You can tell Spring is here, because Elder Meese is out hanging little 'bird treats' in the trees hoping to see some feathered visitors outside his study window! By the way, yes this is a wonderfully large 'garden' (as they call their yard) for this area. Maybe we can have a YSA summer gathering out there!
We had 'specialised training' today at the chapel, which means the zone (about 38 of us) gathers to be taught by the assistants and zone leaders while President Preston conducts personal interviews in the bishop's office. (my spell-check talked me into the 's' in specialised...it now thinks I'm British) Here are some moments from the gathering:
Remember those sweet Russian Elders I mentioned some weeks back? Well I couldn't believe how much Elder Yasvynskii's English had improved! He said he was even able to tell a man about the 'Church of Jesus Christ' by himself! When I saw them singing away in their English hymnal today, I had to capture it. The gift of tongues.
Elder Pietre - my 'favourite Albanian'. Granted, it's a small group...but he's a wonderful missionary and lovely young man. Today he bore his testimony and told about when he prayed fervently for his brother's sight to be saved after he was holding a large firework when it exploded. I believe his brother was healed in part because of this Elder's great faith.
Our dynamic duo of Preston Sisters showed up in 'companionship outfits'. There are always some Elders with matching ties, but you've gotta love this look. These Sisters have been working so hard; they have the most discussions each week out of the whole Preston team. And if all goes well, they have a baptism scheduled for May!
Here's the Elders version of companionship ensembles - our (very tall) Zone Leaders! Guess which one is 110 percent British. He's one of Elder Meese's favourites (spell check again!) because his home is in Elder Meese's old mission! Sure...the one on the right, in the British skinny suit!
And here's a great blessing - our young Elder injured in that P-day accident coming out to ride with Elder Meese to today's meetings! If his MRI had shown a torn meniscus, he would be on his way home to the states - mission ended. But we got word a few days ago that it's intact, and he gets to stay! We were all so happy for him, and I think he has renewed energy for the work! He'll be off the crutches in three weeks.
Last week we went on 'exchange' with them; Elder Robinson and I made banana bread here while Elder Smith went with Elder Meese on the most successful day of visits they've had in months! They had five positive experiences that they'll be following up with in the coming weeks!
One more blessing before I close - our friend Derbis can now speak and understand most conversations in English! He has advanced so rapidly, mostly because of his great faith. Andrea's doing well, too, but it's so much easier to speak in Spanish - and she doesn't have a job that forces her to change!
Bro. C. has now been called to work in Youth. He'll be a good leader for our young men. By the way, it's good to have Andrea back from her visit to Ecuador. We've gone back to meeting with them every Monday to 'practice their English'.
I've started to think about some things I really love about this area. We love the taste of their water - just pure, clean-tasting agua. The morning air smells wonderful. I also love walking at sea level; you don't get out of breath nearly as fast! If my knee would cooperate, I'd walk everywhere. (but I'm not complaining...that's holding out okay, too!)
I think I've already mentioned their courteous drivers. And Elder Meese's driving ability here is amazing. He no longer uses the sat-nav on most trips. He uses his internal 'male' sense of direction for anything in town...or close by. And before I start sounding like the Chamber of Commerce, here's a British puzzler:
They sell these right on the stalk here if you want - and they're evidently a favourite British vegetable. Yup - brussel sprouts. "Sprouts" over here. I've got to say, they're pretty far down on my list of veggie choices. But I thought these looked fun in the store. Fun to see...not to buy, necessarily.
Well, healthy eating, everyone. And have a good week!