Thursday, May 29, 2014

It's the Spirit

Last preparation day with Sister Opeda! We went and got cookie dough blizzards to celebrate one year!
No matter who we are, what we have, what our background or culture may be, we all have the gift of time here on this earth. Each of us has 24 hours in one day--what a miracle.  God has given us time to learn, grow, develop, one of the gifts made possible by the Atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  This gift, as with all of His gifts, is made available to each of us.  This morning I was so powerfully impacted by the way three women, three of our sisters, three of His daughters have been using this time so preciously given to them.
In quoting Elaine S. Dalton, Cici shared, "One young woman touched by the Spirit can change the world."  

Today has been off to such a beautiful start.  I've decided that there just never is any room for any negativity--there is too much to be grateful for; we are children of God.

Cici, Reeve and Lolly are three world class golfers who compete professionally in golf around the world.  Cici is from Norway, Reeve is from Zimbabwe and Lolly is from South Africa. This morning, out of all the places in the world they could be, they came and spoke to us in our humble basement offices of the Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission. These women came with a desire to uplift, to inspire, to motivate, and they left with the tears of 200 sister missionaries dampening their shoulders from the hugs they stayed to give and receive from each of us. Cici, Reeve and Lolly together have founded "Eyes for Zimbabwe" which provides cataract operations for thousands of people in Zimbabwe every year to receive their sight. As it started with this primary purpose, it grew to be an organization that just sought to provide for people in general, with whatever needs they may have.

Our eyes filled with tears as we watched videos of these people in Zimbabwe having bandages removed from their eyes, and frowns removed from their faces...only to see smiles leap across their faces; they could see. I cried as I saw picture after picture of Reeve's nephew taking off his own shoes, his own shirt to give them to the young boys he played with in the dirt roads of Africa. I felt such a tangible and powerful love as I then thought of our investigator, Anderson, so far away in Nigeria, walking to church each Sunday with his Bible, The Book of Mormon, his pamphlets about the restoration, the Plan of Salvation as well as his strength of youth pamphlet in hand--all provided by the Bishop and members where he lives. Such a strong spirit came over me as I thought of the influence we can all have for so much good.  I thought of the people who have touched my life and given me guidance in every way.

With Cici from Norway--I am SO grateful for everything they shared!

She then went on to say, "We may not change the entire world, but when touched by the spirit, we will change the world of that one person."

How true that really is. This last week, one very young woman and her siblings changed the world of me, my companion, her family and everyone who walked by.

Monday night, Sister Opeda and I had just a short amount of time left before we would need to grab our things to head home for the night.  After sitting and talking with a woman by the shell fountain here on temple square, Sister Opeda felt impressed that we needed to walk towards the North Visitor's center, and we did so without hesitation.  As we started to walk, from far off we could see a spread out, beautiful family--the White family from Colorado. There, in the shadow of the temple was little Lucy, spinning around by the flagpole, little Ian running to and fro from his siblings to his mom, Atticus taking everything in, and then there was one...there was Avaree, just 8 years old, crying by her Mom.

From a distance it could seem that Avaree was crying because someone had perhaps been mean to her, or picked on her, but as we got closer we saw that really a miracle of the Lord was taking place.
We knelt down next to this sweet young girl you just cried looking from us, to her mom, to the temple and back.

"Aww, sweet girl," we said, "why are you crying?"

She looked at us, tears filling her eyes and dropping to the sacred grounds and said something that will never leave me.

"I feel the Holy Ghost," she choked back her tears and then bawled out, "and it feels amazing!"

I have never experienced something like that in all my life.  Here was sweet young Avaree, just recently baptized and had received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  We both cried and just stared into her eyes with awe.
"What does it feel like, Avaree?" we asked.

With a big smile and her arms wrapped around her she said, "It just feels like a big hug."

Looking around there wasn't a single eye that wasn't wet with tears.  I was brought back to the memories I have of my own baptism.  I remember so vividly going down into the water, coming up and just being the happiest I have ever been.  I remember hands being laid on my head and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and feeling that big, warm hug that she so powerfully testified of. Her brother Atticus went on to share that he was feeling the very same thing.

How real the power of the Holy Ghost is in our lives.  It is not just a feeling, it is divine intervention, it is when heaven and earth are brought together.  
Closing up West Gate last night!
It's the Spirit that has let me know where I need to be each day, each moment.  It's the Spirit that has let me know that I needed to serve a mission.  It is the Spirit that has made this precious gift of time a miracle to be preserved and remembered.  It is the Spirit that has touched the hearts of people around the world whether they be in Colorado, Africa, Norway or Salt Lake City, Utah, and how grateful I am to be reminded each time I feel the Spirit, that my Father in Heaven, my Savior Jesus Christ, are guiding me, and helping each of us, return to live with them again.

I love you all!!!

SHOUTOUTS: Dad & Mom, Robert Donakey, Makelle Wood, Jessica Helm, Grandfather & Grandma Jeanie, Brother & Sister Donakey, Mary, Becca, Sara, COURTNEY ( from Ivy's lesson on Temple Square!), the White family

Sister Briggs

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