The events from the past week have allowed me to refocus and remember the importance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the ordinance of temple marriage. Wednesday morning I was informed of the tragic passing of 16 year old in my parents ward. I didn't know him. The only memory I have is of him sitting in front of me in Sacrament meeting the last time I was home and teasing his little brother as my brothers use to do (and still do). The surprising part is that I have been effected by this event, because of the impact that it has had on my family, especially my father, who was his Bishop and my brother Tanner who was a wonderful example of friendship and kindness.
I have seen with my ears the love and service that has been rendered in behalf of the Green family over the past few days. I have wondered if the Reedy Creek ward that I attend has as much love and concern as the Nampa 22nd ward has for each other. My dad has related so many amazing things to me over the past few days. One thing that keeps going through my mind is that Brother Green never knew how much they were loved. Does someone have to die for us to show love? I sure hope that we aren't waiting for a convenient time to let people around us know that we love them. The fact that only 15% of the sisters in my ward had an in home visit last month, makes me wonder are we too busy to let the sister's in our ward know that we care about them; enough to take 30 minutes out of 30 days to make them our priority? I have had several wonderful contacts with my visiting teacher in the past few weeks, which I appreciate. I have wondered if there was a tragedy in the Reedy Creek ward, would the sister's feel comfortable being comforted by their visiting teacher when they may have only been visited once in the past six months? I can't imagine they would. I am not saying I am the best visiting teacher, but I try to at least stop by to visit the inactive sister on my list of two sisters (the other is not to be found at the moment, but we will keep trying). She may not come to church, but hopefully the quotes that I leave inside her goody bag and the conversations that we have will someday give her the desire to come back to church. Most of all, I hope she knows that I am not just someone assigned to check up on her once a month, but that I am her friend, regardless of her activity in the church.
Another thing that I keep thinking of is dad talking about when he went to the funeral home to help dress the body. He said, "It is just a body. The spirit is not there, it is gone." I have pondered on this and the truth behind it and upon the Resurrection, that one day the body and the spirit will reunite. In the medical aspect, it really is something to ponder upon, but in the spiritual aspect it confirms to me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
Dad has reinforced to me, the youth in his ward and those who attended the funeral's (yes, one in Idaho and one in Utah where he grew up), that the Atonement is not only for this life, but that it takes effect after we die, when all of our illnesses, chemical imbalances; including depression are withdrawn from us and we are made whole, then and only then, will we be judged. I especially felt the spirit when dad stated that he believed that this son of God was walking with the Savior. What great comfort it is in knowing that our Savior Jesus Christ has felt our deepest sorrows, our broken hearts, and as Elder Holland said just a few weeks ago, that feeling of being alone.
The most important thing that I have been reminded of is that because of temple marriage and the sealing covenant, we are promised that families are forever. What a marvelous gift this is and what great comfort we receive from this most precious gifts. We had an amazing lesson in Relief Society on Eternal Marriage; my testimony was strengthened and the Spirit was felt.
Through out the events of this week, missionary opportunities have come forth. Friday night I was talking to one of the PA's that I work with about this and basically I testified that there is life after death and that we will be able to live with our families forever. Last night I had a pretty neat experience with one of the doctors, when I was telling him about this, he said, "you are a spiritual person and you come from a spiritual family don't you?" There was something in his voice that was confirming and reverant, which I have never seen in him, but was a short, missionary opportunity as I confirmed his statement/question. I was humbled to know that he has observed these attributes in me.
I must not end this blog without mentioning the still birth of my childhood friend Lena Steffler. She had her first daughter on Sunday. Her picture was in the obituaries the same day as Parnells. What a beautiful baby and what sadness they must feel, but what joyous fulfillment we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ, that Families Are Forever.
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