Bread, Beauty and Brotherhood

This week I experienced some irony. Last week I talked about tests and trials. This week was a trying test. I don’t mean that in a negative way. I don’t expect every day to be an easy day.

Tuesday we had district meeting. My companion gave us some instruction. He did very well. He is becoming a good speaker and has improved his English vocabulary. After district meeting we went out to teach. We had a lot of people “bounce” us. Wednesday we again went to the furthest part of our area where we had several set appointments. We even called them in the morning to make sure they would be there. When we got there not one of them was home. We called them again. Most of them had their phone switched off, but one man answered. We asked him where he was. He told us, “I am on my way. Wait for me I just be a few minutes.” We continued waiting and after 30 minutes we called again. This time he said he was almost there. 40 minutes later we decided to go to our next appointment who ended up not being home. Normally when this happens we try to make other contacts but this area was “bushy” so we saw more animals them people. The next day we were again bounced. Then it rained. We didn’t have our umbrellas and my companion got a flat tire. The weather forecast for this week is rain every day. There are only two seasons in Ghana – rainy and dry.

When we are transferred the bikes stay with the apartment. When the bikes break, we fix them. The next day we walked because we didn’t have time to fix the bike. This same day there was also a wedding party in our compound. Our neighbor’s daughter was getting married. The wedding made it impossible to study because the music was so loud.

We had our stake conference yesterday and it went well.

All of these events didn’t make the week bad, just challenging. My explanation of the week does sound negative but I don’t mean it that way. It is just simply a little contrast for my other wonderful weeks.

Contrast is an important part in making life beautiful. In a conference talk in 1971, John H. Vandenberg quoted Edwin Markham who talked about three things a man must possess if his soul would live and know life’s perfect good. Edwin Markham said, “That our all-supplying Father would give us not only bread, but also beauty and brotherhood.” This week I experienced all three so God is giving me everything I need.

Talking about beauty he says,

“Has the Lord supplied mankind with beauty? Anyone who doubts it need only to open his eyes to the sunrise and the sunset and his ears to the sound of rain and wind, to marvel at the colors of the flowers and the rainbow, to perceive the variety in the scenery of the desert and the forest, the fields of grain, the mountains, rivers, and oceans. At this time of year we are beginning to thrill with the new life of springtime, and as we lose ourselves in the teeming life about us, we become a part of it.”

“All the earth, with no sterility in it, gladdens the heart. In our concern as our brother’s keeper, we can help one another understand the gift of beauty which is ours. Let us take the time to see and to feel and to enjoy all that God has created for us. Margaret L. White brings this responsibility to our minds as we follow her words:”

“I took a little child’s hand to lead him to the Father. My heart was full of gratitude for the glad privilege. We walked slowly. I suited my steps to the short steps of the child. We spoke of the things the child noticed. Sometimes we picked the Father’s flowers and stroked their soft petals and loved their bright colors. Sometimes it was one of the Father’s birds. We watched it build its nest. We saw the eggs that were laid. We wondered, elated at the care it gave its young. Often we told stories of the Father. I told them to the child, and the child told them again to me. We told them, the child and I, over and over again. Sometimes we stopped to rest, leaning against one of the Father’s trees, and letting his cool air cool our brows, and never speaking. And then, in the twilight, we met the Father. The child’s eyes shone. He looked lovingly, trustingly, eagerly up to the Father’s face. He put his hand into the Father’s hand. I was for the moment forgotten. I was content.”

I also like what John H. Vandenberg says latter in his talk. His comments were not on the topic of beauty but brotherhood.

“It seems that man knows no bounds to the physical conveniences he can produce. We boast how our knowledge is expanding as new discoveries are made which open up the materialistic world. Yet progress in solving the problem of how to live with our brethren seems so slow in comparison.”

It is interesting how true this is even within our own homes.

I hope you have a beautiful week. -Elder Orton

Beautiful Ghanaian Skies

Beautiful Ghanaian Skies

Silver linings

Silver linings in Ghana

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