Missions are more exciting than we expected!
There is excitement everywhere! Never did we think that a mission would be so thrilling and adventurous. After all, our assignment is working in an office. You might think maybe a paper cut or two! We did agree to serve wherever we were needed – on the mountain high, or over the stormy sea, or maybe at the battle front, wherever the Lord would have need of we (us didn’t rhyme.) At first we found navigating around a new city to be exciting. Shopping for food is certainly an adventure. Getting the hang of nodding our heads for no and shaking them side to side for yes causes all kinds of interesting consequences.
But this time Bulgaria out did itself! As we peacefully slept in our warm bed, it suddenly began to tremble and the wardrobe doors were rattling sufficiently to wake the dead. My first thought was that we were back in Riga and the biggest semi in the world was rumbling along the street next to our building. Once we became more alert we realized it was an earthquake! As is often the case, two or three aftershocks followed the main attraction. Many people ran out into the streets for fear of their building collapsing on top of them. That is where they spent the remainder of the night. Come to find out, Sofia has not had an earthquake in 95 years. I am so glad we got here in time for it! In the morning we learned that it was a 5.6 with the epicenter just outside of the city. Thankfully, there was not any real damage or injury from the quake. But there were a lot of apprehensive people.
While you are experiencing a quake, you can’t help but wonder how long the shaking will last. There are many times in life when we wonder how long ‘the shaking’ will last such as – a toothache, unemployment, terrible twos, diapers, the flu, a headache, allergy season, a boring meeting, and the list goes on and on. And, just like after an earthquake, you have a new appreciation and joy when the trouble (shaking) has passed. Nevertheless, it may be hard to remember that when you are in the middle of the quaking.
So, I guess the moral of the story is … ponder the good things in your life, be thankful for them now. Life is full of change and tomorrow may bring unanticipated challenges. But, uh - don't worry - be happy.
Chicken Salad and the Front Door
This week we were reminded of how important simple things are. One morning before going to the office, I made some chicken salad from a recipe given to me by a friend who makes the best chicken salad in the world. It seemed a perfect way to put some leftovers from Sunday’s roast chicken to good use. It had been a while since I had made it and our mouths were watering all morning as we waited for lunch. At the appointed time we headed for the bakery to get a fresh loaf of bread which would only be fitting for our noontime treat.
We chatted happily as we approached our apartment door. Maybe I should pause here to first explain our door. It is a very heavy, solid door with a set of locks that include 4 dead bolts and a sturdy rod that goes up into the frame and down into the door. Locking this fortress requires turning the large skeleton key four times as these mechanisms slip into place. We feel quite safe and secure. Well, back to the story, as we put the key into the lock – nothing happened. The rod, which seems to go into place last, would not budge. Try as we might this mighty fortress of a door stood between our growling stomachs and the food we were anxiously anticipating. No manner of cajoling or threatening could dislodge those stubborn locks. The key actually looks like this key.
This was a whole new paradigm! Locked out of our house with the key in our hand! A solution to the problem was to calls to the landlord (the first time he thought we lost our key - not his problem), a locksmith (who managed to get into an automobile accident on the way) as well as more than one walk between the office and the apartment in a torrential downpour.
Lunch consisted of plain, fresh bread with a bottle of water and a Tootsie Roll. Once the blessed locksmith cleared the jam and we were back in our humble home, we had a fresh appreciation for how glorious it is to come home. All was not lost; we ate the chicken salad sandwiches for dinner.
Also this week we were without water for a while on Sunday and today our hot water is MIA. All these things can be taken in stride when you remember that, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one…” and “all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly…” A mission is so great that we need these little reality checks to keep us on the ground.
Elder & Sister Segeberg