Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 68: No Empty Chairs

My mind is in a million places right now.

Big announcements this week. 

First off, we found out that our mission will be getting iPads in the next two months!

Secondly, Dylan was baptized on Saturday!! And he invited all of his non-member and less-active friends. He's basically the best missionary ever.

The power of covenants.

Thursday morning our zone leaders were calling and texting us telling us to call them as soon as possible. I'll never forget standing in the laundry room next to Sister Soelberg with our zone leader telling us that Sister Hansen, our mission president's wife (also known as our mission mom), had passed away Wednesday night. 

I burst into tears immediately. We knelt and prayed. Then we opened our companionship study by singing Sister Hansen's favorite hymn, "Behold, A Royal Army." You can just picture her up there telling us to get to work, to be better, to drink some Gatorade, to polish our shoes, and to give everything over to the Lord. Words can't express how much I love Sister Hansen. 

That was probably the most shocking news I had ever received. But I'm ok. We're all ok. The peace that has been present is most definitely due to all of your prayers. Thank you. Those have strengthened me and others more than you know. 

The following several days have been interesting, controlled chaos, but also a converting experience.
Logistical details: We will be getting a new mission president. The first counselor in our mission presidency is currently taking over until that point.
Beyond that, we have transfers tomorrow and the work carries on.

We had a special memorial service on Saturday specifically for the Hansen family and the missionaries. That was a powerful, sacred meeting that I will always treasure. The funeral today was also powerful, but I won't go into details on that. There are other thoughts to share.

I love President and Sister Hansen. They have become my second parents. They are disciples of Jesus Christ through and through. They have consecrated everything to the Lord. Everything. Their total trust in God leaves them to fear no man. They always do His will. They always seek to teach through example and every interaction with them. I will miss them more than I can possibly express.

But there is great comfort in the gospel. President Hansen held up his and Sister Hansen's temple sealing certificate. That is the power of covenants. Only once did we see that man cry this week. He has been smiling, holding up all those around him, and reminding us of the power of living the gospel in our lives. He and Sister Hansen have been sealed for time and all eternity. That is possible because of the Priesthood power restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. That is the authority Christ gave to His apostles, and it is the same authority that leads the Church today. They will be together for eternity not only because of that covenant with God, but because of how they lived their covenants daily. They both give everything they can to Heavenly Father every single day.

At the end of the funeral today, Elder Oaks turned to the missionaries in the back - all 220 of us - and said with great power, "GO and do thou likewise."

This has been a refining six weeks. I know the Lord strengthens, magnifies, and comforts us in all things. Everything truly is possible with His help. I have given everything I possibly could this transfer. I'm exhausted and incredibly motivated. I love these people more than I ever thought possible. I hope I can be half the woman Sister Hansen is. The Hansen's have shown me the power of an eternal family. They taught us how to live, and Sister Hansen went right ahead to show us how to die. They taught me how to truly rely on the Lord in everything. And that is the power of eternal covenants.

I know we will live again. I know that is only possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He lives! And if we will live our lives according to the promises we have made and will yet make with our Heavenly Father, we can live with Him again. I know we will see all of our loved ones again. I know I can give Sister Hansen a big hug again one day and tell her how grateful I am for her influence on my life.

I have just one invitation to each of you.
I could not have made it through these past weeks without a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Without knowing that He will strengthen me. 
Get on your knees.
Ask Him.
He is there. He is watching and waiting to comfort and to bless. 
He loves you. 
The Spirit will touch your heart if you will ask with a sincere desire to know if these things are true.
I know it's true. And I invite each of you to come to know that, too.

Sister Hansen always talked about having no empty chairs in heaven. When we all sit down together in heaven, let there be no empty chairs because one of us didn't act as we should have or do what we knew we should. Let us do all in our power to fill every single chair at the table of our Heavenly Father. There will be no empty chairs in the celestial kingdom as we all strive to do our very best to be ready to return to Him at any moment.

I love you all. Remember to smile! Miracles happen every single day! Prayers are powerful. Covenants are powerful. But the greatest power comes from our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father and Their love for us. I love this gospel. I love this work. I know that as we give our very best, there will be no empty chairs.

Sister Holbrook

With Sister Hansen near the beginning of her mission. Here is the article about her death 

President and Sister Hansen at our last Christmas party :) Aren't they just the cutest?!

Dylan's baptism!!! I love these people with all my heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments respectful and uplifting. I would love to hear from you whether it's feedback on the blog or questions about what I'm doing.