What a whirlwind of a week it's been! It started off with some pretty sobering news.
A few weeks ago, I sent a picture of a little girl named L who was 8 months old. L was waiting for a liver transplant, and her family was staying at the Ronald McDonald House. We got a text Tuesday night informing us that L had passed away. We had been able to really get to know her family, and it was such a shock to get that message. We were able to go see them before Sister H was transferred, and there were a whole lot of tears shed. This family has been so rock solid and strong throughout the last 4 months, and it was so hard to watch them in so much grief. I had no clue what to say to them. I didn't even understand why that had to happen, but it was incredible to hear them testify of the Plan of Salvation. They and I know that they will see L again. And although it is so painful to experience, Heavenly Father has a perfect understanding and perfect compassion. He too lost a son, He had to watch him suffer through the greatest agony and pain. And He can offer the healing power of Christ's Atonement instantly. Please keep this sweet family in your prayers. And I want each of you to know that the Plan of Salvation is truth, and it is so real. I can't imagine suffering life's trials without that knowledge.
Another really humbling experience happened this week. We had a lesson with a couple in the ward that we didn't know very well, the D's. He's in a wheelchair, and they teach Primary together. We were really excited to hear their story. We didn't realize what we were in for! Bro. D is a convert, he was introduced to the church when he was a teenager, and he was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 10. His cancer came back a few years after he joined the church, and throughout his life, his health has been highly effected by the cancer. He's had a lot of struggles in his life, and yet, I don't think I've ever met a more joyful person! For real! As we were talking with him and his wife, they kept mentioning how everyone says they admire them for getting through such hard trials. They don't think their life is hard! They see themselves as extremely blessed. Whew. What an incredible perspective! They kept saying over and over again how the gospel is meant to bring us joy, not sorrow. And feeling joy is a choice. Your circumstances shouldn't determine your happiness.
I am surrounded by absolutely incredible people. I feel so blessed and so humbled this week. I have had a better life than I could ever ask for, and Heavenly Father has allowed me to see that we don't have to be in perfect circumstances to feel the joy of the gospel. We will experience loss, we will experience numerous trials, but "men are that they might have joy." President Nelson's talk at conference couldn't have been more perfect. I know that life is hard, especially for those around me, but Heavenly Father didn't send us here to be miserable. He wanted us enjoy enduring to the end. I hope that each of us can find that joy in our lives.
We had a pretty big miracle this week! Sister E and I found this lady, K, while tracting. She said we could come back at another time, and we had a few appointments set up, but they kept falling through. I was so shocked because she was always so willing to reschedule. Haha we were finally able to have a lesson with her Sunday night, and we brought a member with us who happened to be one of her neighbors. She was setting up a Halloween display in her garage, so we taught the first lesson while being glared at by zombies.... hahaha It was such a great lesson! The spirit was so strong as we testified and as this member testified. We were so shocked, she was so receptive to everything we were saying! She almost became a minister in the United church, but life things happened, and she didn't proceed. My favorite part of the lesson was when this member expressed over and over again that she knows that this is true. It was so powerful! There is just a special spirit that comes in with a member testimony. Sadly K is booked pretty tight this week, but we will be meeting with her again next week!
Well everyone, I have truly been blown away by Heavenly Father this week. He truly knows each one of us, and we are led to exactly the people we need to meet. Although I don't fully understand it a lot of the time, trials are meant to strengthen us, our experiences will help lift those around us.
I truly love each of you! Thanks for all your love and support!
Sister Bethany Christensen