Sunday, November 2, 2014

Our Last Days as Utah Missionaries

We finished our training and had the week-end free before our flight to Lusaka on Monday morning.  Even though we have been wearing our missionary badges all week,  we have not really worn them away from BYU.

I am used to being called Sister Beal but it is a bigger change for George to be called Elder.  Perhaps it reminds him of  young missionary days.   Of course, “Elder” now could have another meaning too!

First, we had to do mundane things.

It was hard to find a machine since this is the day most of the younger missionaries do their laundry too.

Then we headed off to Salt Lake.  We spent time at the Deseret Bookstore trying to find any kind of teaching aids that might help us.  Now my eyes gloss over all the “whiteness” of the church and I look for what the members and investigators might relate too.  I have brought with me a few books, stickers, and hand-outs.

George found this and I wanted it the minute I saw it!

George and I went to the Salt Lake Temple in the late morning.  We had not been to a temple session there in many, many years.  I think as we went through, we were both reminded of all the sacrifices of the early members of the church and how this really was a monument and symbol of their hard work, perseverance, and spiritual strength.
It was a really windy fall day.

Once again, as I walked the halls, I noticed all the art and wondered how our African brothers and sisters would relate to it.  I was actually feeling a bit frustrated and then I turned the corner to see a large beautiful painting of an African woman dressed in white, kneeling outside in prayer.  In front of the painting, three African women were conversing and they were dressed in native clothing, so beautifully colorful and with magnificent headwraps.  I was stunned.  I wanted to stare but kept on walking.  When I returned a few minutes later and could see the painting close-up, there was a temple worker standing there and I commented on how beautiful it was.  She said “Oh, did you see the three sisters who were here for the marriage and sealing of their friend?  They are from Sierra Leone and how I wished I could have taken a photo.”  Later, outside, we did see some of the wedding party.

Mid-afternoon, we went to visit with George's sister-in-law, Kay Beal.  She lives in an assisted living facility and she had invited all of the members of her family to come over and have lunch with us.  It was really fun to put some of the names we had heard about with the faces.

John Beal and Brian Beal each lived with us in Woodinville for their senior years of high school so we have a special fondness in our hearts for these "boys".

In the evening, we had dinner with some old friends, Kim and Jay Barney, who we know from the years we lived in New Haven when George was in law school.  Jay is now the chair of the Management and Entrepreneur Department at the University of Utah.  We regret we didn't get any photos, but once again we are reminded of how dear those early married friendships are.  Kim and I couldn't stop talking and could have gone on much longer!

So, as I am writing this, we are really down to counting the hours.  It is Sunday afternoon and once again we are in the midst of PACKING.  AGAIN.

You would think that we had done all that, but we have added medications, supplies, and had to rethink the clothes for our 40-hour itinerary to Lusaka.  That's right,  40 HOURS.  That means we have two red-eyes back to back.  We decided we had better take some fresh clothes to change into when we reach Johannesburg so can arrive in Lusaka not looking as bad as we'll definitely feel!

Tonight after the devotional, we will Skype with all the kids, and then collapse into bed.  Will be really be able to sleep though?  I'm not so sure.....