Thursday, December 2, 2010

Two noteworthy individuals this week

There have been two individuals with whom I have conversed this week that you may find interesting.

George visited our ministry-which-is-the-store on Saturday, the eve of the First Sunday in Advent, which the beginning of the Advent season, preparing for Christmas. George was coveting a special large nativity set that is noteworthy depicting Joseph holding the baby Jesus. Oh, George loves nativity sets. He collects them. “Today I begin setting out my nativity sets” he told me. Knowing that he has collected them for many years, I asked him how many nativity sets he has. “Oh, something like 220 or 230.” It takes George most of the season of Advent to display each of his nativity sets.

George’s wife has put her foot down, harder this year. She insists that he can not bring another nativity set in to the home unless he removes one. George was really captivated by the nativity set with Joseph holding the baby Jesus, but he was also conflicted over making the decision of which nativity would he give up in order to bring home the new one. (We do not display our nativity sets on our website, for several reasons. Mostly we don’t because they are in limited supply and we can order them infrequently. Displaying them on the website “does not compute” with our resources for supplying them.)

Wayne phoned from Alaska today. He had spent about one week visiting the faithful of the Church in Lower Yukon. Wayne says, “You really can’t get there from here, or from almost anywhere.” Upon his return Wayne was thrilled and spiritually uplifted by his interactions with the community in three small villages in Lower Yukon. They do not have telephone service nor do they have TV reception. They live very simple lives of survival in a very primitive place.

Wayne was housed in a village’s government building since there was no room in the small residences of the villagers, and there was certainly no hotel or other lodging. No mall. No shopping center. No chain grocery store. In the winter you travel when the weather allows, and when it doesn’t “you get along.” Wayne described his lodging: wake up and get up from the sleeping bag, wash your face and shave in a bowl of lukewarm water, and eat with others in their homes. The lodgings would not rate even a single star on the hotel five star rating scale.

Wayne experienced a very different world that exists in the U.S. in the 21st century. And, he can hardly wait to return to it! because of the sturdy folk with whom he met.