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, June 19, 2016

My heart's in Oregon

"Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. . . . Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. . . . Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King!  And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness.  Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever!  And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities and powers!"

As we begin this last week of our mission, I am looking toward the future - wondering what is in store for us now?  I don't know what it looks like exactly, we know what we want and what we are looking for.  We also know that we want to continue to be of service.  I am also rejoicing and looking for more reasons to rejoice.  And there are many!   We have had a wonderful experience here in Oregon.   As I read the above scripture I could picture so many of the beautiful places we have seen since being here, and I could imagine the elements rejoicing.

We have been richly blessed by our associations with so many wonderful people.  Our mission has been a glorious experience, one we are most grateful for.  We have loved serving in the Oregon Eugene Mission.  A piece of our hearts will forever be in Oregon.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Good-byes and Hello's

"Before we were born, we lived in a family with our exalted and eternal Heavenly Father. He ordained a plan that enables us to advance and progress to become like Him. He did it out of love for us. The purpose of the plan was to allow us the privilege of living forever as our Heavenly Father lives. This gospel plan offered us a life of mortality in which we would be tested. A promise was given that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, if we obeyed the laws and priesthood ordinances of the gospel, we would have eternal life, the greatest of all His gifts.
Eternal life is that kind of life which God our Eternal Father lives. God has said that His purpose is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39)." (Henry B. Eyring, General Conference, April 2016)
The day before Easter this year, we buried my mother.  I was the most perfect funeral and graveside service I could imagine for her.  Everything she had been so explicit about happening - we fulfilled her wishes to the letter.  It was a sad time, because we all loved her and will miss her here with us.  But I am so grateful for the knowledge that she lives on in Spirit and that I will someday see her again. You see, I believe in that beautiful afterlife where she is - free of pain, whole and surrounded by those she knew and loved here - her parents, her brothers and so many others.
One of the things Mom wanted was a bagpiper to play "Amazing Grace" at her graveside.  We were so blessed to find a wonderful young man who gave up his Saturday of play to come and stand in the hot Arizona sun and play for my mother.  I've thought about the words to that song often these last couple of weeks - 
"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, 
That saved a soul like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, 
That saved a soul like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Noble and Great Ones

One of the things we enjoy about living in Oregon is the trees!  There are so many varieties and they are everywhere.  As I type this I am looking out the window and watching the beautiful maple trees softly swaying in the wind.  So their leaves will appear and they will once again provide us with shade and a green canopy over the street where we live.  These maples are tall with beautiful straight branches and lacy leaves.  Just down the street are oaks with their gnarly branches and hard wood.  Just a short 5 minutes from us I can find the mighty redwood trees.  Straight, so tall, reaching toward heaven with their feathery greens, resistant to rot and the dampness that is Oregon.  I've thought about these trees a lot lately.  I've wondered how old are they?  What have they witnessed as they've grown so tall   4 and 5 stories some of them.  How many children have climbed their branches and played in the shade they've provided.  How many birds, squirrels, possums and other critters have made their homes in these trees.  What have they had to endure to live long enough to grow that tall - wind, rain, drought, heat and cold?  The words that come to mind are "noble" and "great".

Recently we attended a Couple's Conference for the mission.  It's a wonderful quarterly activity that gives us the great opportunity to spend some time with the other senior couples of the mission.  We get to know each other better, re-connect with friends, offer encouragement, share ideas, laugh, eat and above all share our testimonies of truth.  We left this conference uplifted and feeling blessed to be in the company of these "noble and great ones"!  These 8 couples have left home and family to spend 6-18 months here in Oregon sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They have sacrificed the comforts o home and time with friends and family.  They are not unlike the trees - they have endured much and have grown straight and tall! They are noble and great. It's humbling to be among them. We are so blessed.