Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Miracle on Week 54--August 26-September 1, 2013

It was a hot at the first of the week with sunny skies and high humidity. It has been a rainy summer which one of the employees said is not normal. Rain at the end of the week.

Tom spent the time on Tuesday preparing bar charts of adult and youth submissions for temple work and using Family Tree for each of the 10 countries. The Area Presidency is considering the  best location for an additional Family History Area Manager, so the charts he prepared will help them decide. He sent the information to each of the senior missionary couples so they could tell how they were doing.

There was a 3-masted tall ship from Colombia in Victoria Harbour  this week. We got to go on board for a tour thanks to the persistence of Elder Aardema and Tom's Spanish. We had a personal tour from one of the ship's cadet officers. The is a school ship for Colombian Naval officers.
 Garnalee, Joselin, and Sister Aardema on parade deck of the ship.
As we arrived at the ferry the next morning we saw the sailors up on the yard arms preparing to unfurl the sails. The ship was sailing later that afternoon for South Korea then home to Cartagena, Colombia.

We were asked to prepare a one-page document describing to the new Asia Area Mission Presidents how family history can be an effective tool in proselyting. We produced a very nice looking report on using family history in conversion, retention, and activation. We had suggestions on how family history can be used in each area.

Sister Aardema gave the message at our missionary lunch on Friday. Her message was on how each of us has different talents and abilities and to use them as we serve here in Hong Kong. At the conclusion of her presentation she gave each missionary couple a copy of her water color art work she calls "China Doll." It was of an elderly Chinese peasant woman. It was painted from a photograph taken by Sister Dodson when they were serving in mainland China. It is definitely something we will treasure.

The mission is attempting to upgrade the image of senior missionary couples, so this is our new car.

I Wish!

Now for the miracle. When we checked our e-mails on Friday evening there was one from Chad.  He had forwarded it to me from his mother.  It was from a fellow named Dale Majercyzk.  I had no idea who that could be, but I opened it anyway.  He turned out to be a cousin of mine who was a son of my Aunt Shirley, one of my mother's sisters.  He had been looking for me for a long time.  His uncle, Uncle Dale, my mother's brother is 92 and wanted to find out what happened to his sister, and Cindy and me.  He gave me enough information that I knew this wasn't a hoax and emailed him back.  He gave me his cell phone number and the telephone number of my Uncle Dale.  So early this Sunday morning, I called Uncle Dale.  I called twice but got no answer.  I called Dale's cell phone and he told me to call the front desk of the assisted living center.  They would go tell Uncle Dale I was trying to call.  I called his number again after about two minutes and Uncle Dale answered.  He was very glad to hear from me.  He was fearful that something bad had happened to all of us and just wanted to know.  I told him a little about us and promised to write him a letter.  I had interrupted his Notre Dame football game.  For a 92 year old he sounded pretty alert.
The miracle is that we hadn't heard anything about my mother's side of the family for 62 over years.  No one living knows why mom left her family in the early 50s and never made contact with any of them, but the lines of communication are wide open now.  We plan to make a trip to Florida to visit Uncle Dale when we return home, and then on to Michigan to meet all of the rest of our extended family. There are dozens of cousins, spouses, and their families that I didn't know anything about.  Cousin Nancy has lots of family photos of my mother in her youth.  We can only conclude that, because we're being faithful in fulfilling this mission and helping others tie their families together, that the Lord decided to bless us by having my family find us.  We're not sure how the connection was finally made, so we believe it was providence.

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