Friday, September 18, 2009

Two new "opportunities"

This week presented me with two first-time experiences: Helping to write an article for the Church News; and teaching English class.

President Dance called me on Tuesday evening to say we needed to write an article for the Church News about the visit of Elder L. Tom Perry, the first Apostle to visit Latvia since it was dedicated for the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ 16 years ago. He laughingly said he didn't want me to sleep that night. He outlined a couple of things--the focus was to be on Latvia, not the Baltics. As I prayed about it that evening and the next morning, several thoughts came to mind.

I began gathering information Wednesday morning and sent a very rough draft to President Dance that day. He pronounced it "phenomenal." I think the "phenomenal" might have been that I could put something together that quickly, more than the actual text. He tweaked it a bit, adding some things from his perspective, having spent time with Elder and Sister Perry, Elder and Sister Rasband and Elder and Sister Paul.

We gathered photos and testimonies and submitted it today to the Area Presidency. President Schwitzer called President Dance to ask for "authors." He named Inara Jegina, the Director of Public Affairs in Latvia, and me! So, perhaps I will be "famous." Or perhaps they won't run the article!

Sister Jegina is also the District RS president in Latvia. Her part was to contact some people and translat the testimony of two members from Russian to English. So many talented linguists here.

The 2nd opportunity, to substitute-teach the English class last evening came because the CES senior missionary who has been teaching it was out of town. He contacted me Wednesday afternoon and said he would email the lesson plan by Thursday morning. And he did--10 pages or so. But it was a very good outline and he had an activity planned. Homynyms was the subject--and yes, I had to be reminded what they are.

Sister Humphrey and I had little time to really prepare. In addition to the lesson (45 minutes) we were to present a spiritual thought at the end for 15 minutes. As I prayed about it Thursday morning, I felt impressed that we should teach about the Holy Ghost. I spent a few minutes before leaving for the office, looking up some scriptures.

The class consisted of only 4 students, each of whom speaks far better English than I speak either Russian or Latvian. They each had a different reason for wanting to learn English. A young woman is looking at educational opportunities, perhaps in England. A young man wants to enjoy cultural opportunities that are available in English. A grandma wants to be able to communicate with her little grandson who lives in England, and the 4th, an older (yes, older than me, probably) woman who wants to be able to understand the TV and internet that are in English.

The class was very interactive, naturally, and it was just a neat experience for Sister Humphrey and me. The spiritual thought went well, too.

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