Monday, January 27, 2014

Ramblings from Elder Semken - January 2014

21 January 2014

Good morning to you,
    The mission is once again very busy as always.   President Weed will finish interviewing every missionary on Thursday.   He interviews every missionary about every six weeks and has frequent contact with them throughout the month.   So he and Sister Weed are very well aware of the missionaries situation temporally and spiritually.   Every missionary will have his/her ups and downs throughout the month.   Most of the time the missionaries are pretty even.   Once in a while there are things that seem to be bigger than life.  Give a day or two and things are back to normal.  For instance, I have a landlord who is may not be as nice as our other landlords.   He lives in another village 1/2 of the time, which is not unusual.  We spend more time with him trying to solve problems.  He seems to be difficult to live deal with.  Just before a major holiday on a Friday and another holiday on Monday he has left to travel to his other home.  On Friday afternoon the missionaries water was turned off by the water company for non-payment.  The water nor electricity company are suppose to turn anything off on a holiday.  So the missionaries were without water for 4 days.   We do own our water tank on the top of the building.  And the missionaries should have been able to get water.  But the door to the roof was locked and they had no access to the tank.   Results, no water.  So the missionaries went across the road and paid for water that they put in 5 gallon containers and carried up the water three floors every day for 4 days.  When I found out about it on Friday night, I offered to pick them up and bring them to to our apartment for showers.  They thought it was a nuisance and continued to carry the water.  Now how would you like that!  I visited with the elders following their ordeal, they said it was extremely difficult and was one of the hardest things they had to do.   The stairs are uneven and a new elder tripped and fell, hurt his back.   I think on Elder Maxwell's talk on "patience" and wonder what they learned and what I learned.   All is well.  I hope it doesn't happen again.  By the way the President was at their apartment when the water was out and the electricity went off as well; which is a usual occurrence in our mission.  The president seems to be where the challenges are and is well aware of them.  The Lord knows how he is tempering each of us.  There was a book written several years ago by Elder Dyer, as I recall, called The Refiner's Fire, or something like that. 
    Another example,  last Friday we went to the Post Office.   We received about 15 Christmas packages and 25-50 letters and cards.   We go to the post office 2 or 3 times a week.  They had been stored for some time.  This is not unusual.  They told us that there had been some kind of security breach which caused the delay.  Some of the packages were mailed 19 Nov and 23 of Nov and up to 21 of December.   This is why we suggest DHL or FEDEX and not USPS.  Some of the packages, letters will be delivered to Togo today.  Some packages that the missionaries are expecting still have not arrived.  Those with letters and packages were very pleased.
     I noticed a trend this month of January.   It is only 2/3 of the way through the month and missionaries are short of money.   I wonder if they got caught up in the Holiday season spending more than they should have.   They will be fine, they do know how to manage.  
     As I have said, the missionaries have lived many more wonderful days and have many more stories to tell.   I leave the stories for them to tell and most of the details are for them as well to share in their own way and time.  This is true of the no water in the apartment for 4 days.
    The new mission president for our mission was announced recently.  He and his wife are from Quebec Canada.  Both speak French.  I understand that she is a nurse.  I don't know much about him yet.  The picture is just being put together.  The new mission presidents go to Provo for four days.  His name is Pierre-Paul Morin. He begins 1 July 2014.
      We hope that all of you are well.  Our thoughts and concerns are for your well being as well as the missionaries.
        Elder Semken

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