What a beautiful day today has been!
First of all , it is Dale's 65th birthday so a big 'shout out' to him! :D!
We celebrated it the best possible way any missionary could - with a baptism!
Our Jean (from a previous post) was baptized today into The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
|left to right: Sisters Neilson and Batschi, moi, Jean, Elder B, Elders Dahl and Shepard|
His full name is Jean Felissaint so you see, he didn't have far to go- he was already a saint.
He is the kindest ,nicest , soft spoken young man. Everyone who meets him, loves him. I find it interesting that everyone of us who have taught him (see the group photo, plus the Wades) describe him the same way...as a child. Not in a bad way at all, but in the scriptural sense. "And whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:4)
"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." (Mark 10:15)
He is meek and humble and teachable. He comes to each lesson with many thoughtful, intelligent questions but once explained and answered, his response is always the same- 'Oh, I see. That makes sense. I understand.' His eyes light up and you can sense the peace within him. He was searching for the truth, for his purpose in this life, searching to know about why he is here and where he came from and where he is going. He has been a joy to teach and to come to love and know.
We sadly had to bid farewell to another senior couple we have come to love- the Wades. They have been here fulfilling an archival records mission and are in our ward and in our zone so we see them every Sunday and work with them with the missionaries on Fridays. They have served so faithfully in a demanding assignment and we will miss them and their cheery dispositions. They are going back to their Dairy Farm near Ogden, Utah.
I will be cooking Dale a lamb chop dinner to honor him tonight.
We are home this afternoon getting ready for our 2 week journey to the Buffalo/Rochester New York area beginning with an 8 hour drive tomorrow.
Not being one to shy away from celebrations or extending the festivities , we 'partied' all weekend! After our district meeting on Friday where we served the zone pizza for lunch, we headed to Hartford, Connecticut to watch BYU's first game of the season against the University of Connecticut. We won big time- 35-10! So , a very good start to the birthday weekend. It was a perfect, beautiful night.
|Friday Night Lights|
The next day my gift to Dale was a round of golf at a nearby Arnold Palmer designed course. The second time he has played in the past 3 months. He enjoyed it very much.
That night , back home, I 'sacrificed ' and 'let' him go out for a Thai dinner- he loved his Mango Curry!
This week was the funeral of Joshua Smith, mentioned in a previous post. He was a pioneer in the Boston area . The chapel we were sitting in was largely due to him. He was described as the foundation of this place. Following is a quote from a sister in our ward: "I will always cherish his unshakable testimony about the start of what is now Boston Ward. Joshua and his sweet wife Lillian were among a handful of converts (of which Celestine is one) who were given the mission to start a unit in Boston. From that little group, meeting every Sunday in a hall over a bar in Dorchester, came our present day ward and branches..Members,missionaries and babies,too many to count, have been baptized,blessed and called inn Boston because of Joshua.
Since Lillian's death a few years back, Joshua has been unable to attend due to ill health. I wish all of you could have known this wonderful couple. You can.'t think of one without the other. He has been waiting to join her.I am sure she was waiting expectantly on the other side of the.veil. Now they will be together forever hand in hand..This soft spoken couple were our true pioneers in Boston. Those of us who were blessed enough to know them will always remember."
I mentioned before he had had a stroke and a heart attack and was in a nursing home not doing well. Our prayers were answered and he didn't have to suffer there very long and was released from this life and reunited with his wife. Dale was asked to help dress him for the viewing and we both attended the funeral.
It was delightful! I never really thought I would describe a funeral with that word but, in fact, it really was just that. Joshua was Jamaican and so the funeral was part LDS/ part Jamaican. They are a happy, loving people and many gave such lovely tributes to him, with plenty of "uh-huh's", "amens"and similar throaty approvals from the congregation. I loved this! I want Jamaicans at my funeral! The opening prayer was one of my favorites ever- its' entirety was of thanksgiving, given by one of his long time Jamaican friends.
The most touching and memorable part of the funeral was that every single person who spoke talked about him and his wife- it was never just about Josh. It was 'Josh and Lillian'. They couldn't speak of him without speaking of her. Everyone spoke of them as one. I just loved that. They were said to be the perfect couple and that no one could ever say anything bad about either of them- the epitome of kindness, love and sincerity- 'they were the best we could ever have'. They said the moment his wife left (she died a few years ago), he was never the same- he just retreated. So everyone was so happy they are together again.
We and the sister missionaries and some lovely ward ladies helped with the luncheon afterwards.
|Bishop Joshua Smith|
As the funeral events took over our usual PDay, we switched it to Wednesday this week. Fortunately, Susan and Mike were able to change theirs as well. We didn't add another DDD or Best Thing I Ever Ate to our list this time but we did check off another "1000 Places to See Before You Die" ! We visited Portsmouth, New Hampshire claimed to be the prettiest small city in New England. We got a late start due to a Live Web-chat with our Mission President and his wife to all the senior couples in the morning so we didn't see as much as we'd hoped.
We toured an historical district called Strawbery Banke which encompasses over 40 period buildings and several recreated gardens. As it was the hottest day we've had since we've been here, we cut the sight- seeing short and high-tailed it to the beach. We found a lovely area with trees for shade,grass, rocks as well as a sandy beach- complete with 2 lighthouses!
|We try to have ice cream wherever we go! This was rated highly. (as Susan's face confirms)|
|The old lighthouse|
|Isn't this a fun sculpture?|
|The new lighthouse.|
The highlight for me however, was meeting up with one of my very best and dearest friends from our Massachusetts days, Ruth Ramsey Engel and her husband Pete. They live about an hour from Portsmouth and were kind enough to meet us there for a fabulous seafood dinner. Her picture was supposed to be the Biggie for this post but I got so excited about seeing her that I totally forgot to take any photos. But here is one when she was a bridesmaid at our wedding reception. :) Isn't she lovely?
We plan to get together many more times before we leave here so I promise a picture will be forthcoming! It was so very good to visit with them again and Mike and Susan were very good sports :).
Well , that's a wrap! Told you it would be a lot shorter.
It was another memorable week and we go our way, once again, rejoicing!