Friday, June 19, 2009

There is Gold in That Thar Bowl

Yes, there is gold in that bowl! That gold has a tail and fins and is swimming around. Her name is Panchita. She is the newest member of our little missionary family. Even before we left Grantsville for our mission, I talked of getting two little goldfish, just to keep us company. As Steve says, I just have to have something to feed. We arrived, and it just never seemed the right time to buy the fish; we couldn't find a bowl. We couldn't find a fish, etc, etc.

Well, finally, with much, much coaching on my part, and I think Steve just grew weary of my nagging for a fish, we went to the little pet store and picked out our fish. I picked a beautiful, fat gold fish with beautiful tail and fins. Steve picked out a very colorful calico goldfish. Into the little bags they went. We bought a little container of food, some rocks for the bottom, and a clear class canister that would function very well as a fish bowl. (And if the fish died, I will have a great container for cookies, etc).

Fish have to have names, so that was the first big chore. Steve quickly named his, San Martin. Not bad. San Martin is just about the biggest historical hero down here. I tried to think of a female name that was meaningful for Argentina. Hummm! I have it! I will name her, Panchita. I love their hotdogs down here. They call them "Panchos". So, a Panchita would mean "little hotdog". That's perfect!

They seemed very suited to their new house. They seemed to like each other. No biting, kicking, scratching, etc. So, we went to sleep that night with very pleasant thoughts of our two new little members to our family.

I awoke early the next morning to study. The first thing I did was run to the coffee table to see our fish. Yep, there is Panchita swimming around, but where . . .oh, there is San Martin. He is not swimming. Actually he is lying on the bottom of the bowl. No respirations noted. Can't feel a heart beat. He's awfully limp. Too late for fishy CPR. I carefully lifted his little body from the bowl using the fish net and placed him on a special paper towel on the counter to lie in state until Steve could pay his respects. After all, this is San Martin. Then the final act! The lever was pulled! He was gone!

I couldn't believe Steve. He is accusing my fish, my Panchita of fish murder. Yes, he says it was, "In the fish bowl! With a fin!" Well, he has no proof. He didn't even do an autopsy. It has now been several weeks and I catch Steve mumbling under his breath, "He was murdered!" He even sometimes says, "I hope yours dies soon so I can get another fish." We all know that the real truth will probably never be know.

In the meantime, I am training Panchita to be a world famous , performing gold fish. She is so smart and so talented. I am certain that Sea World will hear of her soon and they will send for her. What does she do? Well, this is just the beginning, I know there are many tricks to come. But for right now, she is learning that when I feed her, I tap twice on the bowl and then put the food in. She is responding by when she hears the taps, she swims to the top of the water to be right there with her mouth open when the food comes. Now is that amazing or what! I can see the glitter of all the gold she is going to earn. Soon she will be doing flips and all kinds of special things.

And Angels Watch Over Them Night and Day!

    Sometimes you may wonder when you say your prayers and you routinely say, "And please bless the missionaries all over the world", whether God really hears your prayers. Is He really blessing them? Every morning and every night Steve and I kneel and always include the welfare of the missionaries. I know with all my heart that He does hear our prayers. This morning my phone rang at about 02:30. That is never a good sign. It was Sister Warren from the group of Sisters in a community, San Luis, about 3 ½ hours from here. She is one of those young women that is always having a crisis in her life and has a tendency to exaggerate. So when she said, "I feel so sick, everyone is sick, we're all throwing up, and we have diarrhea", I took this in stride. My thoughts were, "They probably ate at a member's house, got some bad food, and they're having an acute attack of food poisoning. " When I asked who was throwing up, she said," Well, no one actually has, but I am feeling so bad, you better talk to my companion." The phone was then passed to the companion. She was having a splitting headache and said the other three were also. She mentioned, "Isn't it strange that we are all sick, all at the same time. Could this be caused by gas?"

A light went on in my head. Yes, it could. Of course! The symptoms; headache, dizziness, and nausea. It fits. Hurry, open your windows, was my command. Let's check with the ER and see what they recommend. The only phone number I had was the one for the ER here in Mendoza. The Sister called the number, and they said to call a local ambulance. Dial #911. OK, I had been told 911 didn't work, but let's give it a try. Within 10 minutes the ambulance was there. The Sisters were on their way to the hospital. The care they received there was great, and they are all doing fine!,

    Looking back, here are the Angel interventions:

  1. Most missionaries call me in the morning and let me know they have been sick all night, and choose to tough it out, or just don't want to call and disturb anyone. Some angel prompted this Sister to pick up the phone and make that emergency call.
  2. Some angel prompted the other Sister to think clearly enough to question, "Could it be gas?"
  3. Another angel made the 911 # work, when everyone has told us it just doesn't work down here.
  4. This small community had an ambulance service that responded likety split.
  5. This very antiquated hospital had staff waiting their arrival and gave them immediate treatment.

Yes, there are angels watching over our missionaries here in Argentina, and everywhere, all over the world.

Monday, June 1, 2009

“Que Linda”

Fall has officially arrived, and the leaves are falling. All of the sidewalks are covered with the leaves from these big, beautiful trees. All the neighbors up and down the street spend time each day sweeping and cleaning their own patch of sidewalk tile. Alas, no one has been cleaning the sidewalk in front of the chapel and the mission office. Probably everyone thinks someone else will do it. The piles of leaves were quite deep and very unsightly compared with all the other sidewalks.

It was a beautiful day. A day that would be much more fun to be outdoors than to be in the office or our apartment. "Come on, let's go do a service project!" With a little coaxing, we soon were both found out front, broom in hand, sweeping these huge leaves into piles. Almost as soon as we swept, I could feel leaves falling on my head and shoulders. Perhaps this is futile. It looked so good. Another Brother and a young Teacher soon found brooms and plastic bags and joined our efforts. "Que linda!" Now the sidewalk will be clean for church tomorrow morning.

As we walked down the sidewalk early the next morning, I almost had to break out in laughter. The sidewalk was once again covered with leaves. It almost didn't look as though we had done anything. But in my heart, I knew I had swept that sidewalk and if even for a few minutes I knew that it had looked great. I guess that can be sort of like things in our life. Things like cleaning the house, pulling weeds, or even helping someone out. Even though the house gets dirty again, or the weeds just come back, or that person still has problems, perhaps, just even for a minute it was "Que linda!" Beautiful for a minute.