Sunday, September 23, 2012

Renewed Appreciation for America

This afternoon after Church, KLynn and I invited three young African members to join us for dinner.  All three of them joined the Church here in Moscow, and they are very nice young men.  They all spoke at length about the extreme corruption that is endemic to their home governments, and how the leaders of their countries enrich themselves at the expense of the people.  Each of them spoke in the most glowing of terms about America, and in particular about America's respect for the rule of law.  They made the point that their countries are rich in natural resources, but the masses of people live in abject poverty because the government is so inefficient and corrupt.  They compared their countries with Germany and England, which are not nearly as rich in natural resources, but where the people enjoy much higher standards of living.  Listening to them gave me a renewed appreciation for our systems of law and education, which make possible the high standard of living we enjoy in America.  It also made KLynn and me take pause to think about what we may be able to do, in some small way, to help some of these struggling countries.  We have been richly blessed with opportunities for education and the financial security that comes with it.  At this stage of life it's high time to start thinking about ways to use my legal training and our other resources to give back.  The Church service we are doing in Eastern Europe is a good first step, and it continues to be very rewarding.  I'm not sure what will follow, but this has been a life-changing experience.  There is a lot more to life than trying to earn as much money as you can.

Earlier this week I went to Tallin, Estonia, for part of the Europe East Area Mission Presidents Seminar.  I participated on a panel with other members of the Area Executive Committee to field questions from the mission presidents.  I always enjoy the opportunity to go to these seminars and associate with the mission presidents.  They and their wives are truly exceptional people, and they give great service.  It's a rare opportunity to get to be a fly on the wall and listen to the instruction they receive from the Area Presidency and other general authorities.  They are asked to do a lot!

By the way, since my last posting, which was quite a while ago, I had a biking accident here in Moscow near our home that resulted in a severe concussion.  I spent a few weeks back in the U.S. recouperating, and I'm now mostly symptom free.  It's good to have a thick skull.