Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Of All the Places....

From the very first time that the concept of a mission enters your mind, to planning and preparing to serve,  to the time that you actually submit those papers to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, dreams of where you will be sent dance in your mind.  

I first thought of places where family are living.   Our dear daughter-in-law, Fiona, is originally from Taiwan.   Her mother, brother, and sister live in Taipei City.  

What a privilege it would be to meet Fiona's family.   Of course, I would have to learn Chinese to communicate with them.   I never felt confident that I could do that.   Nonetheless, it was a great dream.   

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was also a delightful thought since Mike and Gabi Loose, our nephew and his wife, just moved there this year.  

Again, another language was at hand.   Gabi and I talked about how fun it would be that we could talk "the talk" with one another.  Mike and Gabi have been "super" cousins to our boys in Calgary and we all miss them greatly.  So being assigned to Rio was a dreamy possibility.   

There were many genealogy connections such as, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Virginia, New York, Ontario, or Quebec.

 If it was going to be in the United States or Canada,  I was just hoping for something east of the Mississippi where my missionary efforts could take in the living and the dead.

Europe was always in my thoughts.  Going back to the country of some genealogy roots was thrilling.  Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland?   Brian's grandfather, Fred Walburger, was born in Germany in 1879.  It has been 132 years since Fred left his homeland and his native tongue to live in "Zion".   

Only 1 cousin of Brian's family, Mark Walburger, was ever assigned to a German mission. I thought Brain may be the second. 

There was another of Brian's ancestors that I had thought of but pushed it aside quite quickly, thinking there was nothing going on there with the Church. Samuel Amos Woolley was Brian's great-great grandfather.

                                            Samuel Amos Woolley

In August 1852, Samuel attended a special conference in Salt Lake City where President Brigham Young would issue mission calls to men who were attending that meeting. Samuel was a 26 year old husband and father of three children.   I wonder what Samuel and his wife, Catherine, talked about when he came home to report that he and 8 others were asked to go to Calcutta East INDIA Mission.  He had no one to talk to who had been there before because those 8 were some of the first missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in India. He didn't even have time (nor took the time) to go to a library (that is an 1850's equivalent to Google!) to learn what was ahead of him. 

Samuel arrived, in April 1853, in Calcutta.  Visas were not an issue then but he had traveled first by wagon train to get to San Fransisco.  They waited and worked there til everyone arrived and they boarded a ship January 1853.   I'm sure the populace of 400,000 people in Calcutta was a bit over whelming for this small town Salt Laker. 

Now that we know that our assignment is also India, I wonder, will we see the same things that Samuel saw?   Will its antiquity be as charming as its newness was when Samuel saw it for the first time?  

New Delhi had only 600,000 people in 1853 when Samuel walked its streets but today its the same streets just more people.  I look forward to seeing what Samuel saw.....feeling what Samuel felt.....and continuing the work Samuel started. 
Of all the places.... I would have never guessed......