I have found myself out of town for a lengthier period of time than I am used to, which means finding a local congregation to attend services. I was invited to go to the services on base at Fort Jackson, and considered going, but had a strong feeling, for the past couple of days, that I needed to attend the ward that is just off post and the building that I unintentionally found the other day when I was looking for another location.
It was a beautiful and welcoming chapel. The people were of diverse background and races, some with thick German accents. I sat down and a blind African-American gentlemen was seated next to me. I put my hand on his shoulder and thanked him for sitting by me. We introduced ourselves and made small talk before services started.
I couldn’t help but notice one of the speakers and felt instantly drawn to her. The music invited the Spirit and a young sister spoke about the resurrection and the importance of Christ in our lives. It was a beautiful talk and very insightful, but I kept waiting for the other sister to speak.
After a beautiful special musical number, this sister began her talk and relayed the story of how her mother left her father, after all the children were out of the home. She left rather suddenly and later found herself excommunicated and at odds with the family. Her experience rocked her whole family and extended family. All of the children were divided on who should have their support and for over twenty years there was some bitterness and animosity from some of the children. She spoke of Christ, and of healing. She spoke of pain and loneliness. She invited those who need help to find it through Christ and their priesthood leaders.
I found myself in tears throughout her talk, especially when she said that next month her mother will again be baptized into the Church after 30 years of being gone.
We spoke briefly afterward and I expressed my thanks for such a wonderful expression of her faith and her mother’s faith. She never gave up on her mom. She had the gift and capacity to forgive. She recognized wonderful blessings that the Lord gave her and her family in such a difficult circumstance. I’m grateful for the blessings that her and her mom will soon see as she returns to the covenant path, and I’m grateful that I found myself where the Lord wanted me to be today.
Her talk today and sharing that experience blessed me and others in that small South Carolina chapel.