The Good People of Saint George
Top of the mornin' to ya!!
I'm really sorry to disappoint, but people don't actually say that here,
unless they are the Relief Society's cheeky husband, who like to say things on the phone like,
Are you the new sister mormonary?
I am indeed!
Where are you from?
St. George, Utah!
So why didn't they send you to Idaho then?
Did you serve a mission?
Yes ma'am, I went to Scotland!
Isn't that the equivalent of me going to Idaho?
Antrim is kind. It's sunny. And if it's not sunny, you don't have to worry because it will be in about 5 minutes! The people here are lovely. There are lots of cats in lots of colors and most everyone is happy to stop on the street and have a conversation with you! They love Americans and prepackaged pancakes.
Earlier this week, however, I just wasn't having it. I was kinda missing home, kinda missing Irvine, mostly just missing "something". I was laying on the floor at the time, doing some pitiful sit ups in the wee hours of the morning and I flopped to the ground one last time in defeat. I happened to glance to the left, where I saw the corner of an Ensign magazine peeking out from under a dresser!. I pulled it out, flipped it open to a random page, and right there in front of my homesick eyes were the words, "THE GOOD PEOPLE OF ST. GEORGE" And I thought, HEY! That's who I'm missing right now! And I read it! (While pretending to stretch, so that I wouldn't be considered apostate)
It's an article about a man from Chile who heard about an address by President Snow in which he blessed "the good people of St. George" during a time of drought. The author said, "That phrase, "the good people of St. George" left a lasting impression on my young mind. Since I lived in Chile, I tried to imagine what kind of faithful Saints "the good people of St. George" must be. I wanted to meet them."
Years later, he finally makes it to St. George, and he finds that the people are quite...normal. They were nice, they were faithful, but when he returned to Chile, he said he realized that he had seen the "good people of St. George" before!
He said, "In Antofagasta, I have seen Latter-day Saints who fight for what is right every day. In Vallenar, Copiapo, Caldera, Tocopilla, and other cities, I have seen members who get on their knees to pray and then move forward even when things aren't easy. When I see faithful Latter-Day Saints who obey and endure--no matter where they live or what challenges they confront--I say to myself, "These are the good people of St. George."
Aye, so they are!! I realized, laying on the floor that dark and wet morning in The Middle Of Nowhere, Northern Ireland, that I am surrounded by the very people I am missing.
There is Sister Pugmire, who fights the good fight every day and always does so with a smile.
There is Ronnie, who is 84 years old but takes the missionaries out to visit people every week and has since the dawn of time (and this branch)
There is Collette, who is blind but still insistent that we eat the treats she gives us.
There is Dorothy, who has been investigating the church for 41 years and has the sweetest smile and wouldn't let us leave until she knew we had somewhere to go for dinner that night.
There is Leslie, who's car never works but she still finds a way to carry this branch on her shoulders.
There is the random man in the street, who always smiles when we see him and accepts a pass along card, even though he probably has the full deck by now.
There is Les, who keeps his chin above the water even though he's been fighting for his health for years and made time for the 2 little girls that showed up on his porch right when he got home from a long day at work.
There is Evon, who is just so confused and is searching for the truth and true nature of God despite her atheist family.
There is the pentacostal lady that prayed for Sister Pugmire in the gift of tongues yesterday in the middle of an intersection.
There is Jackie and Seana and Claire and the Mirons and Patricia and Sarah and the Elliots and so many other people that I love so dearly and remind me of the good people back home and my God who is the reason I left you all in the first place.
I'm home, I'm happy, and I'm grateful for every day that I get to spend in the service of our Heavenly Father. I am meeting people every day for what I know isn't the first time, and saying goodbye to so many people that I know I'll see again. That's the beautiful thing about this gospel, isn't it? We don't believe in goodbyes and it's a wonderful thing to hope for.
Well my friends, how are you? I think about you lots and lots and probably too much and would love to hear how you're doing.
Sister Pugmire and I are doing grand, we laugh all the time and sing almost constantly and she doesn't judge me when I stick my head out the window and lose one of my glasses lenses in the process, she just takes a picture to make fun of me and goes outside to help me find it. She loves Jesus and plants and sometimes when we are eating our frozen pizza I teach her a Taxonomy 101 lesson and she teaches me about rugby.
The miracles are rolling and the miles are tolling. Just kidding I actually love walking for 3+ hours every day. It's like Disneyland!
Have a great week in the happiest place on earth, wherever you may be!