Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Service is a Blessing to the Giver

Today my visiting teacher brought be this beautiful pink rose from her garden.  She shared a message from April 2017 General Conference by Bonnie H. Cordon, second counselor in the Primary General Presidency.  I want to share one of the stories Sister Cordon shared about Amy Wright.

"On October 29, 2015, I found out I had cancer.  My cancer had a 17 percent survival rate.  The odds weren't good.  I knew that I would be in for the fight of my life.  I was determined to give it everything I had not just for myself but, more important, for my family.  In December, I began chemo.  I was familiar with many of the side effects of cancer fighting drugs, but I did not know that I was possible for someone to be so sick and still be alive.

"At one point, I declared chemotherapy a human rights violation.  I told my husband that I was done.  I quit!  I was not going back to the hospital.  In his wisdom, my sweetheart patiently listened and then responded, 'Well, then we need to find someone to serve.'"

What?  Did he miss the fact that his wife wad cancer and couldn't take one more bout of nausea or one more moment of excruciating pain?

Amy goes on to explain:  "My symptoms gradually worsened to where I generally had one or two 'OK' days a month (when) I could somewhat function as a living breathing human being.  It was those days when out family would find ways to serve."

On one of those day, Amy's family distributed chemo comfort kits to other patients, kits filled with items to cheer and to help relieve symptoms.  When Amy couldn't sleep, she would think of ways to brighten someone else's day.  Some ways were big, but many were just small notes or text messages of encouragement and love.  On those nights when her pain was to great to sleep, she would lie in bed with her iPad and search for ordinances that needed to be completed on behalf of her deceased ancestors.  Miraculously the pain would subside, and she was able to  endure.

"Service," Amy testifies, "saved my life.  Where I ultimately found my strength to keep moving forward was the happiness I discovered in trying to relieve the suffering of those around me.  I looked forward t our service projects with great joy and anticipation.  Still to this day it seems like such a strange paradox.  You would think that someone who was bald, poisoned, and fighting for *her) life was justified in thinking that 'right now it is all about me.'  However, when I thought about myself, my situation, my suffering and pain, the world became very dark and depressing.  When my focus turned to others, there was light, hope, strength, courage, and joy.  I know that this is possible because of the sustaining healing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

Amy came to trust in the Lord as she come to know Him.  If she had leaned even a little to her own understanding, she might have rejected the idea that she serve.  service enabled her to withstand her pain and afflictions and to live this scripture "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given to serve others in my life.  Service helps me see the good things in life and count my many blessings. 

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