Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Que Gran Privilegio - What a Great Privilege!

Breakfast in the Mission Home!

Missionaries are so inspiring to me. About two months ago, late at night, a missionary accompanied his companion to the emergency room. His companion had been very sick with throwing up, diarrhea, etc. and had become dehydrated. We received one or two calls, during the night, updating us about the situation. The companion had to be given fluids via IV and treated with other medications. At exactly 6:30 in the morning, I received a phone call from the missionary. I thought there may be another problem. He simply asked one question. "Is it okay if I sleep a little past 6:30 today? We got home at 4:30 this morning and I am a little bit tired." When I hung up the phone, I cried. Why would a missionary be that humble and that willing to be obedient? Why did he even feel that he needed to call me? At this moment, I understood one of the reasons why this missionary was one of the most successful in our mission.

It inspires me when I hear of missionaries that get robbed and then that evening they pray for the robber, that he will find the truth so that he can repent and change his life. I am touched by the humility of missionaries when we visit their rooms and they are living with broken dressers, old mattresses, no curtains, cold water or no sheets on their beds. And not one of them has ever complained or said any thing about it to us. Be reassured that we are always prompt to make sure they receive the things they are lacking and that broken furniture is replaced. I have learned that this is the most important reason that we visit their rooms. As my husband always says, yes, missionaries need to sacrifice at times, but they don't have to suffer. These are servants of the Lord and as the Missionary Handbook states, we believe that they should maintain the dignity of their calling in their housing. The missionaries constantly amaze me and are such a great example to me. They inspire me to be more dedicated to this work and to be a better missionary.

Last month, on August 29, we had the great honor and privilege of welcoming Elder and Sister Bednar to our mission. It is the first and only time (most likely) that our whole mission will be together. What an exciting opportunity for all of us. Elder Bednar and his wife are both amazing! They have had so much experience in life and in service. In the last 11 years that he has been an apostle, they have traveled to over 120 nations! Sister Bednar commented that they have seen a lot of hotels and chapels. They were in Peru for nine days and their schedule was grueling. It was packed with mission meetings, meetings training priesthood leaders and other meetings. Elder Bednar is a master teacher. He is able to use every comment and every situation as a teaching moment. He allowed the missionaries to ask questions and his answers were inspiring. I felt the power of his and Sister Bednar's testimonies. I was extremely touched by the love I felt from Sister Bednar. She is one of the most kind, charitable, compassionate women that I have ever met.

We met the Bednar's for just a few brief moments before the meeting. Sister Bednar put her arm around me and asked so sincerely, "How are you doing? Are you okay?" Her question was so warm and sincere, that I could not deny that I felt her love and her concern for me, and this when she was probably exhausted herself. Chiclayo was their final destination on their Peru tour. The following day, Elder Bednar and Sister Bednar spoke in one of the stakes in Chiclayo, the Dorado Stake. Nearing the end of the meeting, Sister Bednar passed a note back to me. I thought it was for someone else and looked around for whom I should pass it to, but she motioned for me to read it. It said, "Is there anything I can do for you when I am back in the States? Is there someone in your family that I can call or visit for you?" I was so overcome by her kindness and thoughtfulness, that I began to cry right on the spot. Once again, I could not believe that she would think of me when I knew that she was exhausted. Some time ago, I remembered Elder Bednar mentioning in a talk that his wife always looks around in church to know who could use a call or a visit. I know from experience now that she is always thinking of others and how she can serve them.

The only people I could think of when she asked me this question was my Dad, 79 years old, with failing health, and my sweet stepmom, diagnosed with lymphoma cancer three months ago and bravely undergoing treatments at this time. She has patiently suffered and endured a lot and has been such a great example to me. I wrote down their names and phone numbers for Sister Bednar and briefly explained their situation. About a week after the Bednar's return to the United States, my Dad and Linda received a call from Sister Bednar. They were able to visit with her together on speaker phone. She asked them about their health and then told them about Mark and I here in Peru and gave them a report about how we were doing. I don't think she will ever understand what this meant to me and to my parents. They were so excited and called to tell me all about the experience!

                                              Missionary Room Decorations. Treats from
                                                        home  are always cherished!

Sweet sister going home to Lima.

       A beloved assistent going home.

A week ago Saturday, Mark had the privilege of performing another baptism. This was a family that he had taught once with the missionaries and had interviewed. Each one of the missionaries baptized one member of the family, the father and the son, and my husaband baptized the mother. The one thing that touched my heart the most deeply at this baptism was the love that I felt from their new bishop. He had purchased a set of brand new scriptures for all three members of the family and lovingly presented them to each of them in his "welcome" to the ward. He told them that this was where they would find the answers to all their questions. What a great testimony and counsel for a bishop to give. There was no denying the love that this servant of Heavenly Father has for his flock. What a faithful shepherd he is.

                                              All dressed in white. We love to see families
                                                                united in baptism.

Imagine that the ward mission leader comes to you and asks if you would be willing to feed the missionaries. It will be everyday, 6 days a week, 3 times a day. All three meals will have to be at a specified precise time everyday. How would you feel? What would you say? I know what I would say! This is what we ask the Pensionistas in our mission to do (in all of Peru) and they do it willingly without any payment or reward. They feed the missionaries three times a day, six days a week. They are paid for the cost of the food, but they are not given one cent for their labors. I had the privilege of training these sweet ladies on Tuesday and I am always amazed at their willingness to serve and sacrifice. There are two cute things that they always say. First, "the missionaries are like my own children." Many missionaries have told me of their love for their Pensionistas and they truly serve them like their own children. One Pensionista I was talking to at church one day, got a little upset when I called her a "Pensionista." She said, "I hate that word! I'm not a Pensionista, I am their Mother!" Second, "I'm a great cook and the missionaries love the food I cook for them." They are always so proud when a missionary they are feeding puts on a little weight. This is living proof that they are feeding them well! I just know that my husband and I cannot do this work without them and we are very grateful for their service. I always remind them that they are serving the Lord Himself. (Matthew 25:40)

                                              Welcoming a new group! Ready to serve!

There is a meeting that we hold three weeks after we receive new missionaries into the field. We talk about what they are experiencing and learning and just find out how they are doing. It is one of our favorite meetings! At this particular meeting, two weeks ago, I felt the Spirit of the missionaries very strong. I'm not sure if it was the opening song that was one of my favorites or because it had been a whole week since I had been around a group of missionaries, but I wish that every person in the church could have the experience of being in a room filled with missionaries and looking into their faces. Like I said, when the Bednar's came, it was the first time that we saw all of the missionaries in our mission together. I tried to explain to a sister missionary, later that day, what it is like to gaze into the faces of missionaries who fill a room. They are filled with light and their faces glow with the Spirit. The more missionaries there are, the stronger the feeling is and the brighter the glow. I have never felt the Spirit as strong as I have in meetings with the missionaries. I believe it is because of their spiritual preparation and the purity of their lives and of their hearts. This is why I believe that it is such a great privilege to serve with them. My husband and I truly love them with all of our hearts!

                                                      For Sister Wallace: Thank you for
                                                         the chocolate chips! You are a


  1. Dear Dianna,
    I am your husband Mark's cousin. I just read your sweet blog and was so sorry to read that your step mom has lymphoma. I fought lymphoma myself, in 1994-1995 (it metastasized) and I would be very happy to talk with her and hopefully encourage her that lymphoma can be beaten! If you would like me to get in touch.with her, please contact me at Please give my love to Bebe!

  2. Hello Mark and Dianna, I loved reading the post/blog. I am humbled by your service. I know you love the Lord. What a great visit with the Bednar's!

    Our newlyweds are smiling and happy and busy. Brian is on top of his work. Good to see.

    Sending love, Romy and Johnny