What a fun filled week! It was so jam-packed with great days that it feels as though the week flew by in a second. There were two really awesome experiences this week that I would like to share.
First of all, on Tuesday we had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Birmingham Temple. I am so very grateful to be in a mission where we have the chance about every three months to attend the temple and feel the spirit that resides there. It is also always fun to be able to drive down to my figurative “birthplace” in the mission, Birmingham, and remember all the great times I had in that city working hard as a missionary. There are also a lot of really terrific places to eat in Birmingham and we often grab a bite to eat at one of these places after we leave the temple. Every time I return back to the area I am serving in after attending the temple, I feel rejuvenated and ready to work harder. I think it is because the temple experience puts everything in an eternal perspective and that is rather motivating for me.
The second experience happened on Wednesday and it involved a 70 year-old recent convert we have here in the Spanish-speaking Branch. The other Elders in the area have been mainly working with him, so they are often the ones to go over and share messages with him and help him make more progress in the church and the gospel as a recent convert. However, on this particular day, he called the other Elders and was super excited and explained to them that he had caught a ton of fish the previous day and he wanted to make us all dinner! So we said all right and drove on over to his place. When we got there, he sat us all down and had just one Elder help him in the kitchen. We all sat and watched how he explained to the Elder that he was going to cook the fish in the same way they do in Cuba. We were all excited and rather hungry. Then he took one fish, gutted it and then threw the whole thing right on the grill – scales, head, tail, gut juices and all – the whole fish! Then he did this again and again, fish after fish and our appetites began to disappear as he added each fish to the grill. But he put the cooked fish on our plates and we looked at the excited state that he was in and knew that there was no way we could get out of this one. Now I know that this might not seem all that bad to people who have lived in foreign countries and have eaten really interesting foods, but to a couple of missionaries who have been eating southern comfort food and delicious authentic Hispanic cuisine, eating the whole fish was a daunting task! But we buckled down and ate the fish! And besides the many bones that I had to pick out of my teeth, it wasn’t too bad! I feel as though I can eat anything at this point . . . maybe! Let me be clear – that is not a challenge! I am so grateful for all the wonderful experiences I am having and all of the wonderful people I get the chance to meet. I hope everybody has a wonderful week!