Oh my - Our Fireside had a very "interesting" beginning, but either hang in there, or skip to the bottom, because the ending was AWESOME. But first, the full story, because I'm into details!
|Nice posters - up for a few hours anyway! :)|
Here is our Stake Center - we actually had been able to come here earlier in the week for a Zone Conference. It is a LOVELY building, that was put on hold for 8 years in the middle of construction due to "zoning issues" (same thing that has kept our temple from starting construction.)
|Compliments of Google |
Taken during the "On Hold" phase.
After waiting SO LONG for completion, this lovely edifice has been open for six months. You'd think the members would be so happy to have it and want to take such good care of it. Yet on Thursday and on Sunday there was NO toilet paper in the bathrooms! (I checked them all....) There is paper towel, which you are supposed to put in the garbage after use, not flush. (So my dear companion wonders why I would want to share something like this - I just think it's a point of interest into other cultures.... Sorry if it's offensive!)
|Don't worry - nobody was around when I took this!|
We were asked after church last week to give this fireside this Sunday. Early in the week I checked on media capabilities, and was assured we could show a video. Again during our 3-hour block at church yesterday I checked with the High Councilman who invited us to speak, and was once again reassured that my I-Pad could connect. Craig checked on transportation and was assured we could take a taxi... Being the nervous type that I am, we arrived 45 minutes before the meeting was to start to make sure any technical issues were taken care of well in advance, as the person who asked us to speak said he and a technical guy would be there at 6:30. At 6:55, this is what the chapel looked like. No, that is not a choir for the fireside, but a choir practicing whose participants all left at 7 with nobody still in the chapel. (The director is our very next-door neighbor - we share a wall and a landing, and he didn't even stay...)
|This is 4x as big as our chapel - I bet they don't have to|
leave SS early to get seats for their investigators like we do!!!
By 7:15 the person who was conducting came, and someone started to help me with the video. By 7:25 I asked them NOT to wait on the video and the well-meaning Stake President (who came at 7:15) said, "Don't worry, it's not your fault." Beside the point.... So we started, and THEN I saw my interpreter - all the things I had so carefully written out for her to work on before we started were unseen until I started speaking and she needed to interpret. I kept praying to have the Spirit overtake my frustration. Not sure that happened - obviously my fault....
Craig and I both cut what we had prepared by a third and I can only hope that the 150sh people who eventually showed left motivated to find people for the missionaries to teach, which they don't quite understand is the new way of the church's missionary program.... I KNOW they left touched by Craig's story of the early days of missionary work in Fortaleza. We did have some lovely comments and the Stake President even said he was going to have us do this again. Maybe this was an audition for a real fireside that would not be on Father's Day (which it was here in Brazil yesterday) and would be announced before the day it took place and start on time? Now we know how to use a video...
But now, the important part. (If you were wise, you skipped the above after my warning!) So one of the first people to arrive was an adorable recently-returned RM who came right up to Craig and said, "Thank you for serving your mission and being in tune with the Spirit. Because of you I was able to be raised in the Gospel. We can never thank you for what you did." This was the grand-daughter of the Patricarch, Brother Cintra, who I mentioned a couple weeks ago. He and most of his family came, and after the meeting they circled Craig for over a half hour thanking him and fussing over him. They talked about THEIR missions, and how the ripple Craig had started was continuing to spread. Brother Cintra's very shy wife gave Craig a hug and said, "You were an angel sent to save our family." Would I be blasphemous to say, "Tears were shared, the Spirit was enjoyed" (or maybe you wouldn't "get it.") We were given a ride home by one of the sons, and we have plans to see them after the parents return from some planned trips.
Craig was so happy. Very humble and grateful, but so so happy. He kept saying, "Every other RM has to wait until they get to heaven to have this kind of experience. I got to have it today!" He was on such a cloud, I was glad this morning to see he hadn't floated out the window during the night!
Living here is tricky, but we are so grateful to be able to be part of the amazing Missionary Work for the only true Church in the world! Now go find someone for the missionaries in your area to teach! :)
Our love to all!