Monday, July 2, 2012

"Stop the Bleeding" (#42)

Our most time consuming project this week was getting ready to go to Girl’s camp. We cooked, prepared for a First Aid lesson, learned and reviewed how to do at least 7 dances, (the Macarena, the Bunny Hop, the Limbo, the Twist, the Stomp, the Cotton Eyed Joe, and the Hokey Pokey.) The girls loved it, and Sister Johnsen discovered that she can no longer do the limbo, which seemed so easy when she was younger-much younger! (A big thanks to Andi Cook for getting the music to us!)  We prepared lots of games, which we never played because of the rain.

This girl’s camp couldn’t be more different than the one at home.  After a spiritual campfire program, we watched two movies the first night, 7 Brides for 7 Brothers (Every time there was  song, half the girls got up and left to do something; just like we do when there is an advertisement on TV at home. We weren’t sure they were coming back the first time they did it, but as soon as the song was over, they all came back.) Then we watched Princess Bride, and Sister Johnsen fell asleep on the hard wooden bench (she was “only mostly dead,” but true love brought her back and had her sleep on the air mattress we brought).  Saturday morning when we were supposed to play games it was pouring rain, so after the discussion of patriarchal  blessings all the girls went back in to watch A Walk To Remember, which turned out to be their favorite movie of the 3. Afterwards they kidded Elder Johnsen because he cried just as hard at the girls did.  Just as the movie ended the sun came out, and the rest of the day was beautiful—we were on the beach, the food was great, and the afternoon turned out to be wonderful! A perfect day!  

Since we were on the beach we learned about swimming Palauan style! Don’t change your clothes; just go straight into the water! That was a new idea to us.

When Elder Johnsen taught First Aid he started out talking about what to do with a cut or open wound. The first thing he emphasized was to “Stop the bleeding.” After he went through the steps (stop the bleeding, clean the wound, use antibacterial ointment, and put on a bandage, etc.)  he then got off on all different ways that step #1, “Stop the bleeding” could help us in our lives. He suggested that if we have a credit card debt that is out of control, we need to first “Stop the bleeding.” If our lives have become full of misdeeds or mistakes, “Stop the bleeding.” 

Apparently this one phrase made an impact because throughout the rest of the day, we heard people telling each other to “Stop the bleeding!” in all kinds of different situations. Good idea!  First, stop making the problem worse; then, clean up the mess.

Speaking of cleaning, we finished cleaning out the church storage shed last week. During that cleaning we found that there were rotted holes in the back wall of the shed.  As you might expect there was another huge pile of junk behind the shed’s outside back wall; so we tackled that this week. When we actually got to the bottom of the pile we discovered a huge colony of ants. No wonder the shed had an out of control ant problem. Elder Johnsen found lots of ant killer in the shed, and thoroughly enjoyed dousing them with spray.  After pulling all the debris away from the shed, we saw why the inside of the shed was losing materials to water damage, the back wall had rotted away and so water was getting in. We felt that we “Stopped the bleeding!” and we were happy about it! Now we can concentrate on fixing the problem.

We managed to finish one more senior conference presentation this week and with only 8 work days left we still have two more to prepare. We have a full week coming up and need to work on our upcoming CES back-to-school activity which we are super excited about; we also have to help with youth conference.  Elder Johnsen and Rodney, the YM President, came up with the idea to reprise something we did in Cypress Stake some years ago and use the theme “Preparing for the Battle of Life.” The plan is to travel to Peleliu, tour the WWII battle ground, and use those sites to discuss various spiritual applications.   

This week was our priesthood service night. Elder Johnsen has prepared 8 different routes containing about 20 families each.  He made copies of the First Presidency message, and then sent out the priesthood brothers to deliver the message to the families and see how they are doing.  It is actually possible for one team to see about 20 families in 2 hours.  Of course the problem is getting 16 priesthood holders to come help with the routes.  This week Elder Johnsen went out with 3 different partners on 3 different nights to get as many people visited as possible.  We are determined to insure that all these members that we’ve found are never lost again—on two of the nights it was pouring rain and he came back soaked—but very happy! When it’s raining, people are home!  Now 3 other priesthood brothers know where these families live—we’re just trying to “stop the bleeding”.   Before we started priesthood service night there were less than 10% of the families in the branch being visited by home teachers; now we’re getting a message into about  70% of the homes, and seeing at least ½ the members every month.

The work is never finished, but sometimes we get to handle a problem that “Stops the bleeding” and that makes us happy!

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