Monthly Archives: February 2015

Fascinating Fascia — February 20, 2015

The piece of metal that flattened the tire that required the change that caused the hernia.

The piece of metal that flattened the tire that required the tire change that caused the Elder Hall’s problem.

That was a great video of a laparoscopic hernia repair! Shall I write about it on our blog?

Sister Hall, a hernia repair is not something people are craving to know about.

But wasn’t it great that when we asked what happened during the operation, the doctor didn’t just answer our questions, but made us a model of the mesh and showed us a video to explain the whole thing?

Yes, but…

And wasn’t it great to see how perfectly and delicately the doctor moved the fascia around to expose the hernia and the vas deferens?

Sister Hall, that’s not something usually talked about in polite society…

But that is the important part, because the doctor used anatomical mesh with a hole in the middle and a slit so that he could slip the mesh over the coiled duct and fold a flap over the top to hold it in place. And now you don’t have any stitches, staples, or adhesive that might impinge a nerve and cause chronic pain. 

Pain-free is always good…

No “post herniorraphy pain syndrome” for you! And he checked all four places where a hernia might develop so you don’t have to worry about another hernia developing.

Five places…

And the doctor checked your left side to be sure there isn’t a chance of a hernia developing there.

“Developing” is what you do to film.

He said you are healing well.

Yes, I am.

And there was no charge for the post-surgery check-up.

He is a world-class surgeon who worries more about the quality of his surgery than the quantity of his money.

Never Give Up — February 8, 2015




The mission president from Idaho stood at the podium. He was speaking at the Toledo District Conference in Toledo City, Cebu, Philippines. He opened his scriptures and read.

“And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.” (1Ne 3:5)

He looked earnestly at the audience.

“Sometimes the Lord asks us to do hard things. We might think we are not strong enough to do what is asked of us. The Lord has an answer for us:”

I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27)

“Sometimes we are afraid or apprehensive about approaching someone about the gospel. Sometimes we might think there is no use talking to a certain person.

Let me tell you about my friend, Ernie. As a young man he served in the military. He played for a professional ball club. He had a number of interesting jobs around the country. He married his sweetheart and bought a farm. He thought it would be a good place to raise a family.

His wife was a wonderful woman. For 60 years she faithfully attended church. She invited Ernie, but he preferred to attend the local bar. For 60 years she faithfully served and lived the gospel. She invited Ernie to serve with her, but he preferred to serve his homemade wine. But for 60 years, she never gave up on her husband.

One day, Ernie became ill. He had been sick before, but he was past ninety now, and this illness seemed different. He felt so weak and tired. Ernie was scared. In his weakness and fear, he did something he had never done before. He asked for a Priesthood blessing. As he waited for the blessing, he made a promise. He promised the Lord that if he could be healed, he would serve the Lord as best he could.

My friend received the blessing, and he was healed. I interviewed him for baptism. Ernie looked at me thoughtfully. Then he said something interesting:”

You know, I really don’t want to go to the church and get baptized. Someone I know might see me. I don’t know that I feel comfortable about that. How about if I just get baptized in my hot tub here?”

The president smiled at the audience and then continued his story.

“I looked at Ernie. I don’t know why I did it, but I said, “OK. We can do that.”

Ernie stared at me, and then he grinned.

I was just testing you. I will go to the church to get baptized.

After his baptism, Ernie changed. He even looked different. I saw him at church a few months later, and I didn’t even recognize him. He had become a man of God.

For 60 years, Ernie’s wife didn’t give up on him. For 60 years the Lord did not give up on him. Do we dare give up on our family, on our friends, or on less active members?”

“Behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.”







What Could Be Worse Than Spiders? — January 30, 2015

Spider in the mission office (PS This one is made from pipe cleaners)

Spider in the mission office (PS It is made from pipe cleaners)

Dead spider, frozen, and arranged for photo op

Dead spider, frozen, and arranged for photo op

The senior missionary laughed at the disbelief on our faces.

It’s true! I really was a hippie, a 70’s hippie. My hair hung over my collar and my big mustache hung down to my chin. I really looked the part.

Did you act the part?

Oh yes! I was addicted to everything that it was possible to be addicted to.

What did your wife think about it?

Ummm…she left me. She said she wanted a divorce, that she was never coming back again. That was the worst day of my life!  I fell into the deepest, darkest, most excruciating pit imaginable.  I didn’t want to breathe; I didn’t want to live.

He swallowed his emotions, then laughed again.

I thought spiders were the worst thing in life. But this was much, much worse.

We all laughed as we thought of the spiders we had seen. Then the man continued his story.

The Lord saved my life and my marriage—even though I was an atheist.

Wow! What did He do?

He transferred me to night shift.

Night shift?

Yup. I was working at a facility for troubled adolescents.

He laughed again.

It was good training for working with young missionaries!

His grinned.

And He transferred the weirdest woman on the staff to work the night shift with me.

The weirdest woman?

I had noticed her before. She would bring a loaf of bread to work, and say, “Well, Brother M is feeling kind of down. I just thought I would take him this bread after work today.” Or she would bring a casserole and say, “Sister J isn’t well, so I thought I’d bring her this for their dinner tonight.” I thought to myself, why would she want to that? She talked funny, too, always saying “sister” and “brother. I couldn’t figure out why she would want to do that either.

There were just the two of us, and 24 mostly sleeping adolescents there all night long. Some nights were really long, so we talked a lot. When we ran short of things to talk about, I asked her to tell me about her church—but I put my hand up really quick and told her I didn’t want to know about any of that religious stuff, just about casseroles and bread and things like that.

So, she told me about ward activities. There she was talking funny again, because I didn’t know what a ward was, but the stories she told about the games were funny and the food sounded great.

She told me about service projects and teens who wanted to go to something called seminary at 6 am before school every day. She told me about people who preached for free. She told me about cooking food for funerals and about families who gathered together to talk and to laugh through their tears and hug as they remembered a mother or uncle.

I remembered sitting up until 2 am, talking with my atheist hippie friends about how silly religion was. But the things this weird woman told me didn’t sound silly. I thought it was the most practical church I had ever heard of.

One night I was sitting alone in my house. It wasn’t a home anymore since my wife left. I missed her so much! For some reason I picked up a Bible. I held it and looked at it and then opened it and began to read.

I can’t explain what happened to me that night. It was a deeply intense and spiritual experience. But that night, I knew—I knew—there was a God.

When I went back to work, I told my co-worker I wanted to hear about that religious stuff. So, she sent two young men in white shirts and ties to talk to me. They weren’t much past being adolescents themselves, but what they said made sense. It was what I felt when they talked to me, though, that made me keep listening.

 I had to tell everyone that now I knew there was a God, and that the things I was learning were true. I talked to my hippie friends. They didn’t like what I was saying, and one by one, they left. I guess God knew I needed a whole new start, because pretty soon, I didn’t have a friend left in the whole world.

We looked at his beautiful wife sitting next to him and asked him about his marriage. He laughed again as he started the story.

It was unbelievable. I had been an avowed atheist for so many years, and now I knelt in prayer! I missed my wife. I ached for her. I asked God what I should do. The answer was “Court her!”

I asked my wife to go to a basketball game with me. She knew I did not like basketball, so she told me I was crazy and refused to go.

I called her again and asked her to go to a concert with me. She was even more surprised. But she still said no.

I asked her to go to a play. She thought, what’s up with this guy? But she finally agreed to go with me.

I kept courting her. She began to believe that I really had changed. Eventually she agreed to come back home, but only if I wouldn’t talk about “that religion stuff.”

I didn’t talk about “that religion stuff” but I did keep going to church and I read the scriptures and I introduced her to my new friends. I asked her one day if she would feed the missionaries. Well, my wife has never refused to feed anyone.

So, the missionaries came. And they asked if they could share a message. And she listened.

One night when the missionaries were coming to dinner, my wife told me that she was really tired and that she just did not feel that she could listen to a message that night. I told her that the missionaries would receive inspiration not to give her a message that night.

She followed me around all evening to make sure I didn’t say anything to the missionaries.

After the meal, one of the missionaries looked at my wife and said,

“Sister, I just don’t feel like tonight would be a good time to give a message. Could we do that another time?”

Well, that did it. She was convinced.

That was a lot of years ago. But I am here to tell you that the Lord did not just save my life, he gave me a new, wonderful life. He did not just save my marriage, he gave me a new, wonderful marriage.

We never dreamed that the Lord would send us to the Philippines, but here we are so we can be instruments in the Lord’s hands to help save other lives and other marriages.

But I kill spiders.