Monday, October 20, 2008

Exercising Faith and Seeing the Hand of God

Due to my mother's health (My Niece Died This Morning) and their relative poverty, my parents assumed they would never be able to serve a "regular" mission as a couple. However, after talking with their bishop extensively they decided that they would be able to serve at Cove Fort (an historical site not far from their home), since it would not be stressful on my mother and would cost very little. They planned everything accordingly, submitted their papers with that specified by themselves and their bishop (with an explanation about why a regular mission would be impossible) and waited for confirmation of those plans.

They were called on an active proselyting mission to South Carolina - at the full cost for such a mission.

They had no idea how they would be able to do it - both in light of my mother's condition and their finances (they literally didn't have enough money to do it), but they accepted the call, attended the required training and left Utah to drive to South Carolina - not knowing beforehand what they would do.

It was a five-day drive for them. Three days into their journey, an elderly sister called their new Mission President and told him that she had received a strong impression that she was to offer the use of her small house to the mission - to be used for any couple who needed to serve in that area, totally free of charge. She would live with her son and daughter-in-law for as long as the mission needed her home.

The Mission President was unaware of my parents' dilemma, but he immediately felt impressed to have my parents live in that house and serve in that area. They did so for 10 of the 18 months they served - building lasting friendships and having a wonderful experience, and seeing their meager savings extend almost to the penny for what they needed for that mission.

God's hand operates all around us - not always in such visible and undeniable ways as my parents' mission, but powerfully nonetheless. The thing that strikes me most deeply about my parents' experience is that they had no idea how they would be able to do what they had been called to do. It literally was impossible without the direct and active participation of the Lord, but it took them stepping out into the darkness and committing to do something they knew they couldn't do for it to happen.

There is a valuable lesson in there, I believe.


Anonymous said...

I so need to be reminded that Our Father can make good our inadequacies-often it can feel like we are struggling alone and stuck with the consequnces of our own stupidity.I seem to have stepped out of the realm of miracles,yet still feel i believe in them.How wondeful to be able to share in your family's quiet and elegant miracle.I love God's economy.What beauty.

Christy said...

You've given me more to share with my family. Thanks Ray.

Mama D said...

Stepping into the darkness is an incredibly difficult thing to do. It is essentially giving up our need to control our lives and trusting Him to come through and catch us.

When I can accomplish this, I have been blessed. Sometimes I am too afraid to take that first step, feeling that particular situation is too hard, too limited, too harsh. Many times, the examples of you and your parents have helped me take that gut-wrenching step, anyway.

Your post reminds me of this scripture:

"Believe in God, believe that He is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." (Mos 4:9)

Anonymous said...

My sister has sent me a few of your posts to read.

Me, her ex-Mormon, but not anti-Mormon sister.

I mostly blog about the 12-steps which is pretty huge in the God department so I can relate to what you write about.

I'm working OA and Alanon and have lost 40 pounds so far, thanks to God alone. I could not have done this on my own.

So sorry about your heartbreaking. The same age as my niece. I cannot imagine.

Papa D said...

"often it can feel like we are struggling alone and stuck with the consequences of our own stupidity."

Well said, anon. Many people fight that feeling regularly. It can be hard, especially "in the moment". That is something I've told Mama many times - that "enduring to the end" is just as applicable to the trials of a single day or hour as it is to the lifelong struggle.

christy, you're welcome. Giving to you is what I do. *grin*

Mama, I'll talk to you later. *bigger grin*

TraceyBaby, I know I've seen your icon picture somewhere, but for the life of me I can't remember on which blog it was. Thanks for commenting - and tell your sister thanks for sending my blogs to you. I'm trying to think of who she might be. Any clue that wouldn't be obvious to anyone else - or breaking a promise not to say?

I hope and pray you are lifted and strengthened in your trials. I try not to imagine dealing with what I see from your blog, so you have my heartfelt sympathy and love.

Papa D said...

Oh, and TraceyBaby, congratulations on the weight loss. That is awesome!

Reine said...

good post, but i think you should read twilight.. now!! and ryan read it! just because there is a question to his masculinity, doesnt mean he's not a dude! so there!

Tasha said...

Ray when did your parents serve? My parents serve their first mission in SC.
I wish i could get Marcus to read your blogs.
stay away from Twilight, i cannot be the only one who has not read it!

Mama D said...

Tasha, Mom and Dad D served in Winnsboro and Walterboro, SC in early 2000-2001.

Maybe you could choose one of Ray's posts and print it out for Marcus. Maybe he'd read it that way? Hopefully that wouldn't be too overwhelming or pushy.

And maybe you should both cave in and read Twilight, lol! Actually, I doubt Ray will. He still hasn't read W&G, after he said he would if I read Harry Potter. I think I like HP more than he'd like W&G anyway. He's not the type to get all twitterpated about Twilight.

(For anyone lost on how Twilight came up in this thread, blame dancer09 who has inherited her papa's sense of humor - if not his taste in books!)

Now back to your regularly scheduled commenting... :)

chelle said...

Hmm this sounds a lot like yours and Michelle's faith these last few years. :D
What great examples of faith your parents have and passed on to you.