This week has been a rough one for people we care about. One lost a brother in really hard circumstances. One of our investigators lost his mother unexpectedly. Two of the dear sisters in the Branch are dealing with physical problems. The struggles in life have not been avoided by the righteous. Many ask "why"? These are good people who are striving to live their lives as God would have them do. Still, they face difficulties, pains and sorrows.
When the early Latter-day Saints had been persecuted, driven from their homes, even murdered and the Prophet Joseph Smith was arrested and put in Liberty Jail, he found himself asking a similar question of the Lord. The answer he was given is pertinent for all of us, even today. Doctrine and Covenants 126:7-8 states:
And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
Life is hard. Many of our greatest sorrows are not of our own making. In the pre-existence those are the trials that we not only agreed to endure on the earth, but wanted to endure. We wanted the freedom to choose. We wanted agency. We wanted to learn and grow. That placed us in a position to experience pain and sorrow, as well as health and joy. I read a book many years ago in which the character stated that the difficulty that was given was to carve out the heart so that there was greater room for joy. I pray for those who are suffering to have a great abundance of joy to fill their hearts.
Remember how one of the Brazilian missionaries fell on his bicycle and was miraculously safe? This week, the other Elder, Elder Castro, locked his brakes up and flipped the bicycle. He tried to break his fall with his hands and broke his wrist. He is quite embarrassed and has been trying to figure out a way to hide his cast. That is harder to do when it is bright red (he chose it because he likes the red Power Ranger). Our Branch Mission Leader has threatened to put training wheels on their bicycles!
We spend quite a bit of time taking missionaries to doctors. We figure by doing that, their companions can keep working. It is amazing how busy it keeps us, though!
I have to say, though, I was certainly proud of our Elders after the transfers took place. One of the apartments was a mess. There was a huge stack of garbage. After the transfer, the Elders who were assigned to that apartment cleaned it up. It looks really nice.
I can't end this blog without a tribute to our Veterans. Tuesday is a day to remember them. Their sacrifice for our freedoms is something for which we can never say thanks enough. I am proud of those who have served our country . Thank you. We wouldn't be here without you. Battle Hymn of the Republic
Whitney Houston's Star Spangled Banner
Kate Smith's "God Bless America"
Armed Forces Tribute