Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The 47th good thing about Lagos: Getting together with dedicated senior missionaries!

This was the second week that I attended church without Brent, as he is still in Houston. Both Sundays many of the ward members have been very kind to ask about him and check to see if he is well. The biggest laugh from that I got after church when one of the American expats said that one of the Primary children had been asking about Brent. This particular young boy had taken an interest in Brent for quite a while, often coming up to him and giving him pats on the stomach. On Sunday, after commenting to this American on how his hair and skin were different, the little boy asked him where "big belly" was. Don't you love kids?

Sunday afternoon the American expats in the ward got together and had the Lagos senior missionaries over for dinner. One of the wives of the mission presidents was able to come, but her husband was enroute returning from Abuja. The other mission president and his wife were unable to attend. But I think there were 5 of the American missionary couples that came. They enjoyed getting a break from their responsibilities and having some social time and it was great for us to visit with them! They are a dedicated bunch, providing a lot of service to help the church grow here. One couple are on a humanitarian mission. They have assisted with the delivery and placement of hundreds of wheelchairs and are working with NGO's on clean water programs for many areas, drilling boreholes and providing what is needed for a better water supply. Before this mission this brother was the church architect of the Houston temple! He shared some stories about this experience and was pleased when I said that we love our temple in Houston and think that it's beautiful. Another couple are working with 3 wards providing leadership support, others are working with family history and the church educational system. One couple talked excitedly about their projects involving career resources and development. They were working with job training and finding resources for people to start their own businesses, working with banks and organizations who would provide microcredit loans to start businesses. I asked this couple, who had just been here for four months, if they had requested anything particular in their application for missionary service. The sister replied, "We had thought about requesting one of the available opportunities that sounded good, but we decided that if we did that, we might be missing out on something that would be really great. We decided that the Lord knew us and knew what would be best for us, so we just left it open and said we would go wherever we were called." She said, "I hate to think about missing out on this adventure, because it isn't one we would have chosen for ourselves, but it's been just great." They love the people and you can tell that they are thriving on their service here. The missionaries have a much harder duty here than we do -- they just arrive with their suitcases and don't have a lot of the benefits and nice living conditions that corporate expats do. They drive themselves around -- that alone is worthy of my great admiration. They drive in cars that are marked "missionary" and they said that helps -- they get more courtesy and they, in return, try to be very courteous when they drive. The men actually seemed to enjoy the challenge of driving here. They all seem to approach the difficulties of life here with good humor, which is really the only way to go!

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