Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dearest Elder...

Yes, being the wife of the ward mission leader our house is missionary central. We have missionaries coming and going all the time here. We have "greenies" (those who have just left the Missionary Training Center and "new" at the job) and we have old timers who are about to be "killed off" (ready to go home). We're also highly cognizant of the missionaries who have left our ward and have gone off to all parts of the globe. We write them each week. I decided to include my most recent letter in this post because I felt the message was significant. I always try to make the letters relevant or meaningful, but after our stake conference this past Sunday, I felt that the message delivered was pretty special. So...I'd like to share it...even tho I sometimes come off a little hard-boiled or edgy, remember...I'm just a bit too mushy on the inside and must protect myself with a brave exterior...so here, I'm letting the mushy, gooey inside show...again...

Dear Elder,

We had our Stake Conference this Sunday. Brother and Sister Sybrowsky spoke. They were wonderful. It was apparent that they don’t “officially” prepare talks. They speak entirely from the Spirit. Their experience is so vast and wide that they can call upon it for anecdotes on any topic and can speak for 5, 10, 20, 40 minutes or more, depending on the need. They said so very many inspirational things....I sat all amazed...

One of the things mentioned by Bro. Sybrowsky was of a letter he had received from President Thomas S. Monson. It was directly from the Prophet so he opened it up immediately. It arrived where Bro. Sybrowsky was serving on assignment as an area authority in Sydney, Australia. The letter was handwritten by the prophet. Before he read the letter, he prefaced it with the story of the Savior feeding the multitude of 5,000 on the mount. You remember that story, right? The crowd arrived without food...it became late...they began to hunger...one child had a couple of fish and some bread...the 12 disciples counseled the Lord to turn away the multitude so that the crowd could go home and find food, but the Savior, who loved them, ALL of them, took the young boy’s lunch and divided it among the multitude-filling them. When they had all eaten, the Savior asked the disciples to gather up what was left over so “that nothing be lost” (John 6:12) Then he went back to the letter. It read something like this:
Dear Paul,
A sister in Australia sent me a letter, which I have enclosed. Her husband is not a member and is not very open to discussions about the Church. This sister yearns for fellowship but her husband is not supportive of it. She wants her children to be active in Church. She is asking for help. All I have is her email address. Can you help her?
Tom


Brother Sybrowsky had no other information. He found out her address. It was a very remote and harsh six hour drive from where he and his wife lived. They made the drive together. The couple greeted them. It was quite remote. It was, oddly, between two districts of two remote branches. The closest branch was one and a half hours away! The man came out to greet them with a beer in one hand while waving the other hand.

They were invited inside with the intention of staying briefly-mainly because they had to drive six hours home and there were no hotels along the way. They spoke to the couple. The man had no interest in the church. The woman was so happy to finally speak with Saints, especially in her home. It was a very tender moment for her, as you could imagine, to have the spirit in her home. Elder Sybrowsky asked her if there was anything he could do for her. He said that immediately, tears fell from her eyes and in a tender and pleading voice, she asked if her children could possibly receive a name and blessing, as they had never experienced that. He said “certainly” and with her husband’s permission, one by one, each of her children had Priesthood authority placed on their heads and received their name and blessings. Brother Sybrowski then said to us at the meeting, “Do you know what was done at that time? A family was created on the records of the Church!” It was now a matter of record that a sister and her children lived in that house and those names were now a matter of record-a family was created!

After that was accomplished, Bro Sybrowsky asked the father if he had any questions? The father said that in fact, he did have a question. He said that his wife had mentioned that there was a possibility that their family could exist beyond death-that they could be together forever. He would like to know how something like that could be accomplished. Bro Sybrowsky was more than happy to explain how this was a very real possibility and that the father would be very excited to accomplish this and in fact, would be so excited to have an eternal family that he would give up his drinking to do it. The man said he didn’t think that would ever happen but Bro Sybrowsky assured him that not only would he give up his drinking to have his family forever, but he would be HAPPY to give it up!

Time passed as they visited with this family and several hours went by. Imagine! What started as a tentative we-can-only-stay-a-few-moments-visit lasted HOURS!!! Such is the course of events when the Spirit is directing the proceedings. The Sybrowskys finally had to leave, but with the promise that much would be done to get more people from the church out there. The man agreed to meet with missionaries to answer more questions. Boundaries were adjusted so that a branch COULD BE FORMED TO ACCOMMODATE THIS FAMILY...imagine, a branch was formed!!!!! The Sybrowsky’s assignment ended in Australia, but much had been done and is continuing to be done to fellowship this little family because, like the Savior said on the mount, “...that nothing be lost”. And it all started because a sister wrote a letter to the Prophet asking for some help. Such is the power of the Church that you are representing...the man that you are representing...Jesus the Christ. Polish up that name badge Elder...

With much respect and love,

Sister Deb

Below are some missionary reminders of an elder I knew...a few years back...does this look familiar to any returned missionary out there?...hmmmmmm?.....


I would have posted from my favorite sister missionary, but I couldn't locate her badge OR any paper thingies, but here's her pic...

6 comments:

Em Dog said...

YOu're the best missionary mom ever, Moo! Your letters every week to me were the highlight of my life!

Brown and Serve said...

Wow

adam

The Katzbox said...

Em-your letters were wonderful...I loved them and learned so much from you...still do...

Adam, always happy to hear from you, honey...always...I wonder if Anne will serve a mission....hmmmmmm......

Eli Bowman said...

I'm just glad you still have my handbook. Please hang onto it so my kids will be able to see it when they see you.

What an awesome story! Super spiritual. My whole attitude at work today has just changed. Thanks for posting that, Mom.

The Katzbox said...

Love you Eli....always and forever....I loved going through your missionary stuff....I'll hold onto it for the C&O Express....

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