Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Little Miracles (#19)

Sister Johnsen and I have been thinking a lot lately about the little miracles that we see every day here in Palau. Sometime these little miracles happen to us and go unnoticed by us, so we have decided to watch more closely for them as we visit the members and meet new people on Palau.

Joni (the branch president’s wife) told the story in testimony meeting of President’s Kesolei’s car being rear ended by a big truck. When she related the rest of the story to Sister Johnsen and I during our FHE with her family on Monday, we felt sure that they had been the recipient of a tender mercy.

Joni explained that she was about to head out in her little car with her 9 year old daughter to pick up the laundry. Inexplicably, President Kesolei said, “I’ll go with you” so rather than going in her small car they drove in his SUV. After the short trip they were about to make the left turn into their driveway when they heard a screech of tires behind them, a drunk driv
er in a big truck failed to see them in time and despite the last minute application of his brakes slammed into the rear of their big car. Joni thought that it was a miracle that none of them were injured and even their vehicle sustained little damage since the truck nailed the spare tire mounted on the rear door of the vehicle. The rest of the story was that President Kesolei NEVER goes with Joni to pick up the laundry. He was relaxing in front of the TV set watching news when Joni said that she was leaving, and he had a distinct impression that he should go with her and he followed the prompting.

This scripture came to our minds after hearing this story. “But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” 1 Nephi 1:20

We had a wonderful time in Guam for our Senior conference. We got to meet all the other couples who are working on Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae, Saipan, Pohnpei, and Guam. Some of them live in very primitive conditions. On several islands there is more than one couple so they have each other for support as they do the work. Several islands, including ours, have just one senior couple, so we thoroughly enjoyed being able to spend time with the senior couples from different areas in our mission and learn about their service.

We got to stay in the Marriott Hotel and they has hi-speed internet. It was heaven! And we walked along the beach and did some shopping while we were there. They gave us money for our meals and so we enjoyed that.

Each couple was to prepare a 15 minute presentation. We built ours around the scripture in the Book of Mormon about being instruments in the hands of the Lord (Alma 26: 2-3) Elder Johnsen had prepared slides and we wrote the dialogue together and so we felt like we were well prepared. One of the little miracles that occurred was that we were the last couple to go before lunch on Monday. At the end of our presentation we sang Sally DeFord’s song, “An Instrument in thy Hand.” It fit our presentation perfectly, but surprisingly the words mentioned things that other couples had talked about. The spirit that we all felt after that song was very real and was evidence to us of the power of music to bring the spirit. We felt very blessed to be able to share that music with the group.

President Mecham challenged us to pray for miracles every day and so we came home and put up some signs in our apartment. We decided to keep a miracle journal and to read a miracle scripture every day.

One of our “little” miracles this week was discovering a sister who is not on the island but actually lives in Florida. We have sent her records there and now she is in a position to be rescued by members of the church. Even though we have sent about 70 names off the island, each one feels like a miracle. It is interesting the help we get as we search for these lost members.

This past week we found a woman who was very sweet and warm to us. She said that her aunt took her to church when she was 6 and she was baptized in Saipan at age 8. She then they moved to Palau. She attended the Meyuns Branch of the church until she was 12. Then that branch lost its lease and was torn down. Many members who attended there lost their ability to be able to go to church because they needed something within walking distance. They eventually became “lost” to the church. Someone told us recently that there were so many members in Meyuns people called it Mormon Town. One sister who has been off the island told the missionaries that she can’t believe what has happened to the church and the membership since she left and came back. There are only a handful of members who attend church in Meyuns now since the Mission President opened a new unit there. The work of rescue is important in these islands. We are grateful the Lord has called us here to serve. That is a “big” miracle in our lives.

Elder Johnsen came back from Guam and has had a cold and a plugged up ear. But because we have our own Branch doctor, Mitch Hibbard from North Carolina, serving here for 6 months on a military assignment, we have lots of help. He came up on Sunday (he never has a day where he doesn’t doctor someone) and tried to help us unplug Elder Johnsen’s ear. It was a miracle to us, to be able to get help in such a personal and timely manner. But the Elders and Sister Johnsen were totally entertained during the entire procedure because of the faces produced by Elder Johnsen. Fun times, at least for those of us who got to watch!

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