Growing and Learning Much
It’s Friday for me. This being a day ahead of family and friends is very strange. It is also strange to think that many of you will be parading and barbequing on the 4th of July while I’m attempting to keep warm in 42-degree weather. But I’m not complaining—winter here is much milder than winter at home. The only problem is that my body is out of whack—it keeps telling me that winter is past, but instead it’s just beginning.
This Wednesday as we traveled to Ashburton to teach Institute we got to teach in their new chapel for the first time. It is a beautiful building and everyone was so excited for it. It was like watching children at Christmas! But more than the excitement it was especially wonderful to watch their reverence and respect for the room and furnishings. They were not about to take that beautiful building for granted, and their gratitude showed in so many ways. I hope they never lose that attitude
I love teaching in Ashburton—the young people are hungry to learn and so loving. Usually we have refreshments after class, but last week the bishop had asked them not to have refreshments in the new building until it is dedicated. That was fine with us, but to our surprise after class we were presented with two delicious Chinese take-away meals (one vegetarian!) with the words, “We couldn’t have food in the building, but we didn’t want you to go home hungry so we bought this for you.” Their thoughtfulness made me cry!
Each week we get a few new faces at the Christchurch Institute, but with it being a uni break (that’s what university is called down here!) there were also many on holiday this past week. When everyone gets back in town we will have quite a crowd. It is so exhilarating to hear what these young people have to say about the gospel and to watch the lights go on in their eyes as they catch hold of new principles or come to understand old principles in new ways. They have brought two non-members to class, one of which is being baptized on Saturday. I’m really not sure who is learning the most, me or them. However, I am very grateful for what they are teaching me about love.
I’ve watched as teenage boys give their parent’s friends a hug when greeting them and they do it as naturally as if the friends was their own mother. There isn’t the same type of generational divisions here. Everyone is one big family and they look out for and treat each other—young ones to old ones—that way. I love it!
Tomorrow we leave for Dunedin to do some training with Seminary teachers and to meet with the priesthood leaders over seminary and institute in the Dunedin Stake. It is a beautiful drive down the coast and I’ll tell you all about it next week!
Love to you all!