Sunday, December 4, 2016

"When ye are in the service of your fellowman"

                                                Outside the Mission Office with our sign!

                                                        Charles E. Boice, Our "Daddy"

I am grateful for the focus on service this month through the church initiative, #LighttheWorld. The greatest example of service during my life has been my Father. He is 81 years old now and continues to look for ways to help those who are less fortunate, lonely or in need of aid. I remember when my dad was my stake president and suffered a heart attack at the young age of 42. I went to the hospital to visit him. He was really suffering in pain and with nausea and all the other after effects of a major heart attack. A man who had been excommunicated from the church came to visit him. After the man left, my father said, "I wish I could do more to help him." I have always remembered that because I marveled at how he could be suffering so much and yet thinking about somebody else and how he could help him. I have two brothers who suffer from problems with mental health and he has tirelessly helped them in every way he can almost everyday of his life. My brother Billy is almost 49 years old now and my Dad still continues to help him with love and patience. I don't know how he has done it. I know that when he and Linda lived in Sacramento, they had 8 or 9 people that they picked up for church every Sunday who would not have been able to attend otherwise. They bought a van so they could do this and other service.

                                        This man had the privilege of baptizing his wife and
                                            his two sons. They are now united in the gospel!

I remember widows coming to our home on Christmas day, babysitting the children of single mom's in our home and taking in a foster child. My Dad always took us to help at our stake's welfare project,the "Paper Project" in Modesto, CA where I grew up. It was always a drag, not very fun, but he always acted like it was the greatest thing in the world to do. He served valiantly as a bishop and a stake president and now is on the High Council of his stake at the age of 81. This is his fourth time in his life serving on the High Council. His patriarchal blessing says that he will be a strength to the stakes of Zion. That is definitely true! And he is still doing it! He is amazing to m

                                                         A few pics at Zone Conference!

The work in Chiclayo Peru continues to move forward. It is very slow, but it is moving forward. We had Zone Conference in November. I think it was the best one we have had. We were supposed to have a mission tour with a seventy, but it got canceled, so we were left scrambling to put together a Zone Conference. I feel that in our great need, the Lord blessed us with much greater help. We had felt for a long time the need to re-emphasize the family. I had had this message about the family in the back of my mind for a long time. Preach my Gospel says that we should focus on teaching families. I also felt the need to teach the missionaries how to teach the gospel in their families. So many of them are converts or come from less active families, so they have not had the example that I did growing up. We taught them the doctrine of the family and focused on the importance of family prayer and daily reading of the Book of Mormon to protect their families from the false teachings and doctrines of our day. (2 Nephi 28:7-9) We talked about the blessings in our family of holding family home evening, of teaching the gospel and giving love and support to each family member.

                                                   Sister Yucra will go home on Monday!

                                                                   Sister Butterfield
                                                     For thanksgiving, she wrote me a
                                                    of  note of thanks. It made my day!

My husband had the idea to contact some of the parents and have them share their feelings about the family through videos. We asked them several questions like: How have you seen the blessings of the family in your home? What have you done to teach your children the gospel in your home? How did you prepare your son/daughter to serve a mission? The responses were wonderful. The words and testimonies of the parents brought the spirit so much stronger into our conference and bore a second witness of the things we were teaching. It was beautiful! I feel I have been very lacking in sharing my gratitude to all the parents of our missionaries and of the support they give to their children and to our mission. We could not do this without their support! They are amazing and wonderful!

                                            Having a little coconut milk. The coconuts and
                                            mangos grow wild in Jaen. They taste amazing!

The Coconut Man

A missionary did one of the sweetest things for me the other day. In my office, I have a huge chart with the names of all the Latin missionaries in our mission (about 90 of them). On it we track the progress with English of all these missionaries. They have 25 modules (chapters) they are encouraged to complete. In order to take the CPIc test at the end of the mission this is required. For each module that they complete, we place a gold sticker on the chart. The missionaries love seeing their stickers accumulate on the chart. Then they receive a candy bar for each module they finish. So my husband came home from the office one day and he had a little mini chart with ten tasks to complete to learn Spanish and he had affixed ten stickers on it for the things I have accomplished in learning Spanish. There was also a little bag with some treats in it for me! So cute and so appreciated by me. It meant so much to have my efforts acknowledged and rewarded! These missionaries are so thoughtful.

                                                                  My own little chart! So cute1

When we go to visit rooms, we always take a plate of goodies with us for the missionaries. One day we visited a room and took a plate of brownies to four elders. Later we went to do some shopping. When we arrived home, I noticed that I had missed a call. When I called the elder back, he said, "Oh Sister Williams, I just called to tell you thank you for the brownies! They were so delicious!" I was so touched that he made that effort to express his appreciation. It meant a lot to me. It is like the story of the ten lepers. It is so nice when someone expresses their gratitude!

                                                             Visiting another room!

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to teach two lessons with two sisters. In between the lessons, we had some free time, so we stopped by to visit an elderly man named Alfredo. The sisters wanted to sing to him. When we entered, he and his wife were seated in their living room. They greeted us and thanked us for coming and then we sang two hymns for them. The last one was O My Father. When we had finished, Alfredo began to sob. He said that he had heard the word of God today and that he felt so much joy. He said, "We have so few times when we feel happiness. Thank you for coming and singing to us." It reminded me that very small and simple acts of service mean so much to the ones who are served. Even just saying thank you!

                                                    Our Stake President and his family.
                                            Their oldest son is serving a mission in Chile.

What touched me even more was the love and compassion of this couple's daughter-in-law. I don't even know her name, but she reminded me of Ruth in the Old Testament because of the love and compassion that she had for her father and mother-in-law. She is not a member of the church, so like Ruth, she has a different faith. She lives above Alfredo and his wife. She came in the door right after we had sat down. She came in quietly and hugged and kissed both of them. She sat down and listened for a few minutes, then, while we were singing, she got up and got a glass of water for each of them. Then she brought them a little napkin to wipe their mouths. When Alfredo started to cry, she tenderly removed his glassed and wiped the tears from his eyes. I could imagine the Savior doing that. As she did this, I noticed that she had tears running down her cheeks. What was she feeling? Had she felt the spirit? Had she felt the truth of the message of the hymn? I wondered about this in my thoughts. But now as I write this, I realize that these were tears of joy because of the joy that Alfredo felt. I think that she loves him so much and has seen him suffer so much, that she felt great joy for the joy that Alfredo he was feeling. What empathy! What a great example for me! I hope and wish that I could feel and exhibit that much love for my family members and especially for my in-laws.

                                                     Thanksgiving 2016. Last in Peru!

I love to watch the Bible videos. I love to see the acts of kindness and healing that the Savior did for all of those around Him. He truly "went about doing good." He is a perfect example of service for me and I want to be exactly like Him. I am grateful for this initiative by the church this December for us to have the opportunity to try and be like Him and share His light with the world. The way we do that is by giving service. The church has given us a theme each day and many ideas of small and simple things that we can do. It does not take much to brighten someone's day and to help others feel the love of the Savior in their lives. I hope that we will all make the effort to serve those around us this month!

                                                               Thanksgiving Feast

Today we attended a stake conference. The choir sang, "The First Noel." I felt the message through the spirit of the words and the beautiful spirit of those who were singing. I felt so much joy for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I never get tired of the story of the nativity. The other night I watched it on the Bible Videos three times and I cried every time. (I know at this point, my sons are not surprised!) I cried because it is so beautiful and so sacred and because I know it is true! The witness of its truthfulness has been manifest to me by the power of the Holy Ghost on too many occasions to count! I know that Jesus Christ lives and that this is His church. It has to be! How else could the organization of the church be so perfect! How else could the gospel be exactly the same in Peru as it is in the United States? I marveled about this today in our stake conference as everything was done the exact same as it is everywhere else in the world! This church and this work are a miracle. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true!

                                                     After almost 2 1/2 years in Peru, we
                                                       finally made it to Macchu Pichu!

No comments:

Post a Comment