June 7, 2013

Email, Photo, + a talk from a D.Rep. visitor that met Michael


He looks great and you have raised a great son.  I am also attaching a talk I gave in our recent Stake Conference when I spoke about being with your son. The little boy that I speak about is under your son's right hand. Take care!


{Elder Arias, Elder Cowley, Ray + Patty Hicken, + the boys at church}
Part of President Hicken's talk where he mentions Michael is below 
"... A few weeks ago Patty and I had the privilege to go on a trip provided by the company I work for. We went to the Dominican Republic to a beautiful resort. We had a wonderful time thanks to the goodness of my company. We did many fun and enjoyable things. But the moment I enjoyed most was on a Sunday morning when Patty & I and few other members got in a cab and made our way to a little, humble branch of 30 or so faithful saints. It was a small white building that did not resembling a chapel like we are in here today. It was a small one room building with a few dividers to create other rooms for meeting as the priesthood and relief society. There in this one room make shift chapel these humble saints met for their fast & testimony meeting. There were more women and children in the meeting than priesthood holders. Yet a very young Branch President, 3 years removed from his mission stood to lead this tiny branch of faithful saints. We sat on folding chairs with a small electric piano to provide the music. I gained a new friend that day.  A young newly baptized boy named wheatly saw me sitting there with Patty and came and sat next to me. Pulled his chair up by me and he did not leave my side until the meeting ended. Throughout the meeting he opened his scriptures and in a whispering voice reading the words found in the book.  I did not understand him but I loved my time with him. He eventually leaned his head on my shoulder; I put my arm around him as if he were my own son. I had a special moment. I found out after that his mother was there but his father was not.  Testimonies were given that day which followed General conference. I did not understand any of what was said but I felt the spirit of the words and saw their tears as they bore testimonies of the gospel and living prophets.  At the conclusion of the meeting we went and visited with the branch president and spoke with the two full time Elders serving the Branch.  Elder Cowley was from Ogden and had been out for 21 months. His companion was from Costa Rica. Elder Cowley was happy to see us and to speak English as he does not get that chance very often. Elder Cowley spoke of the great people in the branch and how so many struggle, how the sisters and children are more faithful than the men but that the men who are faithful are amazing faithful priesthood holders. I told him that it was my responsibility to feed the missionaries and even though I could not take them to dinner I gave Elder Cowley a $20 dollar bill. He thanked me and said this is enough money to feed his companion and him lunch for a week. I asked if he gets the opportunity to go to members’ homes for dinner ever and he said no. He said, “unfortunately we are not allowed to go to members’ homes for dinner as they would sacrifice everything they have to feed us a meal and we cannot ask them to do this”. He said they would do anything & give everything to the missionaries and the church.

Brothers and Sisters I was humbled and touched by the whole experience. I reflected on it much then and since on what I saw and heard. This small branch of humble saints had very little. They would think what we enjoy here in our homes would be unbelievable to them. But what I saw was members of my same faith far far away from the view of the temples of SLC and the closeness we enjoy to the prophets and apostles and yet they are as devoted a member you would find anywhere and maybe even more. They fight hardship that we do not. It is not just in physical ways that they struggle but I am sure they struggle with not having the strength we enjoy of living near the heart of the church with mature members of the church to help them along the way. Yet their faith and desire to do whatever was asked of them is remarkable. I believe they would literally give all they have to help and bless the missionaries that are assigned to them. I reflected, do we the saints in this stake have the same heart and mind? Do we sometimes think we have given everything to the missionary effort of the church because we feed the missionaries and say “Hi” to them when we see them or contribute money to their missions, or do we really do what we have been asked to do by giving everything we can to the missionary effort even all that we have to build the kingdom of God on Earth?
It was President David O McKay  who coined the phrase in the April conference of 1959, “Every Member a Missionary” and it was President Spencer W. Kimball who said in October of 1974 “Length your stride and Do it, now!”...."

No comments:

Post a Comment