|Yanina and I on Conference Sunday! (She is the RM who just got back from Querétaro, Mexico) Love her so dearly, we have become very good friends, she is an amazing spiritual woman.|
Whether or not you tuned in to this 185th annual Spiritual Tidal Wave, I want to mention two of the talks that were given. They are not the addresses of the estimable Elders Holland, Uchtdorf, or Eyring, though of course they were iron-strong, essential talks, and linguistic ambrosia on top of that.
No, I speak of two lesser-known Seventies who gave their addresses back-to-back on Saturday afternoon. They hit the nail precisely on the head when discussing the 2015 LDS experience. Life as a Mormon. Life today. Elders Wilford W. Anderson and Dale G. Renlund. Scrutinize those talks if you for any reason want to know something about life as a Latter-day Saint in 2015. Lds.org (texts will be posted within the week).
I especially appreciated Elder Anderson's remarks because he put into words some of the experiences I've had in recent years. I give you my full disclosure: it wasn't long ago that I had long grown tired of this church. I had no patience for its human flaws. I had grown more critical than hopeful, more irritable than teachable. Those who speak over the pulpit in General Conference speak with simplicity. So if you're too high-strung when you listen, you think you know what you're hearing, but you might be missing it. For a long time I wasn't tuned into the right frequency. I couldn't receive what they were transmitting. "Era dura" [I was a hard head]; my heart was kept in a thick protective casing. If feeling the spirit is like hearing music, and living by it is like dancing to the music, I have spent a lot of my life dancing to no music. I appreciated Elder Anderson's sympathy for that predicament when he said that "dancing without music is awkward and unfulfilling." So it is.
So, hey, tune in to the right frequency! Hear the music.
On Sunday afternoon, Hair-mana Beecher and I emerged from the gringo room to spend the last session in the chapel. And my, were we glad we did! As if it wasn't enough to be with our Latino bretheren and sisters again, Sunday afternoon was when Elders Pino and Zeballos gave their addresses in Spanish. You could feel the electricity in the room when these speeches were announced. We all got goosebumps. It was a glorious, inexpressibly unmistakably happy time. I will skip the rant about the translation student on-hold in me getting to experience translated church materials on the receiving end and thinking about what is lost and gained in a translation and how cool it was to have the option of jumping around between the gringo room and the chapel. Suffice it to say, I hope one day I'll be involved in the translation or voice-over process for conferences in the future.... (p.s. If any of you speak English, listen to Elders Uchtdorf and Holland's talks in the language they were given. That kind of splendor is not to be translated.) The announcement that there will be a temple in Port-au-Prince sent a lightning bolt right through my heart. I gasped out loud in my seat. What joy, O World!! That with the other two temple announcements were received with hoots and cheers of excitement.
Well, this week has been as decently paced as ever. We did exchanges, so I worked for 24 hours with Hermana Cruz in her area on Tuesday-Wednesday. I learned a lot about her teaching and contacting methods (This is her last transfer, so I appreciated her wisdom on a number of matters), and also learned a great deal about her native Nicaragua. (Did you know they speak in Vos there?? They are a small isolated sector of Vos in an otherwise tú-using Central America. But they don't call the language Castellano, they call it Español. Everything I previously learned about Latin America is slowly expiring in the face of reality.)
This week was also Semana Santa [Holy Week leading up to Easter] (I hope you all had a very happy Easter, by the way). We came to know many many Argentine/Paraguayan traditions, most of them having to do with food (la chipa, la pasafrola, la sopa paraguaya---sí o sí), and had a grand time casually interviewing people about their explanations for these traditions. Everyone has their professed reason, ranging from deeply religious to culturally acquiescent. One thing was for sure: Thursday the whole world smelled like smoke and barbequeing meat, because everyone does an asado. Friday, or Viernes Santo, the whole world was still, because everyone was fasting and praying, or at the very least everyone had the courtesy to stay inside and not play loud music so that the religious folks could fast and pray. Saturday everyone had family over for more festejar-ing. We made a lot of cool contacts on Friday because of its quiet, reverent environment. With all of the white noise turned down (literally and metaphorically), many saw it as a less-then-coincidental sign that missionaries would clap at their gate with a message about Christ, and they let us in.
So yes indeed, the weather has been sweetly transitioning to fall, Mayra and her father José are progressing well on their personal journeys, Valentina and Basilio are feeling quite well, thanks for asking, and the gospel is still true.
Until next week,
Love love love Hermana Tolman
|A rainy Conference Saturday! In Centro nearby the stake center.|
|Hermanas Armoa and Rodriguez---the dream squad!|
|When we got back Saturday night--this is the view looking out our pension door. It was an enchanted night to glory in God's celestial creations...with the background noise of crickets and bugs and wind, and the heat and humidity of the night.|
|Me and Leti (the bishop's wife). She is 21. The bishop is 25. These people are YOUNG!|
It's amazing how inspired they are. True humble amazing people.