Monday, April 30, 2012

Lower Lights, Ice Cream & Racism

I'll be sure to devote some time to an email to Josh today. It's important that I give him what advice he can get... Leaving home is a hard thing, but I think he'll be better off than I was considering that he's used to being away from home/girlfriend/etc. The thing that will be hardest for him I think is the cultural adjustment. No matter where you go, it's pretty darn drastic!

I love the hymn "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy". It's always been one of my favorites as a missionary... And I think I can say that I'm kind of a "lighthouse person." What I mean I guess is that I'd love to live right on the ocean with a lighthouse nearby. It's just the most appealing thing in my mind! So then when I picture people hurridly "burning the low lights", it just touches me. You would think that a single light on the shore of a massive coast would be the most insignificant thing, but to those battling the waves, it's life-saving. It's such a powerful metaphore for the power of one righteous individual! Never should even the humblest of persons discount their spiritual power and potential.

Today was a sweet day! It was super P day at the beach! We had a lot of fun soaking our feet in the waves small ;-). The closest thing to swimming in two years! The sun totally flogged me though. I get a lot of "Washingtonian" comments from these other American losers who, for whatever reason, just can't get sunburned! It's all good fun though. I'm so proud to be from the Pacific Northwest! It's the only place I can call home (after Sierra Leone, of course).

We played, ate, soaked in the sun, and enjoyed. We went with Elder and Sister Krumm back to their apartment afterwards (just me and Elder Willis), and they took great care of us. They gave us REAL ice cream! Elder Krumm said that he'd try and find you and Mom on Facebook so that you could see some pictures. They're pretty sweet! I couldn't help but remember our family vacation to Hawaii. The beach was exactly like the ones there, on the sand here was a little more coarse. A good day!

As far as other things that happened this week, my appointments to get new glasses took a hefty chunk out of our teaching time this week. This past monday was P day, Tuesday was district meeting, and afterwards we had to travel all the way to town, and basically consumed the whole day with getting the examination and things. They next day, wednesday, we had to do the same thing, but in the end, I got some pretty sweet new specs. I got a black plastic frame that makes me look like Elder Svongwa, so I like them. They also tint a little in the sun, so it's okay for my eyes.

The thing about the whole experience that would shock you is just the pure RACISM that the people at that hospital have! Their eye examination pricing was as follows:

$500 Liberian Dollars (around $7 USD) for a Liberian citizen
$35 USD for a foreign black
$45 USD for a foreign white.

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? I was pretty darn outraged. Truthfully spoken, one of the things that I will love so much about being home is NOT being noticed for the color of my skin! That's one of the only things that I've truly detested about being a missionary here in Africa: Being white!

After that, it was some pretty standard teaching. We had a pretty funny experience where we were teaching a woman about the Book of Mormon, and when we pulled out a copy to hand to her, she recoiled in fear! It was hilarious. She had heard from her church that it was a daemonic book, and that those that read it become in correspondence with dark spirits. We dispelled that. She took the book, and paused in silence for a moment. When she spoke again, she said: "God says I must not lie. My name isn't Fatu [like she had told us]. My real name is Esther." She said that she was genuinely afraid that if she gave her real name that we would take it to the church to give to daemons to come and find her. Oh man, it was funny! People say the darndest things about us.

Well, I'm running out of things to say. Things are good, the work moves onward. I am pretty sad that exchanges have to be conducted tomorrow, because I hate being away from Elder Willis. I na mi best padi. We work so well together. It's just been so surprising to me to see how two men from very different upbringings and interests could grow so close as friends. The church is so very true!

Love you all so much!

Elder Vaughan

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