Hey my sweet family:)
Another week come & gone! Time is really starting to fly by. Tomorrow starts the best week of the entire year. The 3 amigos birthdays are about to commence! Happy Birthday to my Maur & Mad:) I feel like it was just yesterday that we had our joint 13th birthday party. Where has the time gone? We can’t possibly all be turning 20 this week! I am so thankful that two of my greatest blessings have lived up the street from me for the past 9 years. Makes my heart so happy. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for those two in my life.
Well, this week was one of a kind. Australia experiences the craziest storms I have ever seen! We had to spend quite a bit of time in the flat because of the storms. It gave me heaps of time to read my scriptures next to the fire place (It’s actually a really old space heater but I prefer fire place.) I could read my scriptures for hours.
It was one of those weeks that I am aware every missionary experiences. Really hard & discouraging at times but I am more thankful than ever to be here. It was a growing week for me where my eyes were opened to the pain & heart ache that people go through. Particularly our sweet investigators opened up about their trials, fears, disappointments, and sorrows. Moments where life didn’t go according to the plan & hopes they had for themselves never quite panned out. From feeling unworthy to enter into a chapel & unworthy of Gods love, to standing by at the death of a loved one, it was an emotional time to look into the vulnerable hearts of these people I have grown to love. They are everything to me and they are hurting more than I could have imagined.
I have realized that at certain points in our lives there aren’t earthly words to heal the wounds that are so deep. Only the Spirit can touch us in a way that will give us the strength to truly believe our pain will end & there is happiness ahead. President Checketts shared a story with us that I couldn’t help but share. It is a tad long but it is there for yous if you care to read it:) But I highly suggest reading it:)
“Come Home Felila”
“On a small Pacific island an infant girl was born to a faithful family. They called her Felila. There was happiness and joy as this grateful spirit made her debut into mortal life, but soon there were problems. Her head was abnormally large. The doctors diagnosed it as hydrocephalus. The questions of brain damage, of normalcy, of other problems all raised their haunting heads. After much fasting and prayer the elders’ quorum president approached the branch president, who in turn talked with the district president, who after adequate checking came to me as the mission president to see if there were some additional help available.
The medical authorities were consulted, and it was determined that there was little if anything they could do locally. Letters were written, information was sent back and forth, x-rays were taken and analysed. There was so much to do—so many questions to be answered, so many pieces to fit together. Finally after exasperatingly long delays, things began to fall into place. A family in Salt Lake agreed to accept full responsibility for the infant, even if it meant years of outpatient care; the doctors agreed on the possibility of her eventual recovery; the hospital accepted the case on a service basis; funds were raised for her air fare; some local travellers arranged their schedules to bring her right to the hospital. But there were other problems—visas, health certificates, reservations, passports.
All during these trying days the family, and the elders’ quorum, and even the whole branch continued to fast and pray. The time of departure of the infrequent airplane grew near.
One morning, amidst myriads of other pressing matters, I had the strong impression that I must take the time now and put forth the extra effort required to get everything done so she could go. I got on the overseas telephone. The consulate finally agreed to issue a visa; the airlines made a special reservation; the passport people agreed to waive the normal regulations; others gave that extra effort and cooperation; and soon all was in order.
Normally I would have sent someone to bring the family in to sign the final papers, but again I felt strongly impressed that I should personally go and see the branch president. I located him in the early afternoon near the school where he was teaching. He was standing alone outside as though he were waiting for me.
Excitedly I ran up to him: “Guess what? It’s all set. Miraculously everything has worked out and Felila can leave tomorrow. Please get word to the family immediately.”
His calm, penetrating gaze quelled my exuberance. “It’s true,” I said. “I know it’s been long and there have been lots of disappointments, but she really is going now. What’s the matter?”
His steady gaze seemed to penetrate my very soul. Then softly in his liquid native tongue he informed me that when all the preparations had been made, when the hearts of so many had been stretched in service, when the goal of unity and selflessness had been achieved in those many hearts, when all had made the final commitment of others above self, at the height of all this activity that very morning, little Felila had quietly and unobtrusively slipped away—gone to that better care which so many had fasted and prayed and worked so long and hard for her to receive.
Gone? This morning? But all that work, all that time, all that fasting and praying and those strong feelings. Gone? No!
Without once shifting his gaze, he, having more faith than I, offered a few words of truth and encouragement, then quietly turned and re-joined his class. And I was left alone, or so it seemed. I moved slowly and heavily down that dusty trail. Why? Why? After all that work and that strong faith of so many and those impressions, why?
I sensed the brightness of the sun and felt the warmth of the breeze as it lazily tossed the palm leaves and slowly shifted the silent clouds against the clear blue sky. A feeling came over me. I realized that the earth was beautiful, that life went on and was eternal. And while I cannot describe fully what happened next, part of the experience is proper to relate. The best explanation is contained in the phrase, “I was overcome by the Spirit.” It was as though one took me by the hand and led me to a high place and stood by me and said, “Look.” And I looked and beheld such beauty and magnificence as man cannot conceive. And I heard a voice, such a tender, compassionate voice—yet so unmistakably powerful—that all nature stood still and listened and obeyed. “Come home, Felila, my daughter. Come home to the care your loved ones have sought for you. I have heard their prayers and have known their fasting and love for you, and I answer, Come home, my daughter. You have finished your mission in life. Hearts have been softened; souls have been stretched; faith has been increased. Come home now, Felila.”
He knew her! He knew her name. He knew all about her and about all those others. How perfect our Father’s love! He had heard the prayers. He had done what was best. He knew everything—which thing, though I believed, I never had supposed. In some marvellous way, which is beyond our mortal comprehension, he knows and understands all things.
My questions as to why—as to justice and reasons—were all at that moment completely swept away. They were so irrelevant, my questioning so totally out of place, like one trying to dig the Grand Canyon with a teaspoon” – John Groberg
The last line of this story is possibly my favourite line out of anything I have ever read. “like one trying to dig the Grand Canyon with a teaspoon.” I found comfort this week in Moses Chapter 7. This is where Enoch forsees many things – The coming of Jesus Christ, His atonement & resurrection, The restoration, the second coming & the return of Zion. As the rain was pouring my heart almost burst when I came to verse 28:
28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep,and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?
Enoch goes on to praise God for his creations & mercy and I imagined he asked very tenderly the next question,
29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?
32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren;they are the workmanship of mine own hands….
In that very quiet moment as I was reading these verses I couldn’t help but feel that the rain was the tears of Heaven. They were for the people who we regard us unordinary and unimportant. Yet, they are the workmanship of Gods hands & the Heavens weep for their pain. While asking God the reasons why is comparable to one trying to dig the Grand Canyon with a teaspoon… we need not be discouraged. His arms are stretched out and most importantly His love stretches on much, much, much, farther than the Grand Canyon. Enough to shake all eternity.
41 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch,and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men;wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook.
All is well in the land Down Under. I am thankful to be here and to witness God’s love for His children. It is my greatest blessing. I love you very much & not a day goes by where I do not mention you each by name in prayer to our Father in Heaven.
All my love, Your Sister Rach:)