Monday, October 27, 2014

Election Day October 26, 2014

Today was the day for the final elections for the Brazilians.  We had volunteered to help, and the Consulate took us up on the offer.  So, we had to drive to the Consulate and be there by 6:30 a.m.  I found myself a bit confused on the roads to get there (Garmin apparently decided that I had arrived and quit giving me directions) so I was a few minutes late.  It was okay, though.

Elder Dixon and I were in charge of keeping people from leaving the dining area with food and we were in charge of checking credentials so only the volunteers and staff were eating.  We thought helping with the elections would be a great way to serve the Brazilian community here.  The Brazilians are required to vote in their elections or pay a fine.  Several states have to vote at the Atlanta Consulate.

It was a great experience.  We had some very interesting and wonderful conversations with people there.  I was able talk to a young man from Alabama who indicated that his mother had been given a copy of the Book of Mormon.  After we spoke, he indicated he would read it.  Another young man indicated that he was an atheist and we had a very interesting conversation about my experience with that.  I feel that I left there with new friends.

Elder Dixon remained there until the voting was over.  Our missionaries indicated that people who worked with them commented on the enjoyable conversations they had with the older couple from the Church.  At the end of the day, all of us were tired.  Here is a picture of our young missionaries, and one with Elder Sousa demonstrating how he felt after being there for about 11 hours.  As you can see, he is the comic of the group!

I had to leave early because we had the Primary Program at the Branch and were expecting a number of people to come who were not members of the Church.  On the way, I had to pick up the primary program materials from the Primary President who may have gone into labor, I haven't called her yet to confirm.  I then picked up Sister Barros and we went to the Branch.

Our wonderful member missionaries brought 42 people to church!  It was amazing!  We were a little short on missionaries, but we managed.  I taught Relief Society.  I loved the fact that my assigned message was about following in Christ's footsteps.  What a powerful message to be able to share!

It was a sad week.  One of our sweet sister missionaries had to leave the mission field for medical treatment.  I hate losing missionaries for any reason, but medical is the worst.  This week is transfer week.  We anticipate that we will see some changes.  I see the wisdom, but it is still hard.  I especially hate letting go of missionaries I have grown to love.  Elder Hopkins is leaving to go to Brazil, we are excited for him, but hate to lose a missionary.  Sister Lindsey has completed her mission.  She has been such a wonderful Sister Training Leader and I will really miss her.

This week one of the Sister Missionaries needed to go to the Mission Office to get a car.  I took her and her companion down to Lilburn.  They forgot to bring their Garmin.  I have explained before that there is a monitor in the car to monitor the driving habits.  That gave me a special challenge.  I had to drive ahead to guide, stay close enough that they could see me, but not cause them to get any violation on the monitor.  It was much harder than it sounds, and when I missed a freeway entrance, so did they. I felt a lot of pressure to get them home safely and without violations.   I guess it is a little like leadership or missionary work in the Church.  We have to know the way ourselves or be able to follow the spirit (in my case, the Garmin).  We have to remain close to those we lead, to be able to know if they are having any issues that might cause them to lose the way.  And we have to follow the commandments so that those who follow will not get any violations because they followed us.  It is sobering to think about.

Happy Halloween this week!  All missionaries are ordered to be in their apartments by 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. if they are teaching a lesson.

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