Elder Hobbs wrote the following in an email home, regarding an experience his mom had…
“Make sure to write that experience down, maybe even in the blog! Just so I have it in the future too!!”
Please excuse the length of it, but here it is…
Let me start off by saying, without seeming like a cruel parent, I find joy when my kids struggle through a trial! Because I know that they ultimately are being refined and will come out the better from having gone through their trials. With that being said, it is hard to watch them go through their trials and not be able to fix it for them. (I always want to fix things.) After receiving my morning email from Elder Hobbs on the morning of May 23rd, I was feeling down and not quite knowing how to respond to his email. At the time, I felt like I had no wise advice or spiritual thoughts to share, to help ease the burden he was feeling.
I quickly sent him an email expressing how I felt. That he’d been given several tender mercies from our Heavenly Father, through his different companions, expressing how he had helped them. About how when given church callings we are given the opportunity to arise, to the “office” which one has been called to. And how the Lord will qualify a person within that calling and they will grow from serving. I told Elder Hobbs that his mission papers stated, “you have been called to serve…” That he truly had been called to serve the people (i.e. your companions, those serving within his mission, the members of the church and teaching non members). All of which whom need help drawing closer unto Christ and most important of all, him. What a great blessing it is to have trials to go through. He will become stronger and closer to our Heavenly Father. To not doubt the effectiveness of his mission or worry about having anything to show for it. Also, to continue pressing forward and have faith, that he is making a difference. Please don’t doubt his goodness that shines from within. Take the time to recharge and use the power of the atonement to help fill his “empty bucket.” Finally, Heavenly Father is aware of his need and he will be given the help. I am grateful for the many blessings he has brought to our family, through his faithfulness and service.
I sent the email and off I went running, doing the things that needed to be done that morning. After leaving the destination, of one of my errands, I began an internal debate with myself as what direction to go next. Here’s the conversation going on in my brain… “You should just go to Walker’s (gas station) and get a pop. No, Single Stop (gas station) is closer. No, you don’t NEED a pop, you’re trying to cut back, again. Oh, just go and get some nachos. No, you DON’T need nachos, they’re fattening!” During this time, I am still driving down Hwy 6 and have passed the turn off to our home, driven passed Single Stop and have gone half the way to Walker’s. But the conversation continues, ” just go to Walker’s. You can get a Subway sandwich (I look at the clock and it’s only 10:30am). It’s too early to get a sandwich, you dork. We’ll then, just go get a sandwich and put it in the fridge for lunch. No, I shouldn’t be spending the money on lunch, just go home and eat.” By this time I’m almost to Walker’s and I am frustrated with myself for this internal debate.
I begrudgingly turn into Walker’s parking lot in a fowl mood and see that there is a row of cars parked along the building with only one spot up close. Now mind you, I normally will not pull into a parking spot if someone has their car door open or if I see someone standing there. I normally will go find another parking spot. But NOT this time. As I turn into the parking spot I see two gentleman leaning up against a suburban, eating something out of a sandwich bag in their hands. Well, after the internal debate within my head, I was even going to consider backing out of the parking spot and finding another one. They were going to just have to deal with me pulling in. After pulling in, I collected my wallet and got out. Well then began another debate. “I wonder where they’re going. Who are they? Hmmm, they look friendly. Don’t talk. Jeremy ALWAYS teases you about talking with everyone you see. Smile. Say hi. Just keep walking. DON’T turn around. Turn around. No, don’t turn around. Just keep walking! Turn AROUND!” I only make it about a car’s length, before I turn around to say hello and ask them where they are heading to.
The conversation that followed with not soon be forgotten. Now, let me pause and say, I have you ever met someone who the Light of Christ just shone in their eyes? You just knew that they have had a personal witness of Christ and His love for His children? Well, these two men had just that light. Even though they were in casual, everyday clothing and one of them wore a ball cap, it exuded from their eyes and everything about them. I know that this is the reason I ultimately turned around. I was needing that light, at that very moment and I felt drawn to it.
We began talking about where they were headed and where they were from. It progressed in them sharing that they had once been in the Bishopric together and that they had been life long friends. The one gentleman shared that is friend was currently a Patriarch for our church and that he himself had served many callings from Bishop to Mission President, to even being a Temple President. I was so excited to hear the wonderful opportunities he had to serve, expressing that I too hope one day, I can serve a mission with my husband. As we continued with the conversation, I mentioned that I had a son serving a mission (because what missionary mom wouldn’t let that tidbit drop, being how proud we are of our children). He politely asked where and then asked me how he was doing. I casually said good, but, “you know me, I’m the mom, I can tell you all the details.” He then said, “no, really, how is he doing.” I paused for a moment and silently asked Brian to forgive me, but in a few sentences, shared how he was feeling and his struggles at the moment.
Then came the part that I know was a tender mercy, straight from our Heavenly Father. That in that very moment, I was given an answer directly from Heavenly Father as to my earlier prayers. Given through one of His servants. This kind man, took my arm and asked if I could go home and email him today and would my Elder receive the email today. I assured him, that I could and will and that Elder Hobbs would indeed get my email, because today was his P-day. He then said to me very fervently to tell your son that his mission president has every bit of confidence in him, that he would give him those companions to serve with. That if he does nothing his entire mission but serve and teach his companions, he will have served an honorable and faithful mission.
Wow! I was stunned. I humbly told him, Thank you! Then he finished by saying, “and you tell him a General Authority told you that.” By this point the Spirit was already strong and my heart was beating in my chest, I didn’t know what to say. I again said thank you and we finished our conversation and parted.
After returning to my car, I couldn’t wait to email Elder Hobbs. I began by saying, ” I just had the most amazing experience!” And then I quickly related the “short or Reader’s Digest” version of the story to him. Finishing off with, “The Lord truly sends tender mercies to us every day, and in every forms. You may not have needed to hear that, but it meant the world to me!” In which Elder Hobbs responded, “That is really cool!! Did you even get his name!? (Elder Andrew said jokingly it’s one of the three Nephites and more specifically the 2nd one, haha).”
It wasn’t one of the “3” Nephites, but after some sleuthing on the internet I found a name to go to this kind man. His name is Elder Ben B. Banks and is now an emeritus general authority. How grateful I am to him and his kind words that day. And also to my Heavenly Father, for not giving up on me when I was not in a mood to listen to the Spirit. I fought Him every step of the way and he did not give up on me. As Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven. … In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.” I pray that I will let down my umbrella and let these blessings reach me continually and not block them with my usual cacophony of internal debates. I love my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ and all that they have done for me. I say this, in the name of my Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.