Monday, July 12, 2010
July 6, 2010
All the second summer sisters came down with a bad case of deja vu (sp). It rained on dress rehearsal night just as it had last year. It was so weird to be standing there, to be doing it all over again. Sister Parker remarked, “its not real sisters, we’re not standing here”. But we were: pageant cards and pencils in hand, visitors, though sparse, in their seats and Peoria/Des Moines Elders by our side. We all headed out to speak to those waiting for the performance and as we did the skies started leaking, just as it had the summer before. And then it poured sending the visitors and family casts running for cover under the gazebos and tents that had been set up, just as they had the summer before. I approached a couple seated on the rows towards the back who looked determined to make it through the storm. They were Brother and Sister Bell from Provo Utah and as it turns out they had my sister in law in their graduate program! It really is a smaller world than we make it out to be. We talked about how all the sisters were being reminded of last summer and joked about how Satan seems to be pretty consistent in his efforts to bring us down. He doesn’t even seem to change his tactics very often! It made me think of endurance and how, if we can just endure until he’s run out of ideas, the rest will all just be repetitive. We will know how to handle the things that come our way. I spoke with them one more time before the night was over, and it was over sooner than we had anticipated. After the first down pour another came, this time with thunder and lighting ripping across the sky. The rehearsal was canceled. As we drove home, sopping wet, I thought a lot about the conversation I had had with the Bells. We were right I think, Satan doesn’t seem to change his tactics very much, but we underestimated his efforts. He may bring rain, but sometimes, he brings it harder. Last year we had rain, but the show was able to go forward. This year one could barely see through the down pour. I also reflected on how the cancellation had gone. Most of the Sisters knew we were leaving; Sister Pulleyn and I seemed to have missed the word. The other Sisters even grabbed our stuff for us. We saw them heading, running rather, out to the parking lot and decided we better follow. President Ludwig had told all the sisters to go home. We hadn’t heard. If we hadn’t been paying attention enough to see then we would have been left. It made me very grateful for the Prophet and the direction we receive from him and had me reflecting on the importance of listening to his voice and heeding his word as I sipped hot chocolate at the kitchen table after a hot shower. Satan sends rain storms throughout our lives, and some hit harder than others. And if we listen to the prophets, the one we have today and the ones who have been here in the past, we will know what to do. We will be able to act rather than be left behind in the confusion of it all.
I also saw the Lakes!!! I love the Lake family! They are here on one of the family casts for the pageant from the mica peak ward in Spokane!!!!! It was such a treat to see them! It only reiterated my thoughts about heaven and eternal families in the world to come.
Speaking of family, it has been fantastic having my mother and father here this past week. I’ve seen them more than I had expected and was able to take them through Carthage this past Sunday along with 51 other people. It was a very special experience for me and one I won’t soon forget. I know that I am very lucky being in one of the few missions in the world in which they encourage your family to come and see your mission while you are serving. The strangest part about it all is to think how soon I will see them. Life will be much different then and I have been so grateful to know that I will be doing it with Sister Morgan. I am so glad I will not be alone in the last moments of my mission. I love her.
Sister Pulleyn and I went through the temple this morning in the session before my parents did. It was fun to know that they were somewhere in the same building as I was. I felt close to them.
I love this gospel. I love this work. The summer is flying by.
I love you all. Keep close to God and know that even if you can’t see Him, He is somewhere in the same building, a face amongst the 53 ‘strangers’, and just a prayer away. Time is shorter than it seems.
“Be still my soul, the time is hastening on, when we shall be forever with the Lord”
I love all of you with all of my heart and soul. I do.
God’s team: winner
Satan’s team: not winner
God’s team: winner
Other team: not winner
God’s team won in both cases. In fact, the score might have even been the exact same in both games! The rules were the exact same in each game. When ever soccer is played, it’s played by the same rules; there is always a winner and a not winner, but the means by which those rules are followed are different. Even so, God uses different means to comply to the same rules in order to come off victor (because good always triumphs over evil.) There fore, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever just as any soccer game would be played under the same regulations, but a goal made using your feet is just as valid as one using your head.
Thank you for letting me express the things that have crept into my heart as I have studied and pondered. IT may seem like a silly analogy to think of in the temple, but it helped me and further concreted my understanding.
Sunday was a fantastic day. My uncle and aunt, Brent and Janet, showed up in the Lyon Drug store (a restored historic site I was serving at that day) and it was like a piece of heaven. I think that’s how dying is going to feel like. One moment we will be here and then we will come around the corner and see a family member or friend that we haven’t seen in years and we will first think, “oh look, It’s Brent and Janet” (or mom and dad, or grams and gramps, or our spouse) and think nothing of it and then all of the sudden we will think again and shout with joy! Brent! Janet! Mom! Dad! Mi amour! And we will realized that we have made it. That, just as we always knew He would, all His promises have been made and kept, that families are eternal and the we have come home. He has lead us safely there and all is well. I was in an incredible mood for the rest of the day and then went down to Carthage for the 166th commemoration of Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s Martyrdom. The spirit was great and the weather impeccable. The morning had even “dawned cloudy and wet”. The song we sang was one from the very first hymn book and it went better than expected. I’m pretty sure angels stood behind me to whisper the notes in my ear. I think there has been a group of angels called to serve an 18 month mission in heaven just to help me with the songs I’ve sung on my mission. And another concourse assigned for the same duration to help with everything else. If they are suppose to be secret, they have some improving to do, because I can feel them.
After the “official” commemoration we all prepared to take part in what each of us looked forward to most on the commemoration. We went into the jail by ourselves. We listened to a program that the Carthage sisters had put together. They had pulled out different quotes and testimonials of that day and of those men and applied each accordingly to the rooms in that place. IT was amazing. As we went through and paid our tributes and listened with our hearts to the things that the spirit shared with us I was acutely aware that I was one of few who was privileged to have such an experience on that day. When we got to the martyrdom room three testimonies were shared of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s divine calling. We sang “Joseph Smith’s first prayer”. The song took on completely new meaning for me as I sang the song and then listened to the tape. I felt like him. As those men came marching up those stairs and he heard them, I felt his calmness. The first two verses of “Joseph Smith’s first prayer” became his thoughts as he reflected back on what now seemed like a simpler time, when he asked his question, and “saw a pillar of light exactly over his head, above the brightness of the sun, and as the light rested upon him he saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description standing above him in the air. One of them spake unto him, calling him by name, and said pointing to the other, 'This is My Beloved Son, hear Him!' ”. I felt his heart wrench as his brother Hyrum fell to the floor and I felt the peace as he walked to the window and the second two verses of that song began to happen. He was no longer remembering. A light descended and He heard a familiar voice, “Joseph, this is my beloved, hear Him” He had made it home.
I Cannot say that this is how that day happened, that this was Joseph Smith’s experience, but that is how it played out in my mind. June 27th 1844 is one of those “great and terrible” days on the earth. We then sang “Praise to the man” as the spirit bore witness of who that man was. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives! And I know that He will answer all and any of our questions in humble prayer before Him. He loves us.
June 22, 2010
"If These Rooms Could Speak"
Written by: Sister Anne Bailey