What a week!
This week has been full of so many different emotions. Happiness, sadness, excitement, nervousness...way too many! I just want to skip the next two weeks, but I have to face it and put on my big boy pants...It's been tough...
Sarah Dysart will now be getting baptized on Jul 30th...my 2 year mark...WOW! She was willing to be baptized on the 23rd, but we had to push it back a week to make sure we could teach all the lessons and that she will be ready. We will be taking her to the family history center on Weds and the visitors center on Friday!
I got a call this past week from Sister Jones and Clemence in the Oak Hills ward (ward right by Skyline) and they told me that one of their investigators will be getting baptized this coming Saturday and that she asked them if I could baptize her! Her name is Tia Chambers and wow has she come a long way. I met her when we first started youth sports and we hit if off well. I AM SOOOO EXCITED!!!!! Brother Tolman said that he can take me this Saturday! Off to Cedar Mill I go!
We have dinner with the Ferguson Family this coming weds! They are such an awesome family. They LOVED the BBQ last Monday and really want to get involved with the ward...I wish I had more time to see them go into the water of baptism. It is going to happen!!!! We have sooo many people that we are close to setting more dates with!! I am going to have to get a yearly airline pass to Portland so I can come back to all of the baptisms!!! We have also been able to begin teaching the Somerville family. Dylan Somerville is a non-member who is 16, his dad is Michael Somerville who has been inactive as well as Rebecca Somerville, his grandma. We had an awesome lesson this past week with Sister Pierce and will be going back this Thursday! I also got in touch with Nina Gandert, an investigator that I taught here when I was a Greenie. I had the prompting to call her on Thurs and I was so happy I did. She has been going through a lot and could really use us visiting her to get her back on her feet. She had an Aunt that passes away last week, and she went to the coast this past week to visit a friend who drank too much who gave Nina a black eye and a broke leg. She was in bad shape. We gave her a blessing and will be stopping by this week to check in on her.
I had my departing temple trip this past Friday...it was soooo good! Again here come the water works! We had a chapel session at 10:00 before our session at 10:30, where the temple president and his wife, President and Sister Pond addressed us as did President and Sister Ballard. We, the elders where President and Sister Ballard's 1st group of missionaries "Cradle to Grave," as president calls it which made the meeting more tender. Also Bingham Ballard was able to receive his endownment at that departing missionary temple session which was so cool! When I entered the Celestial Room President Ballard was waiting there and he gave me a big hug and told me that he was so proud of me for my efforts and growth and said that he loved me and was so grateful for all that I have done on my mission. I was doing my best to hold back tears...I really felt my Heavenly Father accept my efforts as a full-time missionary as I had laid my sacrifice of my efforts on the alter of the temple that day. It was a wonderful session and experience. President Ballard then had us all circle up and he answered any of our questions about the temple endowment...it was sooo neat. Afterwords we had lunch at the temple, which was really yummy! I got to see Marilyn Jones there as well as several members from the Skyline Ward: Jade Thelin and his wife as well as Bishop Wilson and his wife. I love to go to the temple!! I can't wait to take my family to the Portland Oregon temple...I guess I can never say goodbye, only see you later! ;)
On Saturday we had a baptism for Jesse Arango! We had over 70 people show up. We had several non-members show up and we were able to do a presentation while Jesse was changing about the Restoration of the Gospel. It went very well. The spirit was so strong! I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It really brings families together.
These next 2 weeks are packed! I have several lunch's set up with members in previous areas. Sister Gibson from Hazeldale, the Talley's from Canby, and several others that want to see me before I leave. We also have our Zone Meeting tomorrow where I will be giving a departing testimony which is crazy. We have exchanges this week and I will have my departing interview next week...the finish line is in reach...trying to find the time to do so many things and trying to keep my emotions in check...it is going to be hard leaving, but I can always come back and visit! ;)
We had a lesson up at Job Corp at 7 on Saturday. It is 26 miles outside of Estacada! You just follow HWY 224 down for 26 miles, it is a beautiful drive! Right as we were leaving Estacada I looked at how much gas we had. We had enough for the trip there and back, but I felt the spirit tell me that I needed to go fill up so not postponing the prompting we turned around and quickly filled up at a nearby shell station and we were on our way. There are no gas stations up 224...We had a wonderful 1st discussion with several new investigators up at Job Corp. We left at 8, but before we left we stopped for a bathroom break before our long journey back to Estacada. We had several other things that we had to get done that night so I usually stick to the speed limit and race home, but the spirit prompted me to take my time getting back and to enjoy the beauty around me, so instead of going 62 mph I was going 45-50 mph. We were only 10 miles out of Estacada when we saw a terrible car accident that was blocking the HWY. Two cars were involved. There was a family of 4 in one: a father, mother, and 2 sons ages 10 and 7, in the other were two men. Alcohol was involved. We ran to the scene to see if there was anything we could do. They were all in bad shape...one of the men, Josh was stuck inside one of the cars and wasn't doing too good, the other man and the family where struggling on the side of the road. 911 was called and the police and ambulance was on their way. The little 7 year old boy, his name was Keegan, was unconscious. CPR was being performed, but nothing was working. Elder Hansen and I ran over and started to give him a blessing. Elder Hansen anointed and I sealed...When I put my hands on his head I felt that he was already gone...I was lost for words...the only thing I could say was "Let Gods will be done." It was a traumatic experience to watch someone so young, someone so innocent and pure die before your eyes. I was choking on my tears...I had to be strong, I couldn't break down in front of this family. They needed our strength and hopefulness. What killed me was to see Keegan's 10 year old brother cry out, "Dear God please let my brother live." We were doing our best to comfort the family telling them that it will all be ok and that their family will be together again, but all that we could really do was to wait and pray for a miracle. Finally almost 30 mins later the paramedics arrived. They called for 4 Life Flights. The Father, Mother, Josh, and the 10 year old boy were Life Flighted out of there. The other man was taken to the hospital via ambulance. From the tragic accident, 2 died, Keegan and Josh. That was one of the longest nights in my life. Terrible images are still in my head. My heart aches for that family. They closed the road until the next day. They told us that we had to leave the scene. Where would we go? How will we get back home? It was already 9:45. It was dark we had no idea where we were. We had no cell phone reception so we couldn't tell anyone where we were. Our GPS wouldn't work either...Miracles never cease. We traveled up 224 and low and behold we have a family up by Job Corp who are members. The Wilson's. They moved up here a year ago, another blessing. We finally found their house and they welcomed us in and we told them what happened. They pulled out a map and told us that their was only 1 other way home which was to go around Timothy Lake, up close to Mt. Hood, down HWY 26 to Sandy and then from Sandy to Estacada. The trip is very dangerous at night, lots of gravel roads and cliffs, and would take about 2 hrs. We said a family prayer and off we went. Angles were protecting us and guiding us that night. I could feel them. We got home around 1 A.M on Sunday morning.
Although this experience was painful to witness, I learned a lot from it. I am so grateful for the gift of the spirit who comforts us, guides us, and prompts us. I am grateful that we were worthy and willing to listen to the promptings of the spirit which ultimately saved our lives. What if we didn't fill up? What if we went the speed limit coming back from Job Corp? Things would have turned out differently. We could have been involved in the accident. We could have been stranded on HWY 224 throughout the night with no one knowing where we were. Since we listened to the spirit we had a full tank of gas to make it home that night, we arrived to the scene of the accident 5 mins later, and we were able to comfort people in their times of need. Angles were with us that night. I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. I know that family's can be together forever. I know that all of the things that are unfair and not right that happens in our lives can be made right through the the atonement of Jesus Christ. We can be healed physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Life is so precious. We never know when it is our time to leave this life. That could have been anyone involved in the accident. We need to live life everyday to its fullest. Make sure that we are kind to each other, love each other, serve each other. Live your life with no regrets.
I love you all and I want you to know what a blessing you are in my life. Please share your love with others and let's help each other strive to be more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
With love,Elder Shaw