After we receive notification of a new Elder or Sister coming into our mission, we send out a packet of information and requests. Two of the questions that new missionaries are asked to respond to are: 1) Why do I want to serve a mission?" and 1) What do I expect to accomplish while I am in the mission field?" We may be getting mostly teenagers coming out, but they're wise and spiritual beyond their years.
Today I opened one letter from a future LABR missionary, and I'm going to share some of the things that were written just to show the caliber of youth today, as so many of the letters express similar sentiments.
"Why do I want to serve a mission? ...The biggest passion I have is this gospel!! I know with all of my being that it is true and right. Most importantly, right for EVERYONE! I want to serve. I want to be a missionary so I can teach the people of Louisiana about their Savior and Father in Heaven...The things I expect to accomplish are a mystery. I don't know what will happen. I don't know exactly what I will go through. All I know is the Lord will shape me and mold me and guide me to my full potential. I know this will happen as I continue to trust in Him. I know this mission will change and benefit my life forever."
This is typical of all the missionaries that have been coming in or will be here soon. How fortunate we are to be so blessed here in Louisiana!
It's been a while since we've taken an overnight road trip, so we decided to head north to Natchez and Mississippi. Things don't change much when you cross the state line. It's still green and beautiful, but the roads become smoother to ride on. There's an obvious budget difference for transportation between the 2 states! We spent 2 nights in Natchez, but travelled to and back from Vicksburg on Saturday.
After a bite to eat on Friday evening we went on a horse-drawn carriage ride. What a delight. Gus, our tour guide, was fun and knowledgeable and has been doing this since high school--a 20 year veteran. You could tell he'd studied and done a lot of reading so he could share details about the town, homes and people. He's with his horse, Hal, the smiling horse. After our ride, which, by the way, was on a most perfect evening, I was able to feed Hal a cookie. Gus has trained him to actually smile before you feed him, which is what I did. I had Marc take pictures, which he did. He took 3 of them and none showed Hal smiling. Marc is now fired for any future photography engagements!
The First Presbyterian Church of Natchez was organized in 1817, but this but this building wasn't built until about 1929. Unfortunately you can't see the clock on the cupola on top, but it has Roman Numerals on the face. This particular clock has a IIII instead of IV. No one seems to really know why, but it's a beautiful church and is said to be one of the "finest examples of Federal Style architecture in the state of Mississippi."
The rest of the pictures I took didn't turn out because it was too dark, so we went back on Saturday morning and took some so we'd have something to show from our carriage ride.
One fun stop was at the city hall to learn about, Tripod, the City Kitty. Tripod was a 3 legged orphan cat that kind of moseyed her way into the building and hearts of everyone at city hall. Someone fed her once and she became a part of the team. She wandered the halls and slept on desks at night. She remained there for 4 years, and when she died they took up a collection to bury her and make a little headstone. They collected so much money ($80) that they named her the "city kitty" because her fund had more than the city of Natchez. The city, at the time, was bankrupt!