It has been brought to our attention that perhaps not everyone in the world knows where the Samoan Islands are. Perhaps the following picture will help. This is the famous map in the MTC where many missionaries point to the country to which they have been called to serve. Walking down the hall in the MTC, we immediately recognized the map we had seen so many times before in pictures taken by other missionaries. (After this map was created, the International Date Line got moved a few hundred miles to the east, thereby putting Samoa on the same day as New Zealand and Australia.)
Erin is in town for the big “Comic Con” in Salt Lake City. She is here in Utah watching the teenage girls of a friend of hers who is on a short vacation with her husband. Last night she and the girls she is watching and Scott and Madisen came down to Provo and we all went to dinner. One of the girls in the back is dressed like a Hogwartz student; Erin is Wonder Woman (she has a cape on her back). It was great having two – or rather, three, counting Madi – of our children with us here in Provo. After dinner we went to the BYU Creamery for ice cream. Delicious!
The fireside, or devotional, Sunday night was very interesting. The speaker was Stephen Allen, general director of the missionary department of the Church. He has helped make or produce a number of LDS-related films, including “Mr. Krueger’s Christmas,” one of my own favorites, starring Jimmy Stewart.
Brother Allen encouraged missionaries to keep mission rules. He gave the following example of the kinds of trouble they could get into by not following the rules. He told of a couple of “really dumb” missionaries who sat up late one night talking about stuff, when one of them announced he knew how to make a bomb. As I understood the story, to prove the point, they went out and bought certain chemicals and stuff from a hardware store and actually made 10 small bombs. (Making bombs, by the way, is most definitely against mission rules!) They took one outside a good distance from any other houses and set one off. And it worked! And it made a big noise! And it attracted the attention of the local chief of police who lived not far away! And the police came to their door. And the police searched their apartment and found 10 bombs. And the police found a big map on the wall with pins on the wall showing the sites of the missionaries’ contacts, about 10 of them. And the missionaries all went to jail for a while until the matter could all be cleared up. Stupid, yes, but what a great story.
Brother Allen also cautioned the young elders that just because a young sister missionary smiles and says hello, "that does not mean she is in love with you." He told the missionaries to "lock your hearts" for the next 18 or 24 months. He quoted from the Doctrine & Covenants 4:2, "Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength."
I bought a hat to keep the sun off my nose, so as to not discolor the patch of skin on my nose that the doctor transplanted from the side of my face. I kind of like the hat; Alicia says it will take some getting used to.
This picture was taken across the street from the MTC. Erin had brought us some hamburgers and we sat on a bench and ate together. It was nice to see her one last time before we depart for the Islands.