I don't know if you noticed, but this weekend there was a fifth Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is my understanding that will never happen again in our lifetime. I haven't checked that out.
It was bound to happen, I got one of my nasty cold/coughs. I was not very useful for a few days. Elder Dixon went with the Elders to complete the lessons with one of the new members and I stayed home. I am mostly used to it. Ever since I had my spleen removed, I struggle more with anything related to pneumococcal germs. Love the advice from Bala "Google nature remedies" and don't drink water with ice in it. He is great!
Our sweet training sisters happened to stop by while Bala was visiting. I just love these young missionaries. They took the time to explain our beliefs regarding the resurrection, the body and the spirit. It is a little difficult for Bala to wrap his head around, because he believes in reincarnation. We are learning from Bala, and he is learning from us. Tomorrow, we will take him to get furniture so that he will have furniture when his wife arrives.
We were able to meet with a member of the Stake Presidency and get a better idea about what things were happening in the Stake and what things might be done to increase the presence of the church. There are so many voices clamoring about religion here. People are drawn to the powerful preaching in their respective churches. It makes it easy to understand the confusion that was felt by Joseph Smith. There are many great people here and they each believe that they have the correct way to return to live with God. That is what was going on when Joseph Smith was only 14. His family was not united in a determination of which church had the truth. He decided to find out for himself. I am quite certain that he had not expected the answer he received!
We are so privileged to be able to attend so many baptisms. This week the two were young men. I was so excited to see that each young man's family came in full support. I don't believe many for one of the young men (if any) were members of the church, but they were there for him. I hope that they were able to feel the peace and happiness that he felt. In one baptism, the Primary gave the young man a soft blanket, in the other a nice towel. Each was given to remind them of the comforter, the Holy Ghost. I hope that they always feel that spirit.
Today, Elder Dixon decided to take a different route to church. As we were turning the corner at a major intersection, there was a car stopped with the flashers on. Drivers were passing by her and no one was stopping to help. We decided to pull into a parking lot and Elder Dixon would see how he could help. By the time we were able to do so, another man had begun to push the car, and the lady driver was trying to steer and push. Elder Dixon helped him push her into the parking lot and out of danger. We offered to drive her to her home. Her name is Susan, and she works in diving therapy at the Aquarium in Atlanta. She started telling us about what she does. She clearly has a love and passion for her job. Here is some information about what they do:
Georgia Aquarium Diving programs
In a few short minutes, she taught me two amazing statements. First, she said something about getting rid of the white coats in disabilities. I didn't understand and asked that she explain. She explained that we look at disabilities as limitations, but we should, instead, view them as just differences in the way people do things. She also quoted Rachel Remen, and I was really impressed. Here is a quote from Dr. Remen:
“Helping, fixing, and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. when you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.”
― Rachel Naomi Remen
She really made me think about those who are in professions where they help others- including missionaries. She said that burnout comes from trying to help instead of trying to serve.
We wanted to give her contact information and so we grabbed a card with Family History information on it. She told us that her grandfather had done a lot of family history and that it was all hand-written. We encouraged her to put it into the familysearch.org site. Elder Dixon told her that we never go that way to church. She said that it was a blessing. Couldn't agree more. Thanks to Elder Dixon, we had another great experience (and still made it to Church on time).
Here is another interesting picture from Atlanta:
This is a federal signal modulator used to warn of tornadoes. This is a better picture, but not one that I took.
The Mission had an incentive for the missionaries this month. If they had a baptism, they will be able to go to the temple this week. The Mission had over 40, so those missionaries will get to go to the temple. That is a rare privilege for them. I am happy for those who get to go and sad for those who do not.
We are losing another great couple from the Branch. This time it is the Relief Society President and the High Priest's Group Leader. The Branch has lost 25% of the membership in the past two months. I pray, literally, that we are able to find good people to come to the Branch. We need them so badly. If you know of any Portuguese speaking members/non-members/families in Atlanta, send them our way!