Monthly Archives: October 2014

Hope — October 31, 2014

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We squeezed onto a bench, which was the only furniture in the room. The parents sat on the other end of the bench. Some of the children brought a couple of stools in from another part of the house. The mother was expecting her fifteenth child. The family were new converts. Their faces lit up with hope as we talked about eternal families.

As we were leaving, we noticed a rack of recently dipped candles. The mother showed us bundles of finished candles.

We are making them to sell for All-Saints Day. We sell the candles for one peso each. It is our little family business.

All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows, Solemnity of All Saints, or Feast of All Saints is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by the Catholic Church and several Protestant denominations, in honor of all the saints, known and unknown. The liturgical celebration begins at Vespers on the evening of 31 October and ends at the close of 1 November. It is thus the day before All Souls’ Day.

All Souls’ Day is a day of alms giving and prayers for the dead. The intent is for the living to assist those in purgatory.

Hallowmas in the Philippines is variously called “Undás”, “Todos los Santos” (Spanish, “All Saints”), and sometimes “Araw ng mga Patáy” (Tagalog, “Day of the Dead”), which actually refers to the following day of All Souls’ Day but includes it. Filipinos traditionally observe this day by visiting the family dead to clean and repair their tombs. Offerings of prayers, flowers, candles, and even food are made, while Chinese Filipinos additionally burn incense and kim. The streets are lined with pavilions and booths selling mementos, flowers and food.

Many also spend the day and ensuing night holding reunions at the graves, playing games and music, singing karaoke, and feasting. The day before is a government-declared non-working holiday. It was declared to allow people time to travel home for the holiday.

We thought of a conversation we had with a young father.

What does your church say will happen after you die?

My wife and I and our daughter will be together but we will not remember each other. We will all  just be friends.

If you could be together as a family, would you want that?

Tears shown in the young man’s eyes. He nodded his head and then whispered.

Yes!

The effort and expense made by families to all be together to observe the two-day holiday would indicate that although the people may mouth the official teachings of their church, in their hearts they sincerely hope that families can be together forever.

 

Let It Go — October 23, 2014

Truck ready to be unloaded at the market.

Truck ready to be unloaded at the market

There was a conversation going on inside my head.

Do I have to write this blog?

It would be good if you did.

Does it have to be personal?

That would be good.

But it hurts. It is about family.

Yes.

They hurt me.

Of course.

The voice of Robert D Hales joined the conversation.

“We can’t hurt a stranger as much as we can a loved one. We know just what to do to hurt our companions, parents, or brothers and sisters. We know where they are vulnerable. We know how they can be hurt the most by our actions.”[i]

I was feeling uncomfortable. So I hurt them, too. But I had good reasons.

I did what I did because I was right!

This time the voice of Deiter F. Uchtdorf joined in.

It seems to be a trait of humanity to assume that we are right even when we are wrong.”[ii]

Somebody needed to do something!

Somebody already has.

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.”[iii]

I just wanted to make them do what is right. But all my conversations and e mails, my sleepless nights, and my attempts to apply legal remedies really didn’t accomplish anything, except to destroy relationships, and set a very bad example for my children. Now they are hurting in their own relationships.

Let it go.

Let it go?

 Let the pain go. The Savior has already taken it upon himself. Why do you want to drag it back?

So do I have to forgive them?

 If the Savior has already taken all the sickness, all the pains and afflictions and temptations, there really isn’t anything left to forgive them for, is there?

 As soon as they repent, right?

 He is the only One who can judge repentance.

When someone is doing something wrong, I’m not supposed to do anything??

 He is the only One to judge what He has taken upon Himself. It all belongs to Him and He will do what needs to be done. That is His job.

The voice of Robert D Hales came again.

“Isn’t it true that God, our Father, and his Son grieve when we sin? When we fail to be obedient and accept the atoning sacrifice of our Lord, aren’t we hurting Him who loves us most?”[iv]

One tiny whisper remained.

So what is my job?

 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”[v]



[i] “Your sorrow Shall be turned to Joy”, Robert D Hales Oct 1983

[ii] “Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth, Dieter F Uchtdorf, Oct 2014

[iii] Alma 7:11

[iv] Ibid

[v] 1 John 4:11

Time — October 19, 2014

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On Sunday morning we received a copy of a text from the District Executive Secretary, to all District Auxiliary Leaders:

Good morning. Be reminded to gather and complete the information needed in the Monthly Report form for Branch Auxiliaries. The final deadline of it will be now and if you can’t make it now, just follow it this Saturday

Final deadline?

If you can’t make it now, just follow it this Saturday?

We chuckled and the phrase “Philippino time” came to mind. Then we thought of Dr. Don in Boise, Idaho.

Our appointment had gone overtime, but Dr. Don sat back in his chair and smiled a bit. We knew that we would hear a story narrated in his delightful Irish accent.

My Da used to work at the train station back in Ireland. He needed to be there when the train came in, but we never knew exactly when the train would come. It might be early, it might be late, it might be on time, it might not come until tomorrow.

One time my wife and I were waiting for a train in Germany. She is from Germany, you know, so we went there for a visit. I asked when the train was to arrive. The station agent told me, “3:43.” Now that train was coming clear from Russia. But they announced the arrival time to the minute.

We had seen footage of a train station in Berlin in a movie on TV. So we pictured the sleek shinny train and the station buildings placed in exact precision along the tracks.

Dr. Don went on with his story.

We waited. At 3:41 we heard a distant rumble. Then we saw the train. At exactly 3:43 the train pulled into the station. It had come all the way from Russia and was exactly on time!

Dr. Don chuckled.

That is not how the trains run in Ireland!

One day I was waiting with my Da for the train to come, when a man came by the station. He asked about the train schedule, and then walked around the room. Then he walked over to me.

So I see that you have two clocks here in this room.

Yes, sir.

And I see that each one tells a different time.

Yes, sir.

So why is that, can you tell me?

Dr. Don shook his head.

Well, I sure didn’t know. So I told him that I needed to go find my da.

When my da came into the station, the man asked him the same question. My da looked at the floor, then scratched his head. Finally he looked at the man.

Well, best I know, if both clocks told the same time, then we woudn’t be needing two clocks, now would we?

We can imagine the Great Father of All, with a smile deep in His eyes, saying:

If every person, if every culture, progressed in exactly the same way and at exactly the same time, then how would each of my jewels get polished to its own marvelous and unique glory?

 

A Mighty Errand — October 11, 2014

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This weekend one of our beloved granddaughters will celebrate her 17th birthday. She is as stately as a queen, her beautiful hair is her crown. She sings like an angel. Her expressive eyes and classic features reflect her energy, enthusiasm and humor. But where is the little girl we carried? Where is the little girl at play?

When did she get to be a beauty,

When did she grow to be so tall? 

Wasn’t it yesterday when she was small?

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years,

One season following another,

Laden with happiness and tears.

We have five granddaughters between 15 and 18 years of age. They are each different and they are all wonderful. We love them so much. And each one has her own challenges.

 ”Were it not for challenges to overcome and problems to solve, we would remain much as we are, with little or no progress toward our goal of eternal life.” President Monson

A number of years ago, Sister Elaine Cannon spoke of the challenges women must be prepared to face.

The Women in this Church need to be prepared—personally prepared—first, to stem the tide of error inundating the world, threatening families, short-circuiting the power of individuals. Second, though we have great men to lead us, we need to know for ourselves what is error and what is truth so that we can make valid value judgments. So much depends on this. Third, we need to grow and develop so that we are prepared to contribute. We each have a mighty errand to do.

Although young women ae not under the same mandate to serve a mission as young men, they are under the mandate to “be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.” Each person has the mandate and blessing to obtain their own errand from the Lord. (See Jacob 1:17) The greatest blessing that we can imagine for our beautiful granddaughters is for them to be blessed with the personal preparation gained through worthy full time missionary service.

The scriptures give a perfect description of sister missionaries:

“But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

“So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (1 Thes. 2:7–8).

Personal preparation is not easy. Francis Webster, of the Martin Handcart Company stated:

We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that company ever apostatized or left the Church because every one of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.

Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor one moment of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay and I am thankful that I was privileged to come to Zion in the Martin Handcart Company. (in William R. Palmer, “Pioneers of Southern Utah,” The Instructor, vol. 79, no. 5 [May 1944], 217–18).

Sister Cannon said:

I don’t deny the struggle—it is the essence of Eden; but personal progress is what this life is all about. We must begin at once to work our plan of life, deciding to whom and to what we will give our fullest attention, our highest loyalty, our deepest commitment.

Individually, are we moving forward as is our rapidly growing church?

Or would we have drowned in Noah’s day or been caught polishing the golden calf with Aaron’s people?

Our lack of individual progress can impede the Savior’s work.

I don’t want to seem simplistic, sisters, but we need to move!

Like our brethren, we too have a mighty errand of our own. It requires our growth, our preparation, our constant reaching out to learn from the lessons of life, from our leaders, from the Lord.

There is so much to do.

There are many who don’t have what we have, who don’t know what we know. So may we be gentle and affectionately desirous of others as we impart, not only the gospel of Jesus Christ, but our own souls to those who have need of us.

It is, after all, the only cause grand enough for woman’s precious energies.

What price will we pay to become acquainted with God?