What a fabulous experience we just shared with 146 other Seniors (hate that word)this past week at the Missionary Training Center. Now I can truly understand what my missionary children were talking about; the long days, the amazing teachers, the abundant food, the truly powerful spirit 24/7 and the closeness of your district. What an amazing,spirit-filled, efficient, organized institution the MTC is. We have loved every minute of it.
On the first day we were put into districts and initially I was disappointed. All the couples seemed quiet and reserved. Oh how wrong I was. By the second day we were having a love-fest. It's amazing what happens when your hearts and focus are all on the same goal. I will love these couples forever. It was magic!
One of the highlights of the week was getting to role play a discussion (it felt way more like real play) with "investigators" (volunteers who are VERY GOOD at being non-members). Both sessions ended in hugs and tears (one investigator broke character and sobbed in our arms. We have that effect on some people!) After doing these sessions all I can say is I have the BEST COMPANION IN THE CHURCH!!! Jim is an amazing missionary with amazing skills. I'm just grateful I get to hold on to his coattails and go along for the ride!
One sad thing in this week has been concerning Jim's health. For the first time in our lives we got flu shots required by the MTC, even though we've not had flu in 30 years. Then on Wednesday, upon the advice of our district we went and got a Pnemonia shot. That night Jim got a horrific case of the chills and ran a high fever. We were sure it was a reation to the shot he'd just received. He went to the MTC on Thursday, but that night once again got chills and the next morning was running 103 fever. He has a horrible flu that has lasted now for 5 days and he is still running 101 fever. We have two fervent prayers; one that he will be better in time to leave on Thursday and second that I WON"T GET IT!!! Today is the first day of Institute Training and I will be going alone. So much for flu shots!!!
I wanted to share one story that was told to us by Sister Curtis. She and her husband have been called to Megan's mission Micronesia Guam and will be serving on the island of Kosare. Sister Curtis shared an experience she had on her first mission in Germany in the 1970's.
She and her companion were out tracking and knocked on a door. When the door opened, to their amazement, there stood a Catholic Cardinal in full regalia! Sister Curtis said he was fairly young, maybe 50, and very handsome. They were shocked but he kindly explained that he had just traveled from the Vatican for a rest in Germany and had only just walked into the door. They talked for a few minutes and Sister Curtis felt inspired to offer him a Book of Mormon and asked if he would read it. To her surprise, he agreed and told her to come back in a week and they would discuss it.
The next week Sister Curtis came back to a black wreath on the door. When the housekeeper answered the door she informed the missionaries that the Cardinal had passed away the week before. Sister Curtis began to turn away when she felt to ask the housekeeper if she knew if he had had a chance to read the book they had given him the week before. The housekeeper got a funny look on her face and then related what had happened.
She told the Sisters that after they left the Cardinal went in and without changing his robes sat down and begin to read. She advised him that he should change his clothes and shower before he begin reading. He said that he would in a minute but he just contintued to read. Two hours later she came in and found him in the exact same place, having never moved. Again she told him to go change his clothes and rest. Two hours later, when she brought him his dinner he still hadn't moved. Finally leaving him there in the chair the housekeeper went to bed.
The next morning when she got up she found the Cardinal had never moved. Sometime in the night he had passed away. When she went to take the Book of Mormon out of his hands she realized it was open to the final page of the book.
Sister Curtis had a burning conviction he was called home with a knowledge he had found the truth!
I'm so excited to add our own personal stories to this one as we begin our own adventure in spreading the gospel and our mission of rescue.