Monday, April 19, 2010

Leaving Lansing

If you'll look back, in previous blog-spot entries you'll see "crocodile tears" as this spoiled one contemplated leaving East Lansing, Michigan and returning home. They're gone now, the tears are, and what lies ahead is what matters. I don't mean to sound hard-hearted, but cry babies too must somehow grow up.

Part of that growing up happened last Saturday. Reason: Muncie, Indiana. You see, in 2003 Ranelle and I served an eighteen-months' mission there. And after living among kindly, saintly Mormons for that long, after awhile they not only tolerate you, but in time they they sort of "adopt" you. And being accepted that way, we in turn love(d) them dearly. In February 2005 our Muncie mission finished, and sadly we departed town knowing full-well we would never/could never return. (Reason: down in the deep south they call our kind, "po' folk"). But five years later we came once again on another mission to East Lansing, Michigan. And being far enough east, and living only three-hours' drive north of Muncie, one day we "gets" to thinking to ourselves, "why not?" So obtaining permission, and being just two weeks shy of finishing this present mission, we took a "sentimental journey back home" to Muncie. BONANZA! As good fortune provided, our return happened to coincide with the very day that two of the ward's "teeny boppers" (at least they were that five years ago) held their respective wedding receptions--same building; same time; adjacent rooms. So after "afternooning-it" with selected friends, come evening-time Ranelle and I cleaned up, attended both receptions, and reaped a windfall in terms of greeting more beloved friends than we ever dreamed we would ever see again! We could not possibly have chosen a better day for "returning home." And best yet, not only were the "Old Guard" Muncie-ites there, but also were many "movers-away-ers" there too, all paying homage to those beloved children they had known back in the brides' growing-up days.

Thank Heaven for blessed people who register love, and tolerate missionaries.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Leaving Lansing

Back while still young, I watched a movie entitled The Louisiana Story. Also about then, I "watched" Marjorie Kinnon Rawlins' "book," The Yearling. Both movies featured southern states' swamplands.

Because of inexperience and youthfulness, thereafter I "lionized" swamps.

Until now.

Let me explain. While reading Michigan's history I learn that after the state was formed, the founders by-passed Detroit as the capitol in favor of centralization. Accessibility they wanted. Bad choice. That explains why Lansing is "smack-dab" in the geographical center, never mind the square miles and miles of surrounding swamplands.

And while centralization is nice, swamps are not. Consequently, as one drives about, he encounters them--everywhere. They are not pretty; they are not productive--except for mosquitoes.

Time to go home.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Counting Down - RO

It is always astounding to experience the shortness of time as we close in on a goal or departure. Perhaps time goes by more quickly because more is wedged into the space remaining. These last two weeks and the four remaining have been/are filled to the brim with preparing and completing projects, lessons, and goals and cementing relationships which have been formed during our time here in Michigan.

We have experienced tremendous spiritual feasting with stake conference in March and General Conference this precious Easter weekend. Stake, mission, and general church leadership has abundantly blessed and inspired our lives. It is a time to evaluate and focus our spiritual lives on our purposes and the great blessings which are ours through the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Accompanying the spiritual growth has been the joy of cementing relationships as friends have made one more effort to bless our lives through invitations to their homes for dinner and other social experiences. We are returning to our home having had the privilege of association with some of the finest people on the earth. We have gained so much personally and hope we have made at least a little difference in the lives of those we've served and associated with here.

One accomplishment which gives me great satisfaction has been the documenting of the books in the library of the institute. The library has been in the "process" of organization the entire time we have been here. I did some work on it last summer, but was asked to turn my time to other things first. In March, Elder O'Dell made a suggestion which made organizing and using these books so easy that the institute director gave permission to proceed. He did a general organization categorically--then I proceeded to list all 870 books, giving them each a number and printing out lists by number, alphabetically by title, and alphabetically by author. Now students can find the book they need, check it out, and return it to the shelf removing their name from the checkout list. It is going to work and the library is beautiful.

These last weeks are continually becoming more crowded. Just today we were asked to speak in Sacrament meeting next Sunday, so besides lesson preparation we have talks to prepare. Wednesday is zone conference for the missionaries at which we will be asked to bear our testimonies as we finish our service here. Saturday is a ward temple excursion. Friday the 16th will be a senior missionary get together in Cadillac, MI, (about 2 1/2 hours north). Saturday and Sunday (the 17th and 18th), we have permission to travel to Muncie, Indiana, to see people from our last mission before we leave this part of the country. That will leave us less than two weeks which will be filled with the usual activities, plus all the final preparations.

Spring IS coming to Michigan--in bits and pieces. Early spring flowers and little green leaves are appearing. Temperatures are mellowing and we are seeing sunshine--still not consistently enough to suit me, but nonetheless spring is here. YEAH!!!

Perhaps there will be time for one more blog before we begin our westward trek. How we look forward to seeing all our family and friends and home again. Ranelle