November 08, 2008
Email from T
Baby Girl kissing her Daddy on the computer screen
It's now about 9:16 PM here (2:16 pm there). My internet connection is a bit finicky so I was not on right at 2pm. Instead, I'll write you a longer email. I appreciated the message you sent. You are a good writer and I'm proud of you for being such a good girl.
Today was a good day for me. I slept in until about 7am, showered and made it to the aid station by 8am. I took care of a few clinic notes from yesterday and saw a soldier with nausea & vomiting. I read some of my neuro-ophth textbook until about 11:30 when I went to lunch. I had beef stroganoff and a little treat of ice cream. Church was next at 12:30. It's a bit different here. There is no prelude music. The group leader started the meeting off by asking us to go out front for a picture. "Be sure to bring your weapons and no headgear" (we have to carry our weapon where-ever we go). After the group picture (which I'll send you if I get a copy), we had the sacrament. I don't think I've ever had the sacrament passed to me before by someone in shorts, a T-shirt, and a 9mm Baretta pistol strapped to their belt. This, however, is an approved Army uniform, so I guess it's ok. I think I would have preferred someone in cammo packing the 9 mil instead. We had a short testimony meeting in which I bore my testimony. I said that I was thankful for the guidance given to me by the Holy Spirit. I quoted D&C 84:88 which states that "my angels shall be round about you to bear you up". That scripture really speaks to me. I also told a short story which I'd like to tell you now:
Last week the commander told me I would accompany him to visit a powerful/influential Sheik in the area. He is quite old and as a gesture of goodwill, I was to give him a medical evaluation. I also found out that we'd be having lunch with this guy and some of his family. I've been told that the customs are to partake of tea and coffee quite regularly and so I was a little anxious about how to handle this. When we arrived, we were escorted into a large room with many comfy seats lining the walls. Everyone sat down and the Sheik's son put the commander on one side of him and me on the other. Almost as soon as we sat down, a servant brought a thingy of coffee and 2 cups. He poured the coffee and everyone was expected to drink from one of the 2 cups. I mouthed to the commander that I could not take coffee or tea and he told me to politely turn it down, which of course I did. I was grateful that coffee is against my religion, especially because I avoided drinking from the same cup as 20-30 other people. The tea came next and I also turned it down. The Sheik asked me why I would not drink coffee or tea and I explained (through an interpreter) that it was against my religion to take coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco. I further explained that a prophet had given us this direction in the 1830's, science knew of the ill-effects of these substances. He said "that is beautiful - I wish people of Islam would live their religion" and then he vowed not to drink coffee or tea again - I think this was mostly a gesture of courtesy to me because when the coffee and tea came around again, the drank heartily. In any case, it was a good experience. I'll have to tell you about the actual meal later.
I miss you Kelly. I think about you constantly. I think about our beautiful, if imperfect children constantly. I love everything about you. I'm so sad I can't be there when you turn 40 (8 months before I do) in a few very short days. I want to be there with you stayin up late to see who wins the election. To carve the thanksgiving turkey and eat your delicious pumpkin pie that you made just for me 'cause you dwon like pun'kin pie too moosh. All these things and more will return to us shortly. Well, I'm going to try to send you an instant message again but if not, I'll catch you later. I love you. Give the kids a great big hug for me.