The Tree

This past week we've had some INCREDIBLE experiences. 

First, we met Herb.  Because we live in our area, sometimes we just walk around our complex to meet people outside and to talk to them.  We were doing that sometime last week when we met Herb.  He looked like he was in his 70's and he had a cane that blind people use, so it would have been easy to walk right by without even letting him know we were there, but something pushed us to talk to him, so we went up and introduced ourselves.  We told him who we were, and what we did, and then we got into a discussion of why bad things happen to good people.  He actually broke down and started sobbing to us about the challenges he's had: PTSD from the Vietnam War, marital problems, a son that was rebellious, no money, ...and the list kept going.  We were able to cry a little with him, remind him that God was aware and wanted him to reach out for help, and then he had to go.  We set another appointment (for yesterday), so again we met him outside.  He started the conversation this time by telling us that the day we met him, he'd been waiting for a taxi to come pick him up to go to a bar where he'd drink and gamble the night away to numb the pain.  But after we left, he'd felt so good, that he said he didn't want to ever go again.  He just stayed at home that night and thought about life.  Amazing. He has a lot of wounds and memories to work through, but he's ready for this happy message.

Then there was Ricky.  Sister Holt and I were driving down Washington Ave. (just a local street) to go check on a less active, when we drove by a little house with a young man sitting on the front porch.  We felt like we should go back, and I honestly thought is was going to be a teenager from South America, or somewhere, and that we'd just be sending a referral to the Spanish sisters, but when we pulled up, we realized he was Indian (from India, not a Native American).  We started talking to him, and he made us guess his age, and it turned out he was 35.  He was a partner in a landscaping business that did some of the landscaping for the Marriott hotels, and he was just on his porch enjoying the evening.  It seemed pretty normal, but we were determined to find out why we felt like we should talk to him, so we kept asking questions and getting to know him.  He said he was Hindu, but had been exposed to a lot of different religions because his family had converted to different sects of Christianity, the Muslim faith, and some other religions.  We asked him his philosophy on life and the after life, and this is when it started getting crazy.  He said that after we die, we're going to be in a place where we wait before we're judged. Then when we're judged we'll sit down with God and the apostles and watch the "DVD of our life".  (Those were the exact words he used.)  We looked at him with a look of "stop making fun of us" but then he looked confused and we asked, "Do you realize that what you just said is such a Mormon joke?"  He said, "Really?" but just explained that he was joking a little, but thought there would be some type of review of our life.  Then we'd be judged and go to the place God chose for us.  Oh, and by the way, he thinks there are going to be different levels of where we can go, like an upper, middle, and lower.  Crazy!!!  Plus he talked about how he believes in getting married once, and making it last for eternity.  And he believes in taking care of our bodies by not drinking, and staying pure, and just remembering who we are.  Everything he said was doctrinally sound.  It was incredible to see how his spirit had recognized all of those truths from different religions, or from things he had just felt in his own life.  He never really had Mormon friends, or studied the religion, but here he was, just waiting for us.  So pray for Ricky to realize that he's not too busy to meet with us.

Another amazing experience we had happened this Sunday.  For the past two weeks we've been cleaning our apartment, rearranging furniture, and just trying to take care of things.  In our living room, we have a LOVELY pink leather couch, with one little picture hanging above it.  (And it happens to be the only picture in a frame in our whole apartment). Well, I was looking at it one day and said to Sister Holt, "It would be so nice to just have one of those fake trees that they have at the church to put by the couch."  She laughed at me, and then we didn't think anything more of it.  Well on Sunday, we were coming back for lunch, and I went to park but there was trash in the spot, so Sister Holt jumped out to pick the trash up and throw it away.  As she was walking back from the dumpster she had this strange look on her face and I just asked her, "What?"  She smiled and stated, "I found a tree."  "What?!"  "I found a tree!  By the dumpster."  I ran over to the dumpster, and sure enough, there was the tree I had envisioned just sitting there, waiting for me.  So I may have gone dumpster-diving, and it may be sitting in our apartment right at this moment, but I promise I cleaned it up, and it actually fits very nicely with the pink leather.  Just what I'd imagined.  I still laugh when I think about it.  Things like this don't even matter! But it was nice to be humored and know that Heavenly Father's aware of my little quirks.

Last night was the infamous "Night of Music and Inspiration."  I'm glad it's over.  It was wonderful, but...I'm glad it's over.  A lot of stress has been lifted.  They made a recording, so I'll send you one as soon as I get one.

Well, nothing else too exciting.  Oh wait, GILBERTO'S GETTING BAPTIZED THIS SATURDAY!!!!!  I get to go back to Quince Orchard for that and I cannot wait.  He is going to be such a blessing to the church.  AH!  So exciting. 

Now I think that's all.  I'll give you more updates when I talk to you this Sunday!

Love you all.  Stay true to what's eternal.

-Sister Welch

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