Monday, September 15, 2008

We have had rain and cool weather. Some of the trees have started dropping some of their leaves but we haven't seen any turn bright colors yet. We are hoping for a colorful Fall but it may not happen. I guess New England and upstate New York are the places to go for colorful Fall pictures.

So there is the weather report and next comes the "Ag Report". Fall wheat and winter rye are planted and up and the fields look great. Most of the hay fields around here are grass and not the alfalfa we are used to at home but they sure look good. Some have a nice Fall growth that is up about eight inches. 'Makes me want to turn cattle into the fields and graze them off one more time. And many hay fields have big round bales still in them that need to be picked up. Every couple of days we see a tractor rolling down the road with some load. The other day we saw a tractor with a huge wagon that had about twenty five large bales of hay on it. Fall is a wonderful time of year!

Our work continues to be sweet and quite time and energy consuming. Some times other missionaries ask, "What is it that you do?" or "What do you do when you are not at the Institute Outreach Center?" Like just about every other thing that happens in life, if you don't know what it takes to make it happen or put it together you think that some how things just appear all ready to go. Things do appear and just happen after a great deal of work!!

There are the times the IOC is open and we are there and there are many meetings that we attend but what most people don't know is that we also wear a lot of other hats. Sister Karn is what our British friend calls "the galley slave". She does a tremendous amount of cooking. It's like having company come three to four times per week and at each gathering you don't know how many will be coming but you prepare for any number and any number of tastes. And for just about every one of these gatherings she makes dinner and a dessert.

With that said let me tell you that that isn't the full story either. Before the cooking starts there is the shopping and and planning that have been done. We are also the janitors and cleaners for the IOC. The IOC being right next to a bar makes a bunch of trash outside of our door that is left behind and because we don't want a messy place out in front we also clean that on a regular basis. Just about every gathering requires us to make some rearrangements in the furniture and the tables for eating or classes. Then there is the money tracking and the attendance rolls and the world of paperwork to keep up on. It all happens smooth and easy because of the work that happens behind the scenes! It is so worth it!

Now I am going to return to a familiar old song. I know some may feel that I am beating this one to death but there just aren't enough voices speaking this theme any more. I can't begin to tell you of the debt that we owe to the military members and their families. Everyone should know we owe our freedom to those who have gone before us and many paid a huge price that others can not even fathom. To many it is all an academic study in school and then it is forgotten. Our society is becoming more and more of a society that never has to make many sacrifices. We consider having to wait to have a new Ipod a sacrifice. When we have never felt the hardship of separation and felt the risk of loss of life we just can't imagine what it really feels like. And it worries me that few in our society or government have ever served in the military much less felt the pain of lost friends.

Today's military members are doing deployment after deployment and taking the beating for all of us. Until every heart has the courage to stand up and say, "I'll do my share" I think the service members and their families should stand at the front of the line and receive the very best care. In the Vietnam era and prior, there was a draft and the burden of combat was spread over a greater portion of our population. I don't know what is right but my concern is that more and more of our population is uninvolved and apathetic towards freedom, it's cost and those that bear the burden. Our mission to work among the military couldn't be a sweeter one for me. It is an honor to hold the coat of those who carry the burden today. God bless our military men and women and their families!!

With love,
Elder & Sister Karn