Elder Semken, Sr. Missionary's 8/20/13 ramblings

Hello to all of you,
     Your missionaries are doing well.  We all have our ups and downs, like the waves on the ocean.  Sometimes you're on the crest and other times you are in the trough.  Your missionaries are learning the various lessons of life.
    1.  We had a missionary who got sick in about April and after extensive tests and exams we found the problem; which probably started when he was 10 and finally became a problem.  He is from Africa.  He is the only member of his family.  His father in the Military.  President Weed visited with his dad and his dad said that he was supportive.  The elder wanted to return once surgery and recovery was completed.  We hoped so.  He return home, had surgery and received clearance from his physician that he could do the mission labors.  He returned last week.  We were very pleased to have him back.  Several lessons to learn.  Your missionaries are supportive and will be able to learn many lessons from this experience.
  2.  Your sons will learn some more lessons in the next few months about preparation, like food storage.  They are protected here in this mission.  As I believe I have stated there has been a severe drought this past season.  I am told that many, many crops will not be harvested in neighboring countries as well as Togo and Benin.  I don't know the impact on the economy and food availability for sure, but hopefully it won't be to severe.  But, I do hear some talk.
    3.  This past Saturday the church held its annual service project day.  This year rather than having one major project, the branches were clustered into groups and we had 3 or 4.  I think there were about 500 in Benin who participated.  Some worked at a government institution, hospitals and things like that.  We worked side by side with our neighbors of Africa.  There was a lot of excellent TV and Radio coverage.  One set of elders receive 5 significant teaching engagements.  These people who didn't know us before were excited to see us and participate with us.  When in the service of your fellow man, you are in the service of God.
    4.  The elders learn other great lessons.  Sister Semken and I were on an errand later in the day but before the sun goes down (about 7pm).  We got a call from a recent convert.  She is known very well in her company and whenever anyone needs counsel the owners of this prestigious company approach her and ask her to give counsel.  Well, one of the employees was having some problems following the birth of a child about 3 or 4 months ago.  This convert had visited with her before.
Well this convert requested that we come and give her a blessing.  The boss told her to help solve this employees problem.  So, I asked a missionary companionship to assist me.  We arrived at the office and 6:30.  We were greeted by the owner of the business and taken into his small office.  The employee was there and not feeling well.  The owner left the office and said thank you for coming.  I gave some thoughts in English, translated by the convert and the missionaries.  We then had a kneeling prayer.  Just prior to the blessing I asked one elder to give the blessing.  He had to review how to do it. I don't know if it was his first time or not.  I gave him some further instructions and told him to have patience and take in giving the blessing.  A blessing he gave which will be remember by all of us.  At the conclusion of the blessing the young lady stood up and immediately felt better.  The Elder said that it was a wonderful experience.  Only he knows what he learned.  But, another lesson learned by serving.
    We are proud of the way these young men behave.  They learn the blessings of obedience and the the power that comes from magnifying their calling.  It is our privileged to serve side by side with them.  It is a wonderful thing to see the lessons learned.
            Elder Semken