Every mission is different for Senior Couples. This mission is different than our mission to Cote d'Ivoire. We were called to be the "Office/Proselyting" couple there and worked under an Ivorian Mission President. It was the hardest thing we have ever loved! But we learned to just TRUST in the Lord and as we relied on him every single day, we made it through.
So besides being a support for the 8 Elders here (which we truly love), we are trying to prepare ourselves to be "instruments in the hand of the Lord" for the three Branches. We had an experience this past week about "instruments" and how valuable they can be. This is a picture of a carving we saw as we traveled home one day last month from the market.
We drove by very slowly and admired the work of the "artist". I loved the chiseled lines that all came together to form the eyes, nose, lips, which turned out to be this magnificent "bust" of an African. All of this was inside of a block of wood, it just needed the skilled hands of years of experience and the tools to bring it all to pass.
This is "Giscard" who is a "carver". We found out that he did not carve the African bust, but that it was one of his "colleagues". As we talked with him we found out that He has had many years of experience in his trade. Notice the wood chips all over the ground and notice the elephants by his side. These are all evidences of his work that he takes so seriously.
This is his "workplace". This is where we first saw him and talked with him about his work. We asked him if he could carve us a "Crèche de Noël" which is French for "Nativity". He got a huge grin on his face and told us that he knew how to do this. He went over each piece with us... Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, the wise men, shepherds and lambs. He told us he would make it out of a special wood called "Gris", and that it came from up north. We gave him our telephone number, and told him to call us when it was done.
Last Wednesday, which was about 1 month from when we talked to him, he called to say our Creche de Noël was ready to be picked up. When we arrived he was putting the final polishing on. He took an old paint brush and dipped it into a neutral shoe polish. Then he "dabbed" each piece.
Finally, he "buffed each one. Here he is buffing the manger.
Giscard is chiseling out four "tusks" here, to put by the elephants. trunks. When we went to pick up our "Creche" he had two elephants that he was taking to market. We fell in love with them so we added them to our Nativity.
Here is one of the Wisemen. I fell in love with his face and the beautiful lines that are so African.
Mary's hands were folded in prayer and her head was bowed. I saw purity, and reverence in her face and the serenity that only the Mother of our Savior would have. She was beautiful !
This is our beautiful Nativity. If you will notice, there is one extra person. We haven't quite figured out who he is, but we are not complaining. We couldn't help but admire the handiwork of a "Master" carver whose tools were used to create a masterpiece!
These are Giscard's instruments. By his hands he used each one to make our Créche de Noël.
Elder VanAusdal with Loubecki
Intruments for the Lord.....
On Saturday, March 29th, Elder VanAusdal baptized Loubeki. It was a speciall baptism in spite of the rains that threatened. These young Elders have been called to be "instruments in the hands of the Lord," and through their obedience and faith the Lord uses them as remarkable tools to gather His people. They are helping to "carve" within each and every convert a knowledge of who they really are..... sons and daughters of God. We are thankful to be part of the "Hastening the work of Salvation and Instruments in the hands of our Savior.