It is amazing to me to see the love that people have for other people, especially their family, and what they are willing to go through to help their lives be the best. Yesterday as you are aware, was Fast Sunday, and we had a lot of less actives there that have been coming for a while, as well as some that it was their first time. One such less active of the latter sort, got up to bear her testimony. I want to tell a little of her story. I am sitting in the second to the front row, so I really don't know what is going on behind me. One of the brethren come up with a microphone, the one used for blessings and what not and begins to plug it in. I watched a little confused, as the podium was working fine, when I glanced over to my right where the Spanish Elders were helping a lady walk up to the front. They were in the process of helping her walk up the stairs because of her physical inabilities to walk, but ended up sitting down in the front pew and spoke from there once they realized there was a microphone for her. She was a middle aged woman, who walked with a walker, and honestly if she was sitting, you would never be able to tell that she had trouble walking. She starts her testimony with a little of her background, namely that when she was younger she was involved in a serious accident that left her in a coma for a few days and when she woke up, she woke up a quadriplegic. But she continued to bear a powerful testimony of the effect that God has had in her life, especially since at the time she had the accident she wasn't Mormon. She talks about how since the accident, she has been able to literally feel the Spirit more firmly and real then she did before, which was a huge help in her being converted. She went on to explain how she feels it a lot differently than most people, but even still it bears witness to her of the truthfulness of the things that she has learned in the Gospel, and what it means to her. She knows that is is true, and knows that God loves each and every one of us despite what circumstances they find themselves in. She was in the gospel Principles class with me later, as well as in Relief Society, in which she shared a little bit more of her story, which I want to share with you as well. At the time of the accident she had a baby girl, who wasn't very old (less than 6 months it sounded like), and because she could no longer even help herself, Social Services came in and tried to take her baby, which she adamantly refused to let them do, but came to the realization that she needed to place her baby for adoption because she knew she was incapable of taking care of herself, let alone a baby. So she spent 6 months looking for a family to place her in, in which time, plus 6 months after, women from Relief Society (not sure how they knew her since she wasn't a member) came every day Monday-Friday many hours a day to help her get up the stairs, take a bath, fed her, clothed her, did her dishes, cared for her child, etc, so that she could focus on getting better without the added stress of taking care of all the other things that she couldn't take care of anymore. She had always been a Christian person, and so the entire time she is looking for a family to place her daughter in, she is praying and fasting and praying and studying. Hours after countless hours she is trying to narrow down the families, when at 6 months after the accident, she is lying in bed pleading for the Lord to help her find the best family for her daughter, when the most overwhelming sense of peace and assurance came over her, and she felt someone stroke her head in comfort (she said she looked around and no one was there either). Seconds after this, she gets a call from another lady who had cut her hair for years who said that she had friends who were willing to adopt her girl if she still needed them too. Again the feeling of peace overwhelmed her, and she realized that the Lord was telling her that this was the family that her daughter was supposed to go to. Immediately plans were made, and the next day the family came up the next day and took her daughter so that she could be taken care of even while the papers still hadn't been figured out. I told her later that I was super impressed by her willingness to let her daughter go, especially in light of all she had already had to let go because of the accident she suffered. She told me it was the hardest thing she had ever done but that she is glad that she did it, because it allowed her daughter to have a wonderful full life that she might not have been able to offer her otherwise.
This whole story though makes me super grateful for the love of mothers and how similar it is to the love that Christ has for us. How willing He is to not do what will make His life easier, but to make our lives the best they can be. Stories of such selflessness are amazing and wonderful, because of man's inherent desires to be selfish, and the excuses that we make to justify it. I really do love the amazing power that the gospel brings people in their lives to make changes necessary for their eternal happiness instead of momentary pleasure. There is such a huge difference that I don't think we realize sometimes, but we really should try to figure it out, because it is awesome!
Also Mom, here's a story for you (and everyone else that knows you and/or your parents and siblings). A few weeks ago I was at a member's home and we were eating dinner when they were sharing some random funny stories of things that their children had done. As your family is prone to do, I started to relate many of the stories to gospel principles that they could tie into the stories to make them spiritual or whatever. She thought that was funny too, and so for a little bit she would make something up and I had to somehow tie it to a gospel principle. It was fun! I told them it was something that I learned from you and that you learned it from grandpa who passed it one to many (if not all) of his children. :) Anyway, we had dinner with them last week, and part way through the meal, the wife turned to me and told me that she wants to be like my mom when she grows up (it's a younger family) because she wants to tie everything that she does into a gospel principle. I told her all she needs to do is practice and eventually it will come naturally. She is super excited about that prospect. I thought it was funny and that I would share. Congrats Mom, you can affect people you don't even know! :) You too Grandpa, since you were the one to teach it to my mother:) My family is awesome! Thanks for being such a spiritual giant in my life, you and dad both:) Love you lots!
Well this email is long enough. I will have more stories to share next week:) Hope all is well, I am always praying for all of you!
Love your favorite missionary
Sister Monica Walker