Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012 tenderness alert...

Well, yes, that is accurate! It was just mother's day yesterday, and so I had the opportunity to speak to my family via the phone for 30 minutes. It was nice! This week was crazy with Service project on Tuesday, right after district meeting. We went to a TB hospital and helped to clean it up and prepare it for Gardening etc and prevent snakes. Thursday comes and we have Zone Conference with Elder Carl B. Cook of the Seventy, and also the area presidency for southeast Africa. It was a very powerful Conference, and I took some good notes.
Friday we had to to our weekly planning because our Zone conference messed it up, and at this point we have now got a flat tire, and are behind on appointments, because we had 2 people call us at night who really needed us to come over. The night ends, and we are doing pretty good on indicators, except that we had 70 out of our needed 560 contacts. So now we have 2 days to get as many lessons as we can and 490 contacts. The catch: Sunday we are calling home and so will be at the Zone leaders house all day, and so sunday is out, plus we have a baptism saturday. Well, Saturday comes and we have a combined baptism with another branch. It turns out good, and then our ward is doing an activity. We are having a braai. Then I get some bad news. Brother Patrick has passed away.
*rewind to last transfer*
Elder Nyoni, and Elder Philips (the one I replaced in Gweru) baptized Brother Patrick in February. His wife is a member (has been for a while) and they have 1 child, about 5-6 years old. When I get here to Gweru, he was still here (He normally is working in Botswana). We are teaching the recent convert lessons to him, and then, when we can finally see him and his wife together, we teach them about Temples and Eternal Marriage. I remember extending to them the commitment to prepare to go to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. I told them that they needed to wait 1 year, but encouraged them to go right then to get a temple recommend so that they could prepare and be ready to go to the temple as soon as the could. They were in the process of getting their temple recommends when Brother Patrick was called back to work in Botswana. This was about 5 weeks ago. This last Saturday (may 5) I got a text from the brother in law of Brother Patrick saying that he was very sick. This Tuesday, he had gotten picked up by his wife and brought back to Gweru, to the Hospital. Friday night, after his family had left, he passed away due to Meningitis. He had been in great pain, but now, released from his mortal frame he went to dwell with his God. On Saturday, my companion and I went to see the wife on 2 seperate occasions. The first was too busy, and so we left to continue our work. We busily did our best to fill in our remaining indicators, but near the front of my mind the entire time was Brother Patrick and his mourning wife. before our last appointment, we went to see a member who stayed near where the funeral was happening (where they were waiting for family to come with the body.) I had the desire to go and offer comfort, but didn't feel it was right yet. When we got to sister Chanda's home, we were informed that she was at the funeral. We stayed for a few minutes and shared with her daughter (who is doing school out where there is no Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints yet) and talked to her about the importance of faithfully staying true to the covenants she has made with her Father in Heaven. It was getting dark (it is about 6:30) and then Sister Chanda comes home. She had returned from the funeral for just a few moments to collect something. We decided to go back with her to the funeral and offer our sympathy for the wife. The wife hadn't been eating and was (understandably) deeply depressed. When we got there we came and sat down, and told her that we were so sorry for her. We asked if there was anything that we could do to help, but she said no. I knew what we needed to do however. I stuck my hand in my backpack, reaching for my economy Book of Mormon. My companion said that we would like to share a scripture before we left. I knew we needed to, but I didn't know what scripture to use. I offered a silent, quick prayer in my heart: "Father, what scripture do I need to use?" The answer was immediate: "Turn to Mosiah". I hadn't read in much of Mosiah recently at all, and so, skeptically I responded with another question: "Which Scripture in Mosiah?". The slightly exasperated answer was: "Just turn to Mosiah".  I pulled out the Book and opened into alma, and thumbed through to Alma 1. I took a deep breath, and stuck my thumb into Mosiah, and opened. Right there in front of my eyes, shown through the words of Mosiah 16 was one of the strongest proofs I have ever had that there is a God, and that He loves his children, and that He will always provide for those faithful servents in time of need as they seek to align their will with His. With trembling lips and tears in my eyes, I really felt what it means to 'mourn with those that mourn' as I read:
7 "And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
8 "But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
9 "He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.
10 "Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—
11 "If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness;"

I felt the effect in my own soul, and saw it in hers. With tears in her eyes, she thanked me, but I deserve little if any credit. I felt the spirit so strongly, and I bore testimony that I knew that she would see her husband again and that she would live with him again in the presence of God. We left with a prayer, and finished off our day.
Words cannot describe the spirit of happiness which accompanied, overshadowed, and abolished the sorrow I felt. It brought tears to my eyes, and I find no shame in saying so, nor would I refrain from admitting it were it shameful in the least. For the next 10 minutes, I sang hymns mostly to my self, with the accompanying Spirit of our Loving Father in Heaven accompanying me in my mind and heart. We left a spare copy of the Book of Mormon with the Wife of Patrick (hers was elsewhere) so that she could have the pure word of God with her to speak peace and comfort to her aching heart during the week of travel which would ensue, as well as the linked months which would continue to be trying and painful.

I know that God loves us. We are His children, and He cares for us enough to give us trials and sorrow. We may not always feel like thanking Him for the difficulties we have in life, but because of the sacrifice of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, we can find solace. It is by Him, and through Him that we can be saved. Despite the sorrows we find in this life, He will always help us, if we but ask Him. I know that we will see our loved ones who have passed on again, and that because of His Atoning Sacrifice, we can not only see them again, but live with them with God. He lives; that He loves us, and is always there for us. "He is the way, the truth, and the life". (John 14:6)
This I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

~Elder Williams

Remember: Pray always, and look to the Lord. Write often, and live life to it's fullest.

Doubt is the seed of failure. ~Taggart Williams

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. ~God (D+C 6:36)

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