Stepping into the Darkness

"You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness, then the light will appear and show you the way before you."

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Sunday before Christmas 2014, my wife and I sat in Sunday school in the Rexburg 17th ward. Laurie had been feeling ill and asked that we go home after Sunday school. I felt I need to stay to priesthood meeting. In High Priest group, the group leader mentioned to the brethren that if anyone knew of someone who needed a cane, Brother Christensen made canes and would be happy to get a cane to anyone who needed one. The brother next to me leaned over and whispered that he would like to talk to me after the meeting.

He introduced himself and said he had a son who might benefit from a cane. The problem was, that he was 6’9” and weighed 290 pounds at 15 years of age. Finding a cane for anyone that size was impossible. He asked if I might be able to make a cane for him. He said it would be nice if he could get it for Christmas. I always love a challenge, so I said it could be done. Monday morning I took stock of what I had in the garage, and what was in storage. I had several shafts, but nothing suitable to make the handle, so Monday we were off to the hardwood store in Idaho Falls to see what they had.

 The hardwood store had just got in a shipment of 6/4 walnut. Not a size they usually carried. As I was the first to see the bundle, when they broke it open, I noticed a small plank just a couple of boards down. It was just what I needed, so we purchased it and took it home. When I got home and had a chance to really look at it, I noticed that one end was a full crotch, full of beautiful figure. I cut two handles large enough for someone this size and was excited to have such beautiful wood to work with. Laurie suggested that often with individuals who have a bilateral challenge, two canes worked better than one, so I cut two shafts to go with the handles. When they came to pick them up on Christmas eve, I showed them the small brass plaque on my cane, and asked if they would like one on these canes, so a plaque went on each cane.

The Sunday after Christmas, the Bishop asked anyone who had a good Christmas story they would like to share, to come the pulpit. To the surprise of his mother, this otherwise shy young man got up and proclaimed canes were cool. He proudly showed the canes and said they were the best Christmas ever. He then read the small plaque and said that “I’ll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord” as his favorite hymn, so the congregation sang the first verse.

I am so happy that I paid attention to the prompting that Sunday. As I reflect on the miracle that has occurred, I see the Lord’s hand as I mentioned to the High Priest Group Leader back in November, that I made canes and would be glad to share them. I find it interesting that on that Sunday before Christmas, he mentioned it, that the brother who had the need was sitting next to me, that a size of board perfect for the task arrived at the lumber yard the day before I needed it, That on one end, it had beautifully figured wood to craft the handles from, that two made sense instead of one, that I had two plaques and it all came together to bless the life of a young prospective missionary.

I have since learned that the next week, the Bishop asked this young man to speak in church about preparing for a mission. He said yes, and talked with excitement about the possibility of serving a mission. 

While we were at the MTC, we keep seeing a couple of missionaries, one in a wheel chair and the other walking the two arm braced canes. We came to sit by them one day and visited with them. It seems they are serving full time missions at the MTC. The use the internet to find and teach. They were teaching a man in New York who was being baptized that week, and they were excited. I relayed this information to the father of the young man I had made the canes for. There is a place and a way for anyone to serve who wants to.
In late October we finally got an offer on the house. They were offering full asking price. We started the process, and they had the home inspection done. The inspector noted some mold in the basement and problems with the added garage. The people withdrew their offer, and knowing that the mention of mold would be a problem for people, I decided I needed to fly back to Alaska to see for myself what the issues were and get them addressed. We had withdrew funds from our retirement fund to take care of any costs. I started looking at what was needed and lining up the qualified people to deal with it.

One of the issues was with a change in the code required several new circuit breakers. I called an electrical company and scheduled the work while I was there. The electrician showed up and went to work. As he was completing the work and testing the circuits. He found one that would always trip so he went to work trying to figure out what the problem was. After about an hour and a half and with every outlet and light switch in the kitchen and dining room dismantled, he concluded that we had a bad wire and he would need to cut an opening in the drywall, up the wall, across the kitchen ceiling and down the wall on the other side. This would give access for the new wire and should solve the problem.

After listening to him tell me what we needed to do, and that I would have to take care of the drywall repairs, I had a scripture come to mind, that talked about the spirit giving us what to ask for in our prayers, and I felt a need to pray then. I went in the other room, offered up a pray, and then returned. A couple of minutes later, the electrician came up from the basement, and said that as he was starting to work, he felt he should go check the wiring of the new breakers before he started to cut the dry wall.

When he inspected the panel, he noticed one of the wires connected to that breaker was the wrong one. He tracked down the right one, changed that out, and everything worked fine. The problem was solved, and I didn’t have to repair any dry wall.

I can’t fault the electrician, as I know I have made mistakes when dealing with complex problems like the one presented by the vast array of wires in the electrical panel, but I am so grateful for a Father in Heaven, who is willing to look out after me, even for something this small when compared to the grand scheme of things. I am thankful for parents and teachers who taught me to listen to the spirit and follow those promptings, and for the electrician who followed them as well.

Before arriving in Alaska, we had received another offer on the house. When we started this process back in April, I had the impression that there was a family coming who needed this house. Throughout the process, it seemed that the house was invisible, lots of people looked and were not seeing what was there. We had also been pretty adamant that we were not interested in early occupancy. When this offer came in, we felt strongly that this was the family. The offer came with a picture of the family and a request to be able to occupy the home about 10 days later. The spirit whispered strongly that this was what needed to happen, so 10 days later, they moved in, grateful for an answer to their prayers. They are not LDS, but it was such a great experience watching the Lord answer their prayers, and being able to be a part of that.