Monday, February 6, 2012

"Tuwatha, Tuwatha -- Willow!"

Since I've been in Salem, Sister Ford and I have added three new investigators to our teaching pool: Laura, Ruby and Randy. You already know about Laura. Ruby, we're going to be dropping soon. And Randy was a former investigator that the Sisters worked with for 9 months. He's the brother of a recent convert, Brother Hobson. Brother Hobson is the guy that I sent the video of with the sour spray. Anyways, Randy has been battling cancer for about two years now and sadly, but at the same time mercifully was able to escape his devastating pain when he passed away early Tuesday morning. This week has been spent with Brother Hobson and with Rowena, Brother Hobson's mom. She's a wonderful lady who suffers from Alzheimer's. She's had a hard time dealing with Randy's death, believing it happened and so forth.

Saturday, Sister Ford and I met Brother Hobson at Westside Baptist Church and put together the picture displays and set up all of Randy's UK memorabilia (which of course I loved since Randy was the only UK fan I've met up here). Randy chose to be cremated so it was technically a memorial service, but it's basically the same thing as a funeral. This was my first non-LDS funeral and you can call me biased, but I prefer them the "Mormon" way. (Randy and Brother Hobson's other brother, Mark, commented that our display we set up seemed very "Mormon" because they focused on Randy's family instead of just him). Anyways, it was nice, but I didn't really feel the Spirit all that much. I guess I've taken for granted that even though funerals are very sad, you always feel the Spirit there, comforting you.

There wasn't too much of it at this one. I agreed with the preacher that Randy was in a better place and out of pain, but it wasn't all that comforting after that. The preacher had only met Randy during the last few months of his life and didn't really know him all that well. He tried sharing memories they'd had together but you could tell he was pulling from two or three instances. They didn't open with a prayer. There were really bad jokes dispersed between a couple of Bible verses, then he had everyone sing an A Capella rendition of "Amazing Grace" where one of the verses was literally "Praise God, Praise God, Praise God..." over and over again. I did like that he encouraged everyone to let go of the bad memories, the hard memories and hold onto the good ones. Then he had everyone bow their heads (which I've seen done at churches in Corbin) and close their eyes and then said that if there was anyone in the audience who hadn't accepted Christ into their life to raise their hand. After about a 30 second silence there with our heads down, he said we could all get up and go to the meal that had been prepared. And then it was over. It was very interesting. It wasn't a bad day, but it made me sad for Randy's family that they didn't have as much peace and hope that I've felt at funerals done the "Mormon" way.

Sister Ford has been really sick this week. She's had pleurisy which is something that people with asthma experience a lot. And I remember the first couple times I felt it how scary it was. Basically, it's really sharp, intense pains like you're being stabbed in the heart when you move or breathe. Haha. That sounds dramatic, and it is. But it's not a heart attack. It's just really painful. She woke up with those pains and asked me about them and we called the Bishop (remember he's a doctor) and he told her it's a pleurisy virus that's been going around lately. She also might be anemic. We went to the doctor this week (where I got to sit in the waiting room for two hours and die of boredom while she got her blood taken and so forth). It's been quite the switch. Sister Ford NEVER gets sick. Ever. So she's having a hard time with the fact that she has to rest and can't do what she wants to do. It's sad, but also a little funny to watch as she's almost shocked that when the doctor tells her to stay in bed and rest that she can't walk around and stay awake all day, but she really is tired and weak. I do hope that she'll get some results this week though because I don't like seeing her in pain and she and I both hate sitting around not having any progress in this area not because we don't work but because we can't work. Sister Ford keeps saying, "Couldn't Heavenly Father have had me sick while you were sick?" I think he could, but there wouldn't be any irony in that. And since we're both writers, our lives need to be filled with irony or else we won't have any inspiration to draw from when we start writing stories back at home. Though I don't know if that's the best thing to tell her right now so I just say, "We'll just pray for health." and then I tell her funny stories while she's in bed. I've also juggled for her a couple times. I've started to sing some opera for her but she gets really emotional when I do and insists I stop "for her ears' sake". She just doesn't want me to see her cry. Sometimes having this voice is such a gift that it turns into a curse. Ces't la vie.

So, I hear that Mom, Dad, Rex and Nina are the new poster family for the Romney Campaign. Doesn't surprise me. If you're lucky you'll make it onto the Colbert Report. If you do, I want his autograph, please.

I can't wait to hear about little Gunnar Turbo Erven or whatever he ends up being named. There's this family in the Salem Ward that had a little girl this week and named her Willow. Maybe the baby will grow up to marry a man named Mad Martigan. Send me pictures of Gunnar, please!

Blind, deaf, and booty-short-wearing Bro. Winslow
Last week I forgot to explain the quote about the blind man driving a tractor. I've talked about Brother Winslow before. He's the man who wears the booty shorts who is blind. Well, he's blind but he won't let anyone do anything for him. He's very independent and lives on his own. He built his own elevator in his house. I've ridden on it. Well, he needed to jump his car and he has this jumping machine in his garage but it was behind his tractor and instead of letting me lift it and bring it out of the garage, he jumped his old tractor and then backed it out of the garage onto the grass and then brought the machine out, got an extension cord and jumped his car. Then he put the machine back in the garage and drove the tractor in again, blocking the machine from the car if in the future he needs to jump his car. It was crazy. Sometimes I don't believe he's blind. But other times I'm convinced he's blind because of the horribly positioned holes on his shorts. He got on the tractor and took his stick and banged it on either side of the garage door so he would know where not to drive and then just backed up. It was crazy. Sister Ford and I didn't really know what to do with ourselves. Then, once he got out the door, he turned the wheel really hard to the left so that the tractor backed off the driveway into the grass and he barely missed the potted plants and his boat. He's nuts. I got a picture of him the other day in some new shorts he has that don't have any holes in them. He came to church for the first time since I've been here yesterday and it was the first time I've seen him in a shirt and pants. He's hilarious.

Last week in PEC, the brethren were talking about a less-active man that is apparently a cross-dresser... who's mom died last winter. The man sitting next to me commented on the whole new wardrobe he inherited at her passing. It was awful and hilarious.

This week Otis sent me a huge box and inside it was a GIANT slab of deer sausage. It was perfect. I just imagined him sitting there, thinking, "What's the best thing I could send Sis? Well, what's MY favorite thing in the world? Deer sausage. She'll love deer sausage, too." Biggest BYH.

Sister Ralph wrote me and told me that she spoke to Willard and he told her he went to the temple with 17 family names last week and that one of those names was his wife, Mary's. He said he could feel her there when she was baptized! It makes me cry! I can't wait till he gets to go to the temple in July and be sealed to her!

I've been struck this week with how the Lord has given the Saints every tool we need for happiness. If we feel abandoned, if we feel like the Lord isn't delivering something He's promised us, we shouldn't ask why we are missing out. We should re-evaluate ourselves. If we aren't getting answers, we need to fix our prayers and our scripture study. If we aren't getting a blessing, we need to get rid of a distraction to make room for the blessing. The tools are all at our disposal: prayer, fasting, repentance, church, callings, scriptures, temple, etc. The Lord doesn't mess up or keep things from us. We're the ones that get in the way of our progression, not God. He loves us too much to hold us back.

Extra Blessings: Paige, Otis & Sister Ralph
Quote of the Week: "Yamahawk."

I love you all. I think about you all the time. Monday afternoons are never long enough for me to be able to write everyone I want to. But I think about you and am grateful for you. The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson

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