we all sat around the table laughing and telling stories. when the missionaries come for dinner we eat the good stuff. although we've had a couple of fails in the kitchen on those days, too. like the soupy rice night or the time we ate scones that were dough in the middle. you'd never know it though, they smile and say their cheerful thank-yous, just like always.
the other evening was meatball subs, yum. then they get a phone call. we figured it was important because they usually don't take calls during dinners or lessons. elder p (pictured right) left the room and elder h followed. they came back a little later and elder p said, "well, i'm getting transferred."
it was like undercooked scones all over. everyone smiles and expresses gratitude but it's really just a mouth full of dough. the alternative is tears.
ossi went with tears. i didn't notice him leaving the room but after a while i asked, "where's ossi?" elder h said that he'd seen ossi's face fall at the news then watched him run out of sight.we found him sobbing under a blanket. eventually, and with much coaxing from grandma, he calmed.
he came out of his room for one last lesson with elder p. using an object lesson with koolaid, salt, water, and bark chips, they taught about the sweetness of the gospel and the restoration of precious truths through a modern prophet.
missionaries spend at least six weeks in an assigned area before being reassigned. in the time they are here we grow to love them very much. i doubt anyone could get to know them and not begin to love them. when elder p left for another area he was replaced with young elder m, who we've adored since first sight.
i think about all of those people who will be blessed to meet our dear friend. before he left, elder p wrote ossi a letter. he included a drawing of ossi as indiana jones and a special coin he'd been carrying around through his mission. treasures.
speaking of change. remember heidi?
the other day she texted and came by for a visit. we talked and talked about the old days when i watched the girls and the mind-frame we were each in at that time. i watched her with her girls and i listened as she spoke of the hardships they'd endured since moving away. she is like a different person.
i told her. i told her about the change i saw.
heidi's phone has a ring-back song that plays when you call her. when i first met her i'd call and hear, "you don't know a thing about me!" ringing in my ear. months and months later it changed. "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." then, some time afterward, "don't you worry, don't you worry, child. heaven's got a plan for you."
over two years heidi had truly changed. her defensive, abrupt, closed nature has crumbled and given way to hope and optimism. in all the time that i'd known heidi she'd been aloof and entitled.
after our visit she sent me a text.
"thank you." i cried.
oh, i love this family. i love that we can change and become better. i love that we can find peace, even when things continue to be a struggle. i feel privileged to have been in her life during a hard time and i only wish i could have been more Christlike through it. but i did my best.
i'm so grateful that no act of love goes to waste, ever.
"Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.
What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.
When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee."
-Karen Lynn Davidson