This was a really hard and faith trying week for Sister Erekson and I. Neither one of us have ever wanted to call our moms so badly!! Through this tough experience that happened we saw a lot of miracles happen, but we still have a long road ahead. Here's what happened.
Monday and Tuesday went pretty normal and Wednesday we had a fantastic day because we got to see Russ and Marie. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and like usual we left their house riding on the clouds :) Russ was cracking us up that day! He told us he makes "special brownies" and sprinkles parsley on top as a joke. He said, "I made real ones in the Navy! All them boys were comin' through the back door of my kitchen!" We told him repentance is real. Hahaha we had a great afternoon with them and they said they would be at church on Sunday. That night at our missionary correlation meeting, we were jumping out of our seats to tell their story. They were our pride and joy!
Thursday was a normal day too, after dinner though we had 5 missed calls and a couple voice-mails. My stomach dropped and my heart pounded as the man on the voicemail said we needed to reach this lady in Snowflake immediately. Someone had passed away. We immediately called back and the man confirmed our worst fear. Russ had passed away unexpectedly Wednesday night. Sister Erekson and I broke out in sobs as we called Russ and Marie's fellow-shippers in Snowflake. Her voice choked as she related the news to us and told us that Marie had been trying to get a hold of us. We raced to Marie's home, our faces streaked with tears and make-up. She answered the door and just cried in our arms. "He wasn't supposed to go yet," she said. "We were going to get baptized together on September 26th!" We cried and cried as she told us all of the extra problems she now has to deal with on top of her all ready struggling situation. He was only 55 and simply slipped
out of this life in his sleep. We reminded her of the Plan of Salvation we had taught less than a week earlier. She nodded and replied "I hope he is in the sun..." Our hearts shattered as we watched poor sweet Marie. I attempted to say a closing prayer through my tears and then we left her and went to our apartment to cry some
I had a lot of emotions and questions running through me. Devastation, anger, confusion. Wondering why he would be taken when he was so close to being baptized. Why such a humble woman would be humbled even
more, and so incredibly sad for the hurt and heartache that Marie now has to go through. Then the distinct thought came to me "He's not yours, he is mine." I was humbled as I had to accept that Heavenly Father has a plan, my companion and I cannot wrap our heads around the why's, but we know that everything will work out the way he has planned. We are still devastated, and we aren't sure we are prepared to help Marie face this and continue progressing in her conversion, but we know the Lord will provide the knowledge and strength
We called our good Bishop who went over immediately upon hearing the news, although he had only met them once. The Relief Society presidency visited her and offered to help with funeral arrangements. Marie wants it at our chapel because she said "That's they way he was going!" But Sister Erekson and I still needed to find a member friend, someone who we felt Marie would trust and turn to in the future. We made it the focus of our fast on Sunday, and during the last hour of church a woman gave a comment on the lesson about losing a family
member, and how she knew it had to happen so she could help others who go through similar trials. I knew she was the answer to our prayers....we debated talking to her right after the block, but we got distracted with other tasks. To our surprise, this same member whom we had never met, approached us! The answer to our fast was confirmed and she agreed to come with us this week.
Russ' passing was a trial of my faith this week. I know God's plan, I teach it multiple times a week! I know the words to say to comfort those who have lost loved ones in the past, but all of a sudden the loss of a loved one became personal. No one, not even the members have been able to understand how hard this is for us as missionaries. We cringed every time a member said "thats a bummer," or "well those things happen!" We love our investigators in a way that only Christ can understand. And after 10 days of teaching Russ, we felt like we
lost a grandpa and a friend. But Heavenly Father has strengthened us, he's given us the answers and the help we've needed so far, and we know he will continue to help us as we strive to help Marie.
Temple work also became incredibly important to us this week. We know that in a year Russ will be able to receive the baptism he was so excited about. Then he and Marie can be sealed for time and eternity.
Because of God's plan for each of us, I know that their family will be forever.
Now I'll try to end with some brighter stories :) I promise we are doing a lot better now than we were on Thursday. The shock has worn off and we are now able to plan how to help and where to go from here.
The Lord will provide.
Emily is still progressing rapidly :) I think her only disappointment is that she can't go with her ward to do baptisms for the dead....yet! We had two lessons with her this week. The first one we went to the
Snowflake temple with 2 of the kids she lives with and then her friend Bailey from our ward. We walked the grounds and talked about Temple work and family history. She's excited to go inside after her baptism :)
Nuri is still progressing! I felt for poor Kassidy this week as Nuri made us try a Peruvian "treat." It literally tasted just like that nasty liquid cold medicine little kids have to take. Sister Erekson and I did all we could not to gag. Then she gave us a stack of "herbal tea" packets. Since the box was in Spanish and we didn't get a
chance to read it, we aren't sure if we should be concerned or not. We are going to hope she knows what she's talking about. Nevertheless we taught the Word of Wisdom and she committed to follow it. As long
as she can still drink Coca Cola she said....haha I wanted to say, oh please! Call my mom and ask her about Coca Cola!! She came to a stake breakfast at the park this week and just jumped into different groups
to chat and play games. The members were awesome with her :)
Paul and Amanda are still on fire. Amanda bore her testimony on Sunday and Sister Erekson and I were all grins, even chuckling because she was waving her arms and talking like a gangster :) Paul wants to be
baptized so badly, but still has to wait til next year. Plus they need to get married, and have set a date in September which pushes his baptism back even more. We are going to try to reset that with them this week.
We had a hilarious dinner this week! The members made us breakfast for dinner and their 2 and 4 year olds could not get enough bacon! The 4 year old daughter was eating so much that I started to tease her, saying that little kids who eat a lot of bacon start to look like little piggy's with curly tails!! She laughed, but looked a little
nervous :) She continued to sneak more pieces of bacon when her mom wasn't looking and Sister Erekson and I would start gasping about the tail growing out of her. The poor little girl kept checking her backside and saying "Noooo that's silly!!!" I guess apparently we concerned her enough and she really wanted to show us proof. So the next thing we know, we turn and see a full moon!!! "See look!" she said, "NO tail." We just rolled over laughing :) I love little kids :)
This week we are super busy. We have exchanges and I get to experience New Mexico for a day! Then we have to drive down to Scottsdale and stay the night in the mission home for Mission Leadership Council. I'm
excited about that for two reasons....President said I can go visit Xochitl, and I get to go to Cafe Rio :) Score!!!
I hope you all have a great first week of August :) I love you and I miss you tons!
I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU
|6 more weeks of selfies! |
We are staying together another transfer!!
|Last Monday we went mini golfing! We are the champs!!|
|Our sister roomies - Sister Lords & Sister Surer|