It was a sunny hot Saturday spent working in the temple. We returned home tired but spiritually fed and started our evening routine of laundry. There was a message on the answering machine from the Stake Executive Secretary, “The stake president wants to meet with you & your wife early in the morning. Find someone to teach your classes & clear your schedule for tomorrow.” What?!
We pointed at each other and said things like, “It’s your fault.” And “the calling is for you.”
That night my dream begin…we were sitting in the stake presidents office and I heard him ask my husband to serve in the Spanish branch. I thought, “What about me, I don’t speak Spanish? How am I going to serve? How am I going to grow?” Then I heard the Lord’s voice clearly speak to my mind, go with your husband. I woke up.
The next morning I was surprised & relieved when Ryan was called to serve in the single adult branch presidency. Then the stake president told me not to worry. I could stay in the family ward. “No,” I said, “we go together or not at all. Boots come in pairs.” From my dream, I knew the Lord wanted us to be together and serve together.
Six months later there was another phone call. Ryan said it was my turn, but I knew better than that. This time he was called as a counselor in the Spanish branch. I was ready this time. I knew we were suppose to go together. I knew we would grow together & serve together. I was fully prepared to be shunned, ignored, and not understand anything going on around me for 2-3 years because I am white and do not know the language.
How surprised I was when I walked into RS. My skin color did not matter and neither did my lack of Spanish. The sisters opened their hearts and their arms to me. They included me in activities and different ones would translate a little for me.
I remember sitting in sacrament meeting that first Sunday. As we sang the hymns I looked at the sisters from The English ward who were helping with the music. I felt clear confidence as the spirit spoke to me again, “You can do that. You can lead the hymns. Then these sisters can be at home with their families.” So, I spoke to my husband & he emailed the branch president. Next thing I know I am branch music chair. What a wonderful opportunity. I was excited and grateful. Not only did the sisters open their hearts to me, I would be able to do a small part & serve in the branch.
Elder Ellis said, “One thing we have often been taught is to bloom where we are planted. Yet sometimes we are tempted to migrate to some new area, …The apostles and prophets have often taught that what happens inside the home is far more important than what our children encounter outside. How we raise our children is more important than where we raise them. Certainly there are other factors involved in deciding where to live, and thankfully, the Lord will guide us if we seek His confirmation.
Another question is “Where are we needed?” For 16 years I served in the presidency of the Houston Texas North Stake. Many moved to our area during those years. We would often receive a phone call announcing someone moving in and asking which was the best ward. Only once in 16 years did I receive a call asking, “Which ward needs a good family? Where can we help?”
I must admit we have never called to scope out wards. We have followed the promptings of the spirit when we have moved. There is always a reason that God puts us in a certain place. For example, because of the calling in music, I have been blessed as I have served. I have learned more Spanish & feel the spirit in the meetings. What else has God asked you & I to do?
President Thomas S. Monson has asked us to go “to the rescue” and serve others. He said: “We will discover that those whom we serve, who have felt through our labors the touch of the Master’s hand, somehow cannot explain the change which comes into their lives. There is a desire to serve faithfully, to walk humbly, and to live more like the Savior. Having received their spiritual eyesight and glimpsed the promises of eternity, they echo the words of the blind man to whom Jesus restored sight, who said, ‘One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.’
Each day we have the opportunity to give help and service—doing the right thing at the right time, without delay. Think of the many people who have a difficult time obtaining a job or who are ill, who feel lonely, who even think that they have lost everything. What can you do to help? Imagine that a neighbor, caught out in the rain with his car broken down, calls you for assistance. What is the right thing to do for him? When is the right time to do it?
At one point wondered if I was making a difference in YW. God knows me well. I would like to share with you a treasured & sacred experience I had with the youth. We are trying to reach out to our YW, get to know them, and show our love for them. We took a small group of YW and traveled a distance to a YW that does not have the opportunity to attend our activities very often. I looked up a “getting-to-know-you” game on the Internet and wrote questions on note cards. The girls shared their favorite colors, music, foods, cartoon characters, places they want to travel, and other fun facts. The last card said this: “Name something beautiful.”
I had thought they would list things like butterflies & rainbows. I was mistaken. These daughters of God bore testimony of the beauty of their families, the beauty of their mothers, their gratitude for their mothers, the plan of salvation, and their love for their Heavenly Father & Savior. As I listened and was taught by these young women I heard the spirit whisper, “that is why you are here.” I knew we were in the right place at the right time and the right people were participating in that precious moment. I have had several similar promptings since then at other activities & lessons.
On my mission, I served without knowing the impacts of my service. I have served in many callings, not always knowing or seeing the effects of my service. Sometimes we may not know. But, God knows. He knows what we each need and when we need it. He will guide us.
The Lord has called each of us to be here at this time. Are we sitting back on the wall being ignored? Or are we finding ways to serve? What does God needs me to do? What has He asked me do?
With His guidance we can “bloom where we are planted”, we can “rescue others”, we can be instruments in his hands.
The sisters in this Spanish branch may never fully comprehend the positive impact they have had on my life by welcoming me with open arms and without judgement. They have done as the Savior would have done. The small things can make a difference.