You know what the most amazing things about missions is that you really learn how to fully trust in the Lord in all things. You trust Him to keep you safe. You trust Him to help you learn a language or how to teach a lesson. You trust Him to take care of your family while you are away. The one thing that you never really think about is how you trust Him to keep the people that you are serving with and among safe as well. This week, there was a terrible accident with one of the families that I dearly love and they lost their youngest daughter. Throughout everything, I realized that I have a lot of trust in the Lord.
Every single ger here is heated up by an indoor fire-burning furnace that stays lit 24/7 throughout the winter months because it is too cold to let it go out, and gers are not that big. They are the size of a living room at most that has a highest point right at the center where the furnace is located and the ducts allow the smoke to exit through a ceiling. The furnaces are awesome at keeping the cold out, but it also is one big hunk of burning hot metal located in a semi-tight living quarter. Almost every older adult has located on their body at least one burn scar--fire is just a part of life here. It is necessary and I have seen children as young as 8 starting the furnace to keep the house warm. Since coming here, I have even gained two minor burn marks, but these were due to me being a little careless and completely self-incurred. I have had companions with melted spots on their winter jackets (you really must shed the 15 layers when you walk in because gers cannot control the heat of a fire and therefore become like saunas) and melted bus cards. It is just a part of life.
Furnaces are central to life. It is where you also make the food to feed your family and boil the water to make it sanitary to drink. The accident to my dearly beloved family here was also due to a furnace that went awry.
Since then, I have learned how much I need this gospel in my life. Their loss becomes heartbreaking, it is saddening, it makes you cry because of the loss and hurt that others are feeling, but it is not devastating. Even more, because of the gospel, I am able to look above these clouds of heartbreak and see the goodness and glory of God. He has established such a merciful plan for us and death really is an essential part of life. The gospel gives us the hope and conviction that everything really will work out because Christ performed the Atonement for us and we get credit for trying to be as obedient as possible, even if we fall short of the mark. We need to have faith in His mercy and love--then be willing to be comforted.
That last part is vital. The night that I found out, I could not sleep. I had been in their ger so many times, that I could almost picture every horrific detail from the accident and it kept me awake. I prayed to fall asleep, but it wasn't quick coming. I finally had this urge to get out of bed and I went and grabbed the General Conference talk from April 2016 and read Sis. Bonnie Oscarson's talk, 'Do I Believe?' It is a talk about how the Gospel really is the great message of hope that has ever existed. It is how we need to really believe in what we are teaching with all of our souls and when things are not going right, be at peace knowing that it will be. After reading this talk, my heart really was comforted because I do believe what I am learning from the scriptures and living prophets.
The next morning, I felt sparks of my regular happiness, but whenever I thought about this family, I could not stop the tears from coming. I knew that I was on the path of healing, but still needed more help. I opened up that same General Conference again and read Elder Holland's, 'The Lord Will Work Wonders Among You Tomorrow' and he said the most potent thing. The greatest truth of all eternity is that God loves us with His whole might, His whole strength, and His whole might. How could we doubt? Then this morning, I read in Mosiah 25 how the people thought on the immediate goodness of God. I believe that since i was willing, the Lord really did allow peace to flood through me. This peace replaces all fears and doubts, it covers all wounds, and comforts the broken parts of hearts.
This peace is not reserved for just those coping with a loss. It is readily available to every single one of God's children. That means you. You can feel peace. You can feel love. The only thing is that you must be willing to be comforted--it is like being willing to take a step out of the darkness and into the warmth of the sun. God will not force you into being happy, He will not push you more that you are willing to go, He is here to help you at the pace that you will allow, and since He loves you so much, He will wait for you to be ready.
He is your father. He loves you perfectly.
This I solemnly testify,
Sister Jessica Olsen
This is a picture of the family that I love.
Hahahahahah, so here I was, just standing barefoot in the kitchen. :)
Then this is a picture of the steam that happens when you open a window (my school cafeteria)
Also Puje is going to America! She is actually already there, i love this woman so much. :)
Then after all of that hard work, comes the feast! It was seriously delicious.
Cows, staying warm after being outside for too long, and then cleaning up that wonderful place that we love, the church bathroom. Hahahahaha, we even put the little kids to work--they made such a mess and I had to mop after them