Him.
Have an excellent week!