We both are thankful to be parents of such wonderful kids. We are thankful our Heavenly Father trusted us with such an awesome responsibility.
We remember the first time we decided to return go back to church. Sister Tiffany and our youngest son would pray for Elder Tiffany to be touched by the spirit and open his heart so he might feel his Father in Heaven was with our family. She said they would pray together on early mornings before they went their separate ways for the day. It took us a long time to realize that all our prayers were being answered.
When we stopped drinking alcohol we were at lunch and enjoying a pitcher of beer. Elder Tiffany said to our youngest son this is the last time we will be drinking alcohol, your mother and I need to move forward.
We finally were at the point when we could not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming. Our good intentions are not good enough. We must do.
This reminds me of another time. When our youngest was around one year old, he loved playing hide and seek. Only problem was, I did not know he was playing and he went and hid from me. I came in to find him and he was gone. Can you imagine the horror I felt at that moment. I looked and looked, called out his name but he did not answer. I remember being so scared. I was yelling and crying but still he never came out. Thank goodness a man saw him, picked him up and brought him to me. He asked, "Is this the little boy you’re looking for". I was so happy, I just grab him, hugged him and through my tears of joy told him how much I loved him. The gentlemen got after him and said that it is not nice to hide from your mother. He just looked at me with his adorable face, and said,"What’s wrong mommy? Why are you crying? I was only playing and I won because you could not find me".
You see, he did not know he was lost. I think that our Heavenly Father feels this way when we make choices that might get us lost. But he gave us the gift of our agency and to choose. "The Lord commanded Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth and commanded them not to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, He said: “Nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”.
Sometimes we think we are smart, sometimes too smart for our own good. We get lost and do not know we are lost. The Lord loves us so much that he sent us here to test our obedience. He knew our agency was important to us so we could choose our own path. Many of us fall into unanticipated traps and unhappiness because we either lack or ignore gospel light and principles. We might be unaware of our options or become confused about the outcomes of our choices. Ignorance will effectively limit our agency.
~Freedom of choice is the freedom to obey or disobey~
This mission is one of the greatest things we have done. We feel like we have been stretched over and over again. We pray when we return home we can be more Christlike than when we left. Leaving our children, grandchildren, and family for 18 months has been the hardest things we have ever done. As our understanding of gospel doctrine and principles have grown, our agency has expanded.
We like to think of a ladder and each new law or commandment we learn is like one more rung on the ladder that enables us to climb higher. Using words from Abraham Lincoln "just do better one day at time".
The gift of agency is intended to give us experience. We “taste the bitter, that we may know to prize the good.” We are thankful for the gospel, for a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. We are thankful for the opportunity we have to serve the Chuukese people.
We love our children, grandchildren and families and are thankful for each one. We know as we continue to progress. . . we will have the opportunity to live again with our Father in Heaven and not be lost.
We love you and miss you all. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Happy Thanksgiving!