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."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It is amazing to us the many ways the Lord blesses us in his work. the training and experiences we started in the MTC are continuing in the mission field. As we go about our work here, we will often be prompted by the spirit. it often happens in our working with the Elders and Sisters. The other day, we were sorting through stuff that came from an apartment that we just closed. (As the numbers of missionaries drop after the quick rise from the age change) in that stuff were some jars of baby food. Sister Christensen called the Salvation Army and asked if that was something they could use in their food bank, and they said of course. Then rather than one of the senior couples taking it down she called the Elders whose area included the food bank to see if they could. They said they could, but that they were busy and it would have to wait a day or two. Just 20 minutes later, they were in the mission office. It seems the appointment they had fell through. As they were leaving, Sister Christensen suggested that while they were there, they should let them know that they could help out in other ways as needed.

Last night, two of the Elders whose area includes our apartment, dropped by. They were going to visit our neighbor who has been investigating and was sick. Sister Christensen again was prompted, and suggested they offer to give her a blessing.  When they offered, she responded with a yes. After explaining what they were going to do, one Elder anointed, and the other sealed and blessed her. She is from Spain, and speaks Spanish and the missionaries were able to anoint and bless her in Spanish. She was visibly touched and said she felt warm and loved. It was a sweet experience the Elders had to come by afterward and share with us. We talked about how the Lord will bring us where we need to be so that we can do what He needs done. His hand is in this work.

One of the twelve recently in teaching and training Mission Presidents, read a scripture to them. Jacob 5:62. It reads, "...Let us go and labor with our might this last time, for behold the end draweth nigh, and this is the last time that I shall prune my vineyard." This is the allegory of the tame and wild olive trees. He then said that the hastening of the work now is what the Prophet Zenos was talking about. This is the last time that the Lord will send out his servants. It is humbling and wonderful to be apart of this great work.

We are thankful for all of the many things that have happened that brought us here. It started with my car accident in 1993 that resulted in the need for spine surgery in 2013. That caused me to take a serious look at what our finances would look like if I stopped working at 60. The plan was always to work to 65, then go on a mission. It showed that while we would not be rich, if we were careful, we could do it. Through out this experience, we continue to have enough and to spare.

We pay our tithing through Settlers Bay ward, but we are instructed to pay fast offerings to the ward we are assigned to here. The first fast Sunday, I intended to reduce what I had been paying before I retired, since our income has been significantly reduced, but my pen refused to write that check. I can testify to the great blessings that come from paying a generous fast offing. Again, when the Lord asks and we respond to Him with faith, He keeps His promises.

Over a year ago when we seriously started talking about getting our papers in, some consideration was give to my health and ability to walk and work. I felt strongly that I would have all the abilities I would need. The six months we were given to prepare saw great improvements to both. I slowly increased my abilities to stand, walk and move. My health has been better than it has in years. 

When I was set apart by a member of the MTC Presidency, he likewise promised, in the name of the Lord, that I would have all of the abilities and strength I would need to serve. Those six months before  the MTC were needed and by pushing myself, when we got to the MTC I was up to the work. That place was exhausting. I walked more there than I had in years, and though it was difficult, it was possible. Likewise, here I am continually blessed in the abilities that I need to do this work.  

We have been blessed in our housing. Missionaries don't live in plush apartments. Where we have been assigned, is a nice but old one bedroom apartment. Between us and the mission Housing Coordinator, we have been able to bring this place, especially the bath room into compliance with ADA requirements. We have a small covered patio that I have screened with a tarp. It also has a closet for storage. I have been able to set up a shop of sorts and continue to make canes, and continue to refine the techniques to reduce the amount of equipment needed to make the canes, so I continue to make and donate them. So far I have found homes for 7 or eight here in Eugene. I have a contact with the Lane County Senior and Disabled Services office. I am working to get an appointment to see her and offer canes for those who can't afford them. I have also told the missionaries, in their travels to watch for places they can go. President Russell has even been able in his travels to place one.

This gospel is true, of that I have no doubt. The richest blessings are available to us as we learn to be obedient and exercise our faith in Him. As we read and study the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, we will be taught from on high, by the Spirit straight into our hearts and minds. We do not have to do it all, just those things he has asked us to do. I can bear this testimony in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ

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