Crazy week. It's been a bit slow, but it's good! Lots of work to do and
lots of room for improvement! It's been a week of lasts...we had zone
conference this week where I had to give me departing testimony (sad, I
know) and I went on my last exchange with the Sister Training
Leaders...eeek. Luckily it's out of the way at the beginning of the
transfer and I don't have to think about it anymore. On the bright side for
firsts, I gave my first talk in the Sky Valley branch. Love 'em!
Well, this week I just have one experience to share.
So there is a sister in the branch named Hermana Lopez. She is an amazing
faithful sister. She is blind and has many health problems--she has every
reason to complain, but never does--quite the opposite actually. But she
isn't able to come to church if her (non-member) husband isn't home to
watch the son (the son can't be left with anyone except the mom or dad, and
if he doesn't want to go...there's no way of getting him to go). Anyways, I
found out last week that this 14-year old son she has is autistic and I
immediately had this overwhelming desire to meet him.
So when we had a lesson with her the next time, I commented, kind of
passively, that I wanted to meet her son. Without hesitation, she started
to yell his name. "David!!! David!! Please come out here David!"
It caught me a little off guard, but it was good! We waited a little bit in
the living room and slowly the bedroom door down the hall opened and out
walked David. "What?" He said-a little annoyed (I think we interrupted the
movie he was watching).
I immediately chimed in and began to talk to him. We talked for about 5
minutes and we decided we were friends. Then he returned back to his room
to resume watching his movie.
I didn't think much of it.
We sat down to have a "class" with Hermana Lopez and she was emotionally
overcome. I asked her what was wrong. She explained that nothing was
wrong--rather, that everything was right. David had never engaged in a
conversation with anyone other that family members and it was a miracle-an
answer to her prayer. She explained that a few days before she had begun
praying that he would be able to take the lessons so he could learn to
depend and rely on Heavenly Father, but she didn't know how to bring it up
with him--especially considering he wouldn't interact with others. But that
he just engaged in a full on conversation and said we were
friends-apparently a huge step for him.
She said, "I know now that he can learn from you to rely on God because you
are now friends. This is a step toward getting us all to church. I will
never have to miss again. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father answered my
prayer so fast."
I was shocked, but grateful. Cool, I thought.
So we set up an appointment for the next week.
During the week, I thought a lot about what we could do that would help him
learn simply--something he would enjoy. Immediately a thought came to mind.
Ethan. (Background: Ethan is almost 18. His family situation is rough and
hasn't been to church for...a very long time.) We see him almost regularly,
but it's been hard to get progress just going by and sharing things. But
the thought: "bring Ethan." Came distinctly to mind. I figured the Spirit
was brilliant in inspiring that. It would be good for David and something
new we could try to get Ethan to act.
Although Ethan lived far away a few towns down the highway, I figured it
couldn't hurt to ask. He was a little stubborn (as most almost 18-year old
boys are), but finally agreed. He's too good of a kid to say no to helping
a blind woman and her disabled son. Perfect. 12:30 was the plan.
It was about noon the day of the appointment and Ethan texted us saying
that his dad had the car and he had to wait for him to get home, so he
would be a little late. No problem, we figured we would go have Sarita's
(Hermana Lopez's daughter who got baptized in December) lesson first and
help her with faith in God then Ethan would arrive just in time afterward.
We got to their home. Had Sarita's lesson...no Ethan.
We hesitated a little. I began to think as I gestured to Hermana Blake to
text Ethan to get an update.
I began to make a little bit of small talk with Hermana Lopez while Hermana
Blake sent the message.
I had about 10 seconds to think. What to do...what to do...I thought.
Instantly I remembered feeling prompted to put my hymn book in my bag
earlier in the day. I figured I had nothing to lose and I scurried though
my bag to find the hymn book.
I held the book in my hands. Again, I thought for a few seconds, slightly
hesitating, what to sing...what to sing...I turned to Hermana Lopez and
asked, "Hermana, what is your favorite hymn?" She responded, "Mas cerca
Dios de ti (Nearer my God to thee). Cool. Page 50.
Hermana Blake gave me this look like, "what? We are singing? I didn't agree
to this..." But I didn't give her a choice. I began to sing. Verse one.
Over. No Ethan. Verse two. No Ethan. Last verse. Still no Ethan.
I looked to Hermana Blake for the update. She mouthed to me that Ethan was
in Monroe and should be there soon. Cool.
A third time, I thought. What to do now...what to do now...My mind was
drawn to the scripture references at the bottom of the song that correlated
with the lyrics. Read them, I thought. Again, I figured it couldn't
hurt--we had to wait for Ethan anyways. I opened up to the first scripture
in Doctrine and Covenants 88:63 and handed it to Hermana Blake and told her
to read it to Hermana Lopez while I scanned the other reference in Genesis
28. She began to read:
Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye
shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened
Hermana Lopez gasped. That is my favorite saying! I didn't even know it was
in there...she expressed a little bit more of her feelings regarding the
scripture..which gave me a few more seconds to scan though the verses in
Genesis 28...which were not making a ton of good sense in my head. I
thought to just not read them--she wouldn't know that we were skipping them.
But then I had the profound impression to read them anyway. Again, Ethan
wasn't there yet, so I figured: what do I have to lose? I started by
telling Hermana Lopez, "Hermana, this passage of scripture is kind pf
confusing...but I am going to read it anyway and see how it goes, okay?" Of
course, she gladly agreed.
I began to read. I didn't know a good number of the words I was reading
(crazy Old Testament...). As I got through a few of the first verses,
Hermana Lopez began to cry. Quite honestly I was confused...what I was
reading just seemed weird to me. I read a few more and then felt impressed
to stop, and I looked over at Hermana Lopez. She was crying.
Again, I asked what was wrong.
When she could bring herself to talk, she said, hermanas, Heavenly Father
just answered another one of my prayers.
Again, I was a little shocked and slightly confused.
She continued, "Hermana, maybe that scripture was confusing to you, but
that was exactly what I needed. My mom is very sick in Mexico and she wants
to see me so bad. I don't know if it will be possible and I just started
praying about what to do and what to tell her...and just now, I received
the exact words that I need to share with her. Oh how grateful I am for my
Heavenly Father. He just keeps answering my prayers so fast."
We all sat in silence for about 30 seconds. The Spirit was so strong. We
pulled ourselves together and within the next minute there was a knock on
the door. I ran up and answered it. It was Ethan.
He walked in the room with a plastic sack in hand. We wasted no time in
introducing him to David and before they even sat down to exchange names,
Ethan pulled out of the plastic sack not one, but TWO bags of sour patch
kids--David's favorite candy. We were able to utilize the candy to teach a
quick lesson. Hermana Lopez was so amazing and content that David was good
through it all. It truly was a miracle to her and an answer to a prayer.
It was also great to also finally get an action out of Ethan--service. He
even went out of his way to get him candy on the way. He's a good kid.
It seemed like a win-win-win-win-win situation. Sarita got help with Faith
in God, Hermana Lopez got many answers to prayers, David made friends, and
Although Ethan may have arrived an hour late, it was perfect timing--it was
the Lord's timing. It wasn't at all what we expected or planned, but
because we followed the promptings of the Spirit, every moment was utilized
the way the Lord intended for it to be used. Heavenly Father's plans are
much greater than any of our own.
*Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both
in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both
in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things
which the Lord can **comprehend.* Mosiah 4:9
I don't comprehend how the Lord made everything work out that way it did,
but I know that we play a great part in his eternal plan and in the plans
he has for those around us.
Challenge: Seek opportunities to fulfill God's time and planning, not
necessarily your own.
Satisfaction comes as we help the Lord fulfill his divine plan and
Of this I testify!