This has been another very eventful week. A lot to report on. we had more lessons with investigators this week than I think I have had any other week of my mission. we added 5 new investigators, and! we got fed every day last week! (has not been very typical here in dubbo, but last week was pretty exceptional in a lot of ways.) also.. I survived transfers, so I will be here in Dubbo another 6 weeks. one thing of note is that I passed the 6 month mark on my mission which is an interesting milestone. in some ways it feels like I have been a missionary much longer than that, in other ways it feels like I entered the mtc yesterday. Time passes very strangely on a mission, I suppose it is because all our time is devoted to others and to God.
This last week brought one of the biggest miracles I have seen in my life, something that has occupied a great majority of my thought the past few days. we had a lot of wonderful experiences this week but as I sit pondering on last weeks service, this is the only story that I feel prompted to share. It has humbled me, it has instructed me, it assures me of God’s love, and of my testimony of the redeeming grace of the saviors atonement.
Someone that has become a dear friend of mine passed away last Wednesday evening. Her name is nancy taylor, she was an elderly woman with many many health problems. Since the very first week Elder Welch and I came to Dubbo we have been visiting Nancy a few times a week and bringing her the sacrament. I always looked forward to that sacrament meeting each sunday afternoon with nancy where we would sing hymns, she would share of her past family and church experiences, we would share a spiritual message and of course, administer to her the sacrament. Because of her health problems she was not able to come to church, and the last month of her life she was confined to a hospital. 2 weeks ago her condition progressed and she was moved to the intensive care unit. That sunday we still planned on visiting her, but she was asleep, we tried again a few hours later, but the nurses told us she was still resting. The next day Nancy’s son (who will be baptized next month) asked us to come with him again to the hospital where we unfortunately had to witness some of the disturbing realities of her condition, she could hardly breathe, she did not have full control over her arms or feeling in her feet, she did not know where she was or what year it was. I felt quite out of place standing at the door of her hospital room while her son tried to calm her and bring her back to reality, but when she spotted us there she called me over to her bad, I took her hand and gave her words of comfort. I cannot recall any of her words except two.. sacrament, please. it did not take long before we were ushered out by nurses so the doctors could attend to her. at that time I had planned to return the following sunday, but wednesday morning all I could think about were those two words… sacrament, please. I was amazed at her faith, the spirit that still abided in her despite her many infirmities, and her request for the emblems of christs atonement. I simply could not be comfortable until we filled her request. so we did, we came that afternoon happy to see that she was doing better, comfortable. she was not entirely “there” mentally, but she told us how ready she was to get out of the hospital, to go home, and how glad she was that we had come. as we started our sacrament meeting, I looked around the ICU and said that maybe we’d wait until next time to sing so we did not disturb anyone trying to rest, but nancy gave us a gentle rebuking and told us not to chicken out. so we sang her favorite hymn “put your shoulder to the wheel” I hope that hymn also was carried to the hearts of other patients that listened past the curtain of her room..
we were informed the next morning that nancy had passed away, just a few hours after we had left. We were her last visitors, the last thing she had done in mortality was to praise God by renewing her covenants in partaking of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
May we always remember how our father is aware of his children, he loves us, and he may call on us to administer that love and relief to others of his children, just as he calls on others to minister to us. May we always be worthy of the spirit, and posses the faith and humility to follow all of His quiet directions, so we can take part in the great work of saving the souls of men.
I am so grateful for the example of faith in nancy taylor, she knew the reality of jesus christ, she knew and honored the covenants she had made in baptism, she understood the priesthood, she knew Gods plan for her. I have been asked to speak at her funeral this friday. I have never spoken at such a service, but I will speak of her faith, of her God, and of the mercy and grace of Her savior who died that she might live.
I suppose those words.. “sacrament, please” will be forever etched in my soul. remember why we go to church each sunday. I pray this miracle will stand as a witness for us that God loves us, he has given us His son, and we can be saved if we will choose to partake of his atoning sacrifice through obedience to the laws and ordinances of His gospel.
I love this work I am engaged in, I know its true. I pray that each of you may find opportunities to find Joy in His service.
until next week,