Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Tender Mercies

Dear Journal

I have recently come to consider the number of coincidences that occur in my life as a Missionary Mama - and realised, well I already knew this, but finally fully understood, that there are no such thing as coincidences, instead they are tender mercies being extended to us when we truly need them. And, believe me I needed some - and have been blessed accordingly.

Elder Bednar has taught "I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often the Lord's timing of this tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them..... The Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualised blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindness, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly the Lord suits 'his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men."

When the boys got their mission call, they had to report to the Missionary Training Centre (MTC) in the Dominican Republic (DR) - but as it turned out - there is nowhere in the Pacific for them to get visas into the DR, so their reporting MTC was changed to Provo, Utah. And with that news, Mission Get Together was born!!
The first thing I did was make contact with my cousin Vernon Heperi to arrange to pick the boys up. Now Vernon is a very important person at BYU Provo, and as his time is precious, I was unsure if he would be able to do this for me. As it turned out, he made himself available to pick my babies up. What was great is just the year before we had spent some time with Vernon, and early 2013 the boys spent time with his sons, and then later we visited again when Vernon came to NZ.  
With that confirmed, I asked that once the boys were picked up from the airport,  if Vernon would take the boys for a visit with my niece, their cousin, Sister Niyah Garisau who has been serving a mission in the Salt Lake Temple Square Mission since September 2013. He said he would be able to do that and asked me to contact Sister Garisau's Mission President, of which I did.
Now the co-incidences don't stop there. You see, Sister Garisau had a change in Mission Presidents (MP), so I was a little nervous to ask her new one, as he would only be new and this visit may have been something that would not be approved. However, as it turned out, when I rang the MP's office, Sister Garisau's former MP was still serving and training the new MP, and because he knew Sister Garisau well, he allowed the visit, and a release to go to dinner and spend time on Temple Square. What a blessing, that a MP would know Sister Garisau well enough to know how important this visit was.
I spoke to Vernon the afternoon the boys were to arrive and let him know about Sister Garisau's schedule and the meeting point... After losing my patience (Vernon had promised to call) I called Vernon and I got to talk to my sons! Elder Dimitri Turketo reminded me quickly that he would talk to me in May (Mother's Day) and was wanting to keep the Mission Rules and hang up the phone ;-) What a good boy!! Luckily my other son and Sister Garisau wanted to talk ;-) Not only had my babies made it safely through San Francisco to Salt Lake in one piece - but they were having dinner with Sister Garisau!! Vernon had taken them to the Roof Restaurant in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building - which I love!! If the boys went to the DR MTC - this would never have happened....what a blessing!!
Finally, Vernon took the boys after their visit with Sister Garisau to check into the MTC. He emailed me photos and a short video clip of them checking in. He did that for me and I will be so grateful to him for that! He knew I was worried and missing my sons, so he stayed with them as far as I would have been allowed.... Receiving the video clip and photos made this MM's day!!
I know that God is in control, and thank Him for extending His tender mercies to this sookylala of a MM through the change in reporting MTC, Vernon being available to pick the boys up, and care for them, and Sister Garisau's MP approving her visit with her cousins. What a wonderful event this was for both sides of the veil!
President Thomas S Monson has said: there is a guiding hand above all things. Often when things happen, it's not by accident. One day, when we look back at the seeming coincidences of our lives, we will realise that perhaps they weren't so coincidental after all. The Lord knows [our] trials. He knows our victories, And if [we] trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.... he shall direct thy paths"
What tender mercies have you found in your life?


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