Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green.

"It's Not Easy Being Green."
Most of the missionaries here don't know Kermit the frog. But when my little brothers were growing up we relished the song lamenting his color.  

In 2013, when we met Bishop Gallo, temple secretary in our Honduras mission, he watched our best effort to straddle Spanish and shared an encounter he had with a classmate of his six year old daughter visiting Nevada. "I know Spanish!" The friend quipped.

And as fast as she could roll her r's, she rattled off: "Verde, verde, verde!" (If you listen to Sesame Street or go to school with Eleanor and Thomas, you will easily recognize "green, green, green!")  
If that was not good enough, she then quipped, "Rojo, rojo, rojo!". (Red, red, red!)
Here is Bishop Gallo, his engineer wife, and a daughter wearing pink, pink, pink!

Being new on the Coban block has its advantages.  We don't know everyone's names but we also are blind to some perplexing problems, so inviting Elder Starkey into a meeting or two seems to occasionally add a different set of eyes and perspective.

We are Verde, Verde, Verde. The important part is not being rojo, rojo, rojo (red, red, red.)  

And here is why a person might blush:  no one blinked much of an eye when our yeast did not work for Elder Willits' cinnamon rolls and we traversed the neighborhood to inquire if anyone had levadura de cerveza.  Translated literally that is" leavening for beer, " which I assure you I was not making. It is the price one pays for using an offline translator, and for having a three month gap between the last senior couple and yourselves in inhabiting an apartment.

No one had any yeast but the old yeast finally decided to grow, and the birthday has its moment. We learned on the mixing and eating, the importance of remembering salt.  For salt has its savor! 
We are not overly red from embarrassment in  making errors to the left or right--we are simply plugging along hoping some of what we are trying to do well so somebody some good.  And we happen to have been meeting some salt of the earth persons. 

One of these persons is a young graduate of exercise science from Texas A&M University.  At age 19, coming home from taking a big group of tests he was approached by some young men who spent 10 minutes teaching him that there is such a thing as prophets today. They  encouraged him to research for , which he did.  When he read the word "restored" his interest was pricked.  "One word converted me," is how he describes it. He deferred his career plans and is now serving a two year mission in Guatemala. 

"But why wonder, why wonder why?"
We had a Tri-zone conference yesterday, which translates to sixty six missionaries coming from as far as three and four hours away by bus.  
                                          Cobán  Zone
                                                       Alta Verapaz Zone
                                                                                       Baja Verapaz Zone
          I don't have a stitching tool, so here are the zones in stages!

One of the first activities was to report on a study assignment of the last three months.
Two missionaries were randomly selected... All came prepared.  Maybe being green explains why it might be just a little impressive trip watch a nineteen to twenty five year old stand extemporaneously and passionately and detail how understanding the sacrifice of a Savior could help him meticulously work to better his life.  The sister who has the floor next was no less enthusiastic or eloquent. Elder Starkey and I watched the clock--big job!

If I were to have had the honor, which I figured was a two percent chance or less, my message might have been to remember the Sunday night before entering the Missionary Training Center, as I woke at 3 a.m. not being able to sleep, and found a daughter at the computer downloading file after file to secure a complete backup to help us leave without worry.

I sat beside her, wishing I could relieve some of her pain.  I loved that she loved us enough to help me through this... And I vowed in my heart to do better, to try to order my life a little better so no one would have to suffer like this again, at least for me!

As we sat and waited for the folders to load, one by one, I remembered an article from January's Ensign, "Can you not watch with me one hour?" It likened Christ's words to the disciples to us, as we watch what we think about during one hour of the week when we are invited to remember our promises and resolve better to keep them.

Later on the zone meeting we learned about goals, how setting them is Godlike, as worlds were created by planning.  Beautiful things come in ideas first. 
And then when minds and hearts join even better things can happen.
Interesting--one of the chapters
featured"bored Mormons"
(sober BYU students) who went
house to house trading for
something "bigger and better."
Beginning with something small, like a
thimble, they ended up with a TV or a car.
(Out of small things...)

Visiting Allina, Mark, and Riley earlier this month I found a book in Jordan's bedroom that impressed me about successful entrepreneurs, who Mark explained to me earned their progress by dreaming big and then working for small wins.

Mark's example was the maker of Tesla car, who asked his employees to reach for technology that can help him die on Mars.  His time table is years not centuries and his helpers are cracking heads today.
We saw a video with President Eyring teaching how when he is tired, he remembers what Christ did the night before his death and how he spent time reaching out to the souls in the spirit world between his death and his resurrection.  That consecrated life was not focused upon laurel-resting--it was about serving, healing, lifting and reaching one by one without worrying about where to rest His head.

Well, I am not resting, because I promised to write. We are pumping air into a teeny tiny motel room near Salamá--be careful when you say you'd like to save money---they might take you up on it--where we taught music in a brand new chapel to youth from ages seven to seventy two.

Here is looking at Salamá from the middle of the 2 hour drive to arrive 
And here is a peek at a few of the young people (and older) that came to our music class.  "Da-a" is how the church directing book counts time.  And these children can count time!
18 signed up,  26 came.  And 50 more were invited.  Want to direct music?  Get a one way ticket here, come and help!

We heard this week Kaleb got his Bear badge.  In Spanish the verb "to venture or to dare" is "osar" --and "oso" is bear.  Missionaries need to "osar."

Good work, Kaleb and Kaleb's fan club, chief cooks and bottle washers!  

Nephew, Daniel Gee, celebrates a different perch this of the few eagles we know who landed at age twelve and continues to fly at thirteen.
  Speaking of landing and flying, another change happened this week. 
 Fourteen landing...            
and seven flying home,                  


 including our focused and friendly mission nurse.
 This transition is making a few people green in breaking heads to conquer technology that is written to help but at times feels like rojo, rojo, rojo ( red) tape. 

     Red tape or no, the Starkey apartment officially went green this month.  Peppermint, rosemary, chives, and something we did not recognize the name for but it's supposed to be good with chicken. Only the basil died and only the chives could use a haircut.  

Speaking of haircuts, Elder Starkey did himself proud... No calipers needed this time with my "give a moose a muffin" haircut.

You know, when you get one side done, it is just a little shorter than the other, and way leads on to way and that had made all the difference!

Message to Kaleb.  On St Patrick's day Grandpa forgot to wear green and was soundly pinched.  Sometimes its not easy not being green!

We are rooting for a turning three year old whose muffin hair is rojo, rojo, rojo.  Christmas in March--her parents like the 25th.

            Remembering days when Anna had a little less hair, but still rojo, rojo, rojo!
 or maybe a little rosada--going pink

We are red with envy but too green to fly the celebrate with and for us.
We love you!