Saturday, July 23, 2016

Updates, Reminders, and Blessings

This week has been busy.  Kevin had a rough weekend and didn't eat most of the weekend until Sunday night.  I was thrilled when he mentioned that he was feeling a little better Sunday night and much better by Monday.  That was great news!  

Work has been a little busy this week for me.  Not because of anything in particular.  Most everything is pretty much the same as always with the exception of a few things we rotate from person to person.  This week I had to handle the team email box with all the requests and claim notifications, among other things.  Then I was in charge of this week's team meeting so that meant organizing and facilitating the meeting, as well as taking the meeting minutes and distributing them to the entire team.  These things alone do not add up to a lot, but collectively with all the other things I do can get a little crazy at times.  Especially when we have a ton of claims come in.  This week we have had a few more claims than normal, which is what it is.  It happens.  With all that has been happening, I've been a little more drained than usual and have felt that something was not quite right.  And then it dawned on me what it was.  It wasn't anything to do with work it had everything to do with something I stopped doing recently.  It was my daily scripture study.  So, I started again.  This time at the beginning of the Book of Mormon.  I wanted to start reading the New Testiment but one thing holds me back every time.  It's Psalms.  I guess I just don't understand them.  I did learn that the best way to study Psalms is to sing them and I found a few websites out there that have actually put Psalms to music and matched the words up as closely as they could the the King James Version of the Bible.  I was impressed when I heard a few of them.  It's a whole lot better when you can actually feel Psalms.  Their meaning and the things that King David and the others psalmists were trying to convey.  I can't wait to listen and follow along in my scriptures.  Makes me want to get through the Book of Mormon as quickly as I can, but I won't do that.  This time I've decided to read the Book of Mormon and pay attention to the promises and blessings throughout the book.  I tend to learn more when I begin my reading with a purpose in mind.  Plus my reading goes a lot smother too.  

This week I started out in 1st Nephi and just finished reading the part about when Nephi slayed Laban, and the part that sticks out the most was when Nephi reminds his older brothers that they were commanded to obtain the records of their people and how the Lord would provide a way to accomplish this.  Well, I have been thinking about that a lot lately over the past couple of days and then we received this letter from our missionary.  

Hey Everyone,

   Another great week. Elder Gxxxxx and I have been doing a ton of
street contacting and finding. We're getting to know the members a lot
and this branch does a ton of activities like 8-12 a month, it's
awesome. We are going to be helping a lot with home teaching and using
that as a way to find less actives and use those less actives to find
new investigators. The members are all on board to help so we're just
helping them figure out how to best help. We just had zone conference
and we discussed how to most effectively use the Book of Mormon in
missionary work. And during the conference something really cool happened.
     Some back story..... 
When I first got in the mission we had very few
baptisms as a mission, like 15-20, but President Smith this past month
said he wants the mission to get 30 baptisms or more in three months
consecutively and that was our mission goal. So yesterday President
talked to us about his mission and how his members in his branch went
out and camped along the water and every day a group of the members
fasted every day in a rotation so that everyone was able to
participate in this fast and they were fasting for a baptism to happen
by the new year which was at the end of the week. President Smith said
he had just been transferred there and had no faith in a baptism
happening because no one they were teaching was ready. Then they met
someone who had just moved there from Tonga and had received all the
lessons and attended church multiple times in Tonga. They talked with
there mission president and he said they could baptize her. He then
told us that we were set to have a total of 29 baptisms this month so
we wouldn't meet our goal, but just as he was talking to us he got 2
texts from missionaries saying that they have baptismal dates for this
Saturday!!!! It was so cool!!! The entire room just had there jaws hit
the floor. It's amazing that when you set a righteous goal and really
strive for it, that Heavenly Father will help with everything else.
      We just set three member presents for next week and we have no
idea who we are going to teach but we know that we're doing what
Heavenly Father wants, so we know that we can do it!!!
     Hope you're all doing well!!!!


Elder Schmidt
Sent from my iPad

I love that the things I am reading at home go along with the things that our missionary is learning and striving to understand more and more.  That is always an awesome thing.  I'm so happy he loves his mission and has embraced the diverse cultures around him.  Curtis always way our inquisitive child and loves to explore and learn new things.  We love that about him.  I can't wait to hear how his desire to be faithful has brought about blessing for him and his companion in the weeks to come.  We truly are blessed with great children.  Not perfect children, but children who are perfect for us and who strive to follow the teachings of the gospel.  That makes me a very proud Mom.  I love those kids of ours.  They stretch me beyond my wildest dreams and they are a source of tremendous pride and are our greatest blessings!  

This reminds me of a story I read somplace.  

Here is that story....

Recently, I met a fascinating man who was about my age.  We had the opportunity to speak at length and I came away feeling so so grateful for this short interaction.  He was visiting from 1000 miles away and the chances are that we will never meet again, but I honestly think that I will never forget this conversation.

In the course of our visit, somehow we were led to the topic of having kids, single parenting, and families.  He shared with me that decades ago, his wife had decided that she no longer wanted to be a wife or to be a full-time mother.  He was at the peak of his career and came home one day to find that she had left him....left him with three children, ages 7-14.  I was so impressed that he didn't find fault in his ex-wife.  He said, "she felt that she had her reasons and I understood."  Impressive.  

He went on to share of the details of how he had moved his family to a new location to further his career and how difficult it was at times.  He was very specific in mentioning that there were days that he would come in the door after working for ten to twelve hours, only to be greeted by two dogs who needed to be walked, as well as three children who were anxious for help with homework, dinner to be prepared, a listening ear and a home that needed attention, laundry that needed to be done and on and on.  He was in no way complaining, just sharing the facts.

He confessed one evening, he came in the door, did all that was done, got everyone settled into bed and he said, out loud, with tears falling down his face, "my God, will this ever end!?"  And then came the poignant part of the conversation.....He continued, "and, my new friend, be careful what you ask for because you may get it."  He went on to tell me that the years went by, the dogs passed away and one at a time, the children grew up and began their own lives elsewhere.  He tested up and said that one day, he walked into his home of a decade and it was empty.  For the first time, it was empty.  It was quiet.  He said that he walked into the home and realized that this was the first time in forever that he was truly alone.  And he wept.

He said that he remembered that plea to God all those years ago and realized that he had gotten exactly what he had asked had ended.  He was alone.  He said that he was literally overwhelmed by loneliness at this realization.  He said, "and that's when I realized it....this life is about family.  Everything we do, every thing is about family.  The joy in this life comes from being with family, serving our family, being s family.  He went on to say, "make the most of the time you have left with your kids.  They will be gone very very soon.  And things will never be the same again.  Never forget that family is everything."

We said our goodbyes and, like I say, we may never meet again.  I don't even know his full name, but this man made such an impression on me.  He was not from the valley and actually was born and raised in another part of the world, another nation.  We were of different religious beliefs and backgrounds.  BUT, we connected over what we both agreed to be the most important thing that we have in common, in just one short conversation.

It's the middle of summer.  I am already hearing comments from Moms, "I can't wait till school starts!  These kids are making me crazy!"  I'm on the other end of the spectrum.  I love summertime because the kids are home.....even if they sleep too much, work too little, argue, makes messes and pester each other at times.  I'll take that any day's better than being alone!

I appreciate this man for sharing this.  This brought tears to my eyes and will be words that I hope never to forget.  

Enough said.

Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.

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