Monday, November 19, 2012

Letter #9

Leaves are falling all around...

Actually, there are NOT leaves falling all around. We were at a member's home yesterday for lunch and when we left the kids went into the front yard and started throwing little pieces of palm tree and grass in the air. They were trying so hard to participate in the joyful autumn tradition of piling up fallen leaves and throwing them in the air...... Yup, fall is not quite the same in south Florida.

Well, I don't have quite as much to write this week as I did last week. Friday we had a multi-zone zone conference and it was so fun! But the most random experience I had last week was going to synagogue! On Friday night, Sister Spjut and I went with Stella to the Jewish shabbat service. She doesn't actually go to synagogue, but she's wanted to for a while...and since she doesn't like to go anywhere by herself, she wanted us to come. And we were, of course, super excited for the opportunity. It was a cool experience.
We had no idea what to expect, but it was definitely different from what we thought it would be like. It ended up basically being a lot of loud singing in Hebrew. We had prayer books so we could sort of follow along, but I don't know how everyone knew all the tunes since there wasn't any written music. The best part was right at the beginning...they were singing one of the songs that had a lot of "lai lai lai lai lai lai" in it and then the rabbi and the cantor (the singer) started going around the room and grabbing people's hands and pulling them into this big dancing circle. They came by our row and grabbed our hands and so we ended up dancing through the synagogue with them! Super cool/probably one of the more random things I'll be able to say I did on my mission. "So this one time, I danced the grapevine in front of a whole lot of Jewish people while singing in Hebrew..." It must have been a funny sight, these two little Mormon missionaries with their black name badges dancing around the synagogue. It felt like we were straight out of Prince of Egypt or Fiddler on the Roof. I loved it.
So as you can see, it was a cool experience! The rest of the service included a sermon-of-sorts from the rabbi where he talked about the conflicts in Israel and about the story of Jacob and Esau. Then there was a lot more singing and reciting in Hebrew. I've always loved the Israeli modes of music, so it was fun to be surrounded by it for an hour and a half. I also loved how traditional and historic it all felt. I really didn't come out of it feeling spiritually uplifted or enlightened, but it was fun to go. Afterwards they had tons of refreshment in their social hall so we got to go and eat some challah bread they passed around and eat cookies and stuff. They tried to get us to drink some wine...but...well, ya know, word of wisdom and such.... (we took the apple juice instead.) They were all really friendly and the rabbi came and chatted with us afterwards. Apparently he has Mormon missionaries show up at least once a year to his services! He said he'd never had girl missionaries come, though. So that was my little cultural experience of the week. Definitely didn't expect to dance in a synagogue on my mission. :)

Just a few other random tidbits...
--There's an old Polynesian woman in the world who was in a movie with Elvis back when she went to BYU-Hawaii! She showed us a picture of her with Elvis and told us about how they would all sit around talking with him after they were done filming and how he loved spending time with them because they were the only girls who weren't falling at his feet "in love." So fun to meet people and hear about the fun things they've done with their lives.
--Elder Edwards was telling us about the time on his mission when he got to be in a Flo-Rida music video. Flo-Rida is a rapper and was randomly filming a music video at an apartment complex the missionaries showed up to one day. So apparently if you watch his music video "I Cry" you might be able to spot two guys in suits & ties in the background. And then when it was done Elder Edwards gave Flo-Rida a Book of Mormon in which he'd written, "Hey Flo-Rida, this book is awesome. These are God's rhymes." Oh elders.
--We were at the auto shop the other day for an oil change and this guy looked at our nametags, then smiled and said, "Hey, I see you work for JC." (meaning Jesus Christ) That's right we do.
--I got to feed squirrels at the elders' apartment last week! The elders in this area have tamed squirrels for the last 8 years or so and now the squirrels just walk into the elders' apartment and come right up and eat food out of your hands. One of my favorite pictures that we've taken so far on my mission is one of the squirrel taking food from my hand...I'll attach it to this email...

Love you all! Thanks for the letters!

sister dougal

(By the way, the squirrel picture was in a post full of pictures a couple of posts ago.)

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