“Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done . . . with unwearyingness . . . , [for thou] hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.”
Helaman 10: 4
Mom and Dad,
During the Sunday morning session of General Conference last April (2017), Elder Choi of the Seventy shared this story:
“While still serving in the Seattle mission, I received a phone call from my oldest son, Sunbeam, who is a pianist. He said he would have the privilege of performing at Carnegie Hall in New York . . . We were so happy and very thrilled for him. However, that evening, while praying with gratitude, my wife recognized that we could not join him for his performance and said to Heavenly Father something like this: ‘Heavenly Father, I am grateful for the blessing Thou hast given to Sunbeam. By the way, I am sorry that I cannot go there. I could have gone if Thou had given this blessing either before or after this mission. I am not complaining, but I have a little feeling of sorry.’
“As soon as she finished this prayer, she heard a clear voice: ‘Because you cannot go, your son has been given this privilege. Would you rather trade?’
“My wife was surprised. She knew children would be blessed through their parents’ faithful work in the Lord’s kingdom, but it was the first time she understood her role with such clarity. She replied to Him right away: ‘No, no, it is OK for me not to go. Let him have that honor.’”
You have missed weddings and birthdays, graduations and anniversaries, seeing new little people come into the world and watching little people grow into slightly less-little people. While you have seen the fruits of your sacrifice in the lives of the people of Peru and the missionaries you have touched, we want you to know that we recognize the multitude of blessings we have received on this continent. It is difficult to quantify the amount of blessings that have been poured out upon us, your children and grand-children, over these past three years. But we can think of no better way to say thank you for the sacrifices you have willingly made to serve the Lord than by sharing with you just a few of them.
Julie and Tucker welcomed a healthy baby Cutter to the family despite a high risk delivery, and they were able to move into their new house with the timing and financing they needed thanks to softened hearts. Jodi and Chris were also able to buy a home despite various obstacles; they have felt an increased presence of the spirit on a daily basis; and they have felt spared from personal and family trials that could have easily escalated. Lisa and Hayden have each excelled personally, as well as a family: Lisa not only completed her nursing perquisite classes, but also was accepted to and has started attending nursing school, while Hayden was admitted in to the seminary teaching program. And, of course, baby Abbott came into the world and is thriving.
Eric, well, we all know that the Lord has given him one of the greatest blessings we can receive in this life: He got engaged and will soon be married to his love, Rachel. Plus, he has been successful in his job and has already had opportunities for promotion. Brian and Megan also got engaged and were married. Brian was accepted to Georgetown Law and received a large grant that was only available to him because his parents had no income; he has done well in school and got the job he had always worked toward and wanted. The last blessing they believe they will receive because of your service will be the safe arrival of their little baby girl.
There have been no major illnesses or accidents, and no sorrows that haven’t been swallowed up by the ensuing tidal wave of blessings. We know that it is no coincidence, and we want you to know that we love you and are eternally grateful for what your sacrifice has brought to us.
We always anxiously awaited Mom’s blogs, and this book will be one more small testament of the good your service has wrought. Thank you for taking the time to record your experiences. Generations will read your stories, feel your testimonies, and be motivated to go forth and follow your example. And by following both of your examples, your posterity will only be following the path of our great exemplar, Jesus Christ, because it is his work to which you have dedicated your lives.
Your adoring children (and many more),
Julie, Jodi, Lisa, Eric, and Brian