"And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked and beheld a tree...and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow."
This past week we got hit by a snowstorm, the same snowstorm that shut down
just not as bad. Working and biking in the snow was a great experience for me,
and I was actually glad for the snow since it warmed things up.
After nightly planning the Spaniards and ourselves had decided to have some fun.
Others: "Do you want to build a snowman?"
Brain: "We haven't even seen that movie yet."
So instead I wrote in the snow an enormous "MORMONS ROCK" in the church parking lot, then we threw some snowballs at each other, slid down the hill a few times and went home.
I am staying in Lakefield for yet another transfer and Elder Mejia is getting sent to Charlotte to be a Spanish missionary again. I'll miss him. He was a great companion and we got along well.
There were times with Elder Mejia when we'd be teaching an investigator family with members helping us and I would realize that, of the 10+ people in the room, I was the only white guy. A very unusual feeling to have...
I share the Lakefield ward with a companionship of sisters. There is thus competition over getting member help for appointments, getting member meals, and all that stuff. In the ongoing war to win member trust sister missionaries hold a natural advantage, so I try very hard to gain some brownie points whenever I can. One thing I've done throughout my mission is write thank-you notes and hide them in clever places so that the members will find them soon after we've left their house. I have yet to see if this strategy has paid off.
As snow was falling around us on Tuesday we stopped by to visit a part-member family, a couple that is in their later 60's. As we were preparing to leave Elder Mejia was talking to the member husband and I went to go say goodbye to the nonmember wife Teri, who had not joined us for the lesson.
As I walked towards the back room I saw her on the phone so I turned and went back to talk to the husband. In the background we could hear Teri saying "Thank you, Jesus" every few seconds. As we talked, the "Thank you Jesus"s got louder and more frequent, until finally we heard a shouted "Hallelujah, Lord!" from the other room. It made me wonder if she'd just won a million dollars or something.
Then Teri came into the room, sobbing and hysterical. I had never seen a woman her age be hysterical before.
As her husband took the phone and started talking, I learned that Teri, who had already lost two of her sisters in the last eight months, had just been told that a third sister had been admitted to the hospital in critical condition. With the thought of losing yet another sibling, Teri was crying and afraid.
Her husband was on the phone and oblivious to what was going on. So I sat Teri on the couch and sat down next to her and patted her back and gave her a hug and told her that it was all going to be alright and soothed her as best I could.
After her husband got off the phone I gave Teri a blessing. Among some of things I felt prompted to say were that Heavenly Father wanted her to know that He was proud of the choices she had made in her life and that she would be reassured that, because the Savior lives, families are eternal. Afterwards I gave her a side hug and she put her head on my shoulder and just cried and cried for a long time. We probably looked really funny, a small little old lady crying on the shoulder of a young man a great deal larger than her.
This taught me a whole lot about compassion. At that moment I wanted very badly for her to know that she was loved and that it would be alright. Hugs to females are technically against the rules for elders but I felt the situation justified it.
Checking back on this family on Saturday, the husband told me that two days later Teri's sister had been released from the hospital and said something along the lines of "she must have heard your prayer for Teri."
I am grateful for the gift of compassion. Compassion is one of those things that makes us human and sets us apart from animals. It's a part of the divine nature that is in each of us.
I love you all. I know this work is true and I'm excited to see who companion #11 is. Hurrah for Israel!