Annie wrote a letter to Alice Rampton about mid-day today:
Christmas has been special and different as you imagine. In words it may not sound so...we delivered our gifts and made many more loaves of banana bread than originally planned. We just kept thinking of more whom we should add. It is evident that poverty does not breed gift giving and all is very simple. Today after church we took a walker to an Indian woman who had a leg injury about a year ago. When we first met her, her niece asked us if we could find a walker for her. They had a wheel chair but she was ready to be a bit more active. We have tried all over and not been successful until we saw one at an inactive member’s home. It's bit complicated but in the end we just asked if we could borrow it for a while to see how it would work for Sis. Naicker. When she saw it today she held on and immediately dropped her head and offered a prayer for several minutes. She was crying and looking at us and although she doesn't speak English we could tell she was thanking us. She kissed us multiple times; it was just so touching. She has wanted to go to the temple to be sealed to her husband and two sons who have died. Perhaps now she will be able to get strong enough to do that.
Following that little experience we went to another long time investigator, a young woman who has 5 kids I think. She is not married to their father and he is still married to another woman that he barely knows (we are told). It was an arranged marriage and it lasted for 1 year. Anyway she can't get baptized and he hasn't done his part to divorce the 1st wife (he can’t afford the divorce process and doesn’t seem motivated anyway). They live in abject poverty and currently have to haul water. We were taking some bread and a hymn book to them. She came from the fire where she was cooking, smiling and asked if we would stay to eat...can you imagine? Nothing, and yet she invites us to stay. We didn't but thanked her and will return. This is one of the Elders investigators but we have become friends and are offering help to her "husband" if he is willing/wanting to carry out the divorce.
The day is not finished, we will be joining the family who was sealed in the temple last week for a bit this evening. Bro. Mateiwai is the 1st and only counselor to the bishop and does a magnificent job. He has conducted all of the December meetings and I have not seen someone do it with more dignity and spirituality than he. Today several people were asked (on the spot) to share their experiences in attending the temple, his daughter-in-law was one. Iva is an exceptional young woman; her husband was not ready to be endowed but we hope that will change in the future.
Yes, this has been a special day and all we have had is oatmeal with milk that went bad. We have plumbing problems, it is hotter than heck but for now we're doing just fine.
We did visit the Mateiwai family and take them Christmas gifts (hymn books, pictures we have taken of the family and one that Annie did a fabulous job of framing, some banana bread, a Gospel Art book and an LDS Edition Bible). We had a warm and loving exchange with them and it was so interesting because they loved the Gospel Art book and began going through it and relating many of the stories. When we asked how they knew so many stories they responded that while they were waiting in the temple to be sealed that the Scripture Stories were playing on the TV and they learned them there. They had learned so many and could relay them all.
Then we walked home in a wonderful rain storm, sharing one umbrella and carrying our sandals. It was the first time we have been cool since coming to Ba 3 months ago. I think it dipped down to nearly 80 degrees and the cooling rain was wonderful.