This past two weeks I have have the opportunity to be involved in several very moving experiences, where I have learn that true nature of many people I love and even more people that I don't even know. Sometimes I get discouraged at the wickedness of the world. I do not watch the news and I do not get involved in politics because I see such ugliness. I guess I just want to live in a bubble of kindness and good deeds. This past couple of weeks I have gotten to do just that. Two weeks ago a got a call from a lady in our ward who works at the library. I women, who just moved here from Florida, came in to get a library card. As they began to chat, this woman, Kristy, began to tell the library work the circumstances surrounding her arrival in Utah. Her family was planning on making the move here to look for work. The economy in Florida is bad and they had job prospects here. They moved all of their belonging into a storage unit and then moved in with her mom for a few weeks. During that time, tropical storm Faye hit the Florida coast and the storage unit was completely flooded....we are talking water halfway up the unit. They did not live close by, about 40min away, so they did not know of the damage for several days. By the time they went to asses the damage, their belongs were a total loss, mostly to black mold and of course water damage. They were able to make the move here with one bed, one very water logged sofa and their summer clothing (all the items they had in suitcases at her moms house). When they arrived, they moved into a 3 bedroom apt and began shopping at the DI's for furniture. They needed everything for 5 children and two adults. They had no luck as BYU had just started and the students has cleaned the DI's out! They were told that it could be several weeks before they has household furniture available. They had the 3 older kids ( 7, 6, and 4 ) in one bed and the parents along with the two little ones ( 2 and 12 months) slept on the floor. So this is the story I get from the library worker at 10 PM on a Tuesday. She said she did not know what to do and thought I could figure out something. She gave me the mom's phone number, even thought she really should not have since it was on a confidential library application. (like library cards contain private info anyway!) I got on the computer and sent out an email to about 15 friends and family, briefly explaining the situation and asking if anyone had any household items that they could donate. What happened over the next 3 days was amazing. By that night, I had a queen bed, including mattress, box spring, headboard and foot board, a kitchen table, and a toddler bed and mattress. They entire family would not spend another night on the floor. By the next day, we had dishes, silverware, pots, pans, towels, toys, bed linens, coats, hats, gloves, a TV, VCR, two more twin beds and mattresses, and all lot of bedding. We also had gifts for all the kids and two gift cards for a significant amount of money. I just couldn't believe how people responded! The amazing thing is that I kept hearing from people that I did not know. My email kept getting forwarded on and ended up being read by countless people and many of them came through with some kind of help for this family. By Thursday night.....48 hours after I received the call from the library, I had located and spoken to her bishop. On Friday morning she was visited by her bishopric and the RS presidency and by Sat morning they had a kitchen full of food. In less then one week, this family had everything they need to live comfortably and many things things that would bring joy all at the hands of strangers. I was very humbled by this experience. There are so many people who are so very selfless. I have been thinking of the scripture in Matt. "In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" I truly felt the hands of our Savior reach out and touch this family and I am so grateful to have been the lucky one that got to make the deliveries and see their faces and share in their tears as they were touch by the spirit! I feel like I learned from this experience. We have so much. We are so blessed. I have never had to sleep on the floor and I have never gone without food. I hope I appreciate what I have more and remember the hands of the Lord in all things!
The second experience I had this past week was to help with a funeral. There was an older couple that lived in our ward for 9 years. They moved to Arizona to live with one of their children about 2 years ago. They felt, that with the husbands failing health, they had family that they needed to spend time with. He passed away on Sept 10th and requested that he be brought back to Eagle Mountain for his funeral and to be buried. I got word on Thursday that we would have a funeral on Saturday. As the RS president, I was in charge of the luncheon, moving the flowers, and just making sure the families needs were met that day. About half the family is vegetarian so we has a luncheon that would be appropriate for both vegetarians and meat eaters. It turned out beautiful. The bishop wanted me to order a floral arrangement from the ward. We actually found a sister who used to do weddings and funerals and she made the most beautiful arrangement I have seen! (the photo is above) The family chose fall colors, red, orange and green, for the casket and this arrangement was made to match. Again, I was so amazed at how many people were willing to take their Saturday and help someone they did not know. (this family moved a while ago and most of the people here did not know them). They had 7 children, spread across the US, and all of them attended the service. Several of them had the opportunity to speak about their father. It was very moving to hear them honor their father and speak of eternal families. They were sad, of course, because they will miss his presence but they were also very happy, knowing that they will see him again. This is not the first funeral I have been to and knew how spiritual they are but, after the week I already had, I felt very moved to again see the Lord's had at work.
If I have learned one thing this past several days, it is the principle of service. I honestly have a testimony of the power that service has to lift our burdens. Our Heavenly Father has sent a Savior to atone for not only our sins but for our hardships and trials too. When we are engaging in service, we are lifting the burdens of those around us, therefore, helping others to accept the Savior's atoning sacrifice in their lives. In turn, we too are uplifted and find the strength to endure our own difficulities.