Sunday, December 13, 2015

Interesting experiences and random thoughts

Here we are in December again and you know what that means.  For the last 7 years we have been skyping with one of our missionaries at Christmas time and this year will be no different.  Except this year Brendan will be the missionary that we will Skype with.  Up until now, Brendan has been the one here at home skyping with one of his siblings serving as a missionary at the time.  Brendan actually skyped us for the first time last Mother's Day so this will be his second Skype home but his first Christmas.  This should be fun.

As usual, Brendan is just loving the missionary work in Winnipeg.  He is still working with the YSA Ward there and loving it.  This is the second YSA Ward that he has worked with.  The first one being in Regina and now again in Winnipeg.  He told us that he wishes that he could somehow mesh the two YSA Wards together because he has seen some great things from having experienced serving in both of them that would make for one exceptional Ward. 

But missionary work also has it down times.  The trick is to turn the negatives in to positives.  Here is one of those down times and how Brendan handled it:
"Next up I learned two things, Pomegranates are so cheap, and delightful. I forgot how much I loved them. But I will tell you who doesn't like them, white clothes. Whether that be white shirts or G's, pomegranate juice might as well be blood. That stuff don't ever come out. And I learned that the hard way. I still have a couple poms left, so I will probably just strip down before I cut them up and eat them. Can't risk any more casualties. But, actually in reality I avoided some casualties, thank you TIDE TO GO!!! Seriously though, that stuff works wonders. You want a scripture reference, Although your white shirt maybe as red as scarlet, dab a little tide to go and it will be as white as snow. Learned this for real this week. #miracles"
Averting a tragedy and turning it into a miracle.  Isn't that just the missionary way?! While we are on the subject of how missionaries deal with certain events and opportunities, Brendan told us about a recent Family Home Evening with the YSA Ward.  This activity included a Zumba class.  But obviously before starting any kind of class, there must be a prayer and a spiritual thought.  Brendan and his companion were assigned the spiritual thought.  Brendan didn't tell us what he had prepared for the spiritual thought, but what he did tell us was this:
"But tonight for FHE we are doing zumba. SOOOO DOWN! With some spiritual throw down of a well prepared spiritual thought that we got assigned and then hitting the floor for some zumba, we are gonna be shaking our booties with a tear in our eye. What more can you ask for?"

Ok, it is time for our monthly Canadian vocabulary lesson from Brendan.  This month the word is "toque".  We were introduced to this new word due to the fact that winter is coming and Winnipeg is getting cold.  Brendan has found his new best friend which will keep him warm though the bitter Canadian cold.  Ear Muffs.  No, the meaning of "toque" is not ear muffs but you are close.  A "toque" is actually Canadian for "beanie" which is all Brendan wore last winter to keep his ears warm.  Last year was OK but this year with ear muffs, Brendan is in heaven. At least his ears are. Not to mention that when he goes to one of his appointments, he won't be taking a beanie off his head and looking like he just rolled out of bed.   The rest of him will probably still be cold especially when it hits -40 in Winnipeg with 40 kph winds. 

Here we go for one of the funniest stories of Brendan's mission.  There are a lot of different ethnicities in Canada.  One of the main groups of people to immigrate to Canada are Nigerian.  Brendan says that they are some of the nicest and kindest people he has met.  Ever since Brendan got to Winnipeg, he has heard about a church called "Redeemed Christian Church of God" where many of the Nigerian people meet on Sundays.  A few weeks ago Brendan and his companion decided to attend this church to meet some of the people and get to know them a little better.  When they showed up at the church, they were the only two white people there.  Then they were immediately ushered to the front from the chapel and given all of the attention and love that the rest of the congregation could give.  Then the pastor of the church asked the two missionaries to stand and invited the entire congregation to come and shake their hands.  All 200 of them!!  Then the gospel choir began to sing and the band played and as Brendan described it, it was like a full on concert.  Anyway, none of that is the funny part of the story.  The people at the church seemed to be very kind and friendly people.  The funny part of the story came later which Brendan didn't even know about. 

Just a few days later I was sitting at home working when I got an email from a strange email address.  Of course, everybody gets email from strange email addresses and normally I would have just deleted it.  But this one had the subject line, "We are glad you came".  When I opened the email it was from the Pastor at the "Redeemed Christian Church of God".  Apparently, Brendan had given them an email address thinking that it was one of his old addresses from before the mission.  As it turned out, it was one of my email addresses that ironically enough, I only use for corresponding with church members and scouting.  The email was very nice, here is what it said:
"Dear Brendan,

Blessings and greetings to you in Jesus name. We were privileged to 
have you as our guest this past Sunday.  We trust that your visit was 
spiritually enriching and that you were warmly received.

As a Church, we are committed to the person of Jesus Christ, and we 
base our teaching upon the revealed word of God.  It is our desire 
that people come to place their trust in Christ to forgive them and 
lead them, and that they grow in their relationship with Him.  We feel 
God is doing extraordinary things among extraordinary people and would 
love to see you be a part of this. Kind regards, ..."

When I told Brendan, in my weekly email, what had happened, he responded back saying that he just about laughed himself to death and that whole story just made his week.  I guess the best part of the story is that there are good kind people everywhere.

If you have known Brendan for very long, you would know that for whatever reason, his mind just goes to random thoughts.  Apparently that even applies to his emails as well.  Here is a random thought from Brendan that you just might find funny.  Especially given that he was a radio DJ through high school:
"Anyways, this week was crazy. Lots of stuff. Well, where to start. I don't know. I give up. I'll talk about what's on my mind. On a mission, your musical taste just dies. Straight up, two weeks in it just dissipates. And all that is left is cheezy EFY songs from the early 2000's. But you want to know what is strange. I TOTALLY DIG IT. haha, you should see me. We get bumpin in the car. EFY 2006 comes on and next thing you know I'm air drumming and singing along to "Power in Purity" like its Bohemian Rhapsody. ITs great. I love it. It will be weird in year or so to go back to listening to my old stuff. It's almost as if my ears are stuck in limbo and maybe some day they will make it to heaven. But for now, I'm sticking with the For Strength of Youth greatest hits 2014."

Brendan has been learning a new skill lately.  They  recently met a man who is deaf and attends one of the nearby Wards.  So now every Monday night this man teaches them sign language.  According to Brendan, he and his companion are getting really good at sign language.  Brendan said that now that he has been learning sign language, he is meeting all kinds of people who are deaf.  The great thing is that now he can more easily communicate with them.  Brendan is even considering asking his mission president if he could be reassigned as an ASL missionary.  I'm guessing that isn't going to happen but hey, if having the ability to at least make a door approach in sign language opens the door (so to speak), then it must have been worth it.