Friday, November 21, 2014

Remembering Nana - October 13, 2014

I am so very sorry to hear about Nana passing away this past week.  I want you all to know how much I love you and that I pray for you every day.  Nana is free from all the physical and mental trials that have been afflicting her.  She is free to be with Papa and her parents and free to be in great peace.  And she is free because she chose to follow the great plan of happiness and endured to the end.  I am forever grateful for the great example of optimism she always had.  Nothing could get her down.  She was just always so happy and easygoing.  I remember when she started to have Alzheimer's, we were driving in the car and passed by one of her favorite restaurants, and she said "Hey that place looks really good, we should go try that out sometime."  I don´t remember who said it, but someone said, "Nana that´s one of your favorite restaurants, you don´t remember?"  and she was like, "Oh wow...." and she says to me, "This sickness isn´t really that bad.... everything is just so new and exciting each and every day now."  Nobody can put a hole in Nana´s boat.  She was just always so so positive and could make everyone smile.  

Nana hanging with some of her cute granddaughters
And thanks to Nana, our family is so very privileged to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   If it weren´t for Nana, I would not be here serving a mission in Honduras today.  And the dear sweet Diana that was baptized on Saturday perhaps wouldn´t have ever gotten to know the gospel in her life.  Diana is the only member of her family now that is a member of the church.  Diana here in Honduras, in English would be Diane just like Nana.  And she got to know the gospel very close to Nana´s age, and just like Nana she had problems with the Word of Wisdom, but just like Nana the very day the missionaries taught her the Word of Wisdom she started to live it because she knew it was true.  Nana´s legacy will continue changing lives for many generations to come, though she is not physically here.  

Diana´s baptism almost didn´t happen.  It was the most almost impossible situation I have faced in all my mission.  Friday night we went to fill up the baptismal font, and there was very little water coming out because this week there´s been a lot of rainstorms so the water gets dirty, and they shut it off.  And the bishop told us there´d been some troubles with the water system in the chapel so that workers would be coming Saturday in the morning to fix everything.  So Saturday at 8 in the morning, we  went with the elders to a member´s house to weed and mow her lawn... but lawn mowers don´t exist here in Honduras, so when I say mow the lawn, I mean get out your machete and start cutting down jungle weeds and plants to a sufficient level that people can get to their house.  And they do that about once a month.   It took a lot longer than we thought, so we didn´t arrive at the chapel again to see if there was water until 1:00.  We  thought we were going to finish by 10.  Once in the chapel, we discovered no one had come to fix anything, and there was absolutely no water, and the baptism was going to be at 5:30 that very day. 

We called the fire department to see if the firefighters could come fill it up, but they were busy putting out a fire, and said anytime we need water we have to ask at least 24 hours in advance.  So with 3 teenagers from the ward, we started going door to door to all the neighbors that live close to the chapel to see if they would let us use water from their pilas, and we would pay them in turn for all the water we used.  No one wanted to.  Finally at the sixth house the lady agreed and gave us her garden hose, which we put as close to the chapel as possible, and from there we started filling up buckets of water and walking them to the chapel to start filling it up.  After about 20 minutes of that we figured out the drain of the font was broken, and the water was escaping, so we had to go find a large rock to cover up the drain to start filling anew.  By then it was already like 2:30.  We continued filling up by buckets until the bishop brought us five giant garden hoses to reach from the lady´s house to the chapel, but it was very little water flow.  By 4 it had only reached half of the very first step of the font and the water shut off entirely because they started cleaning the water system because of the storms. 

The bishop didn´t want to do anything else and gave up and went home and said we will change the date, even though he has a pickup truck, and we asked him to go to his house and bring us water but he was unwilling to help.  Said he´d be too tired to go to church the next day.  Hermana Mejia told me she´d been feeling the impression to call Diana´s friend Grosvin who is a member from another city half hour away, but that she´d been ignoring it because how is it possible that he could help us.  He has no car, and lives far away, how is he going to be able to do anything about it?  But we decided to follow the spirit and call him up, and he was so concerned, at that very moment he was in a church activity and asked everyone in the whole chapel who had a pickup truck that could help us to fill barrels of water from member´s houses.  But no one had anything.  So he called up his dear friend who is a firefighter about the issue, and they had just finished putting out the fire they´d had, and even though they had plans to go clean up their department, as a favor to their dear buddy Grosvin, they came directly from the fire to the chapel to fill up the baptismal font and finished at 5:30 exactly.  And she was able to be baptized.  We have so many angels looking out for us each and every day, and with Nana that´s one powerhouse angel more that is helping to bring to pass the salvation of souls even here in Honduras.  

In moments of trials or hardships, we must think of Nana and not worry so darn much.  What needs to happen will happen, and if it is the Lord´s will it will come to pass in His time and His way, not ours.  Nana´s trust in Heavenly Father was very firm in this aspect.

Nana's favorite thing was being with her family.
I want to share with you what President Monson said in October conference of last year, "There will be times when you will walk a path strewn with thorns and marked by struggle.  There may be times when you feel detached, even isolated, from the giver of every good gift.  You worry that you walk alone.  Fear replaces faith.  When you find yourself in such circumstances, I plead with you to remember prayer."  I love the words of president Ezra Taft Benson concerning prayer: "All through my life the council to depend on prayer has been prized above almost any other advice I have received.  It has become an integral part of me; an anchor, a constant source of strength, and the basis of my knowledge of things divine... for God will speak peace to the soul.  That peace, that spirit of serenity, is life´s greatest blessing." 

The apostle Paul admonished: "Let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  

President Monson follows, "What a glorious promise.  Peace is that which we seek.  That for which we yearn.  We were not placed on this earth to walk alone.  What an amazing source of power, of strength, and of comfort is available to each of us.  He who knows us better than we know ourselves, He who sees the larger picture and who knows the end from the beginning has assured us that He will be there for us to provide help if we but ask.  Pray always and be believing for all things shall work together for your good." 

I love Nana very much and will always be grateful for her wonderful example and influence in my life and the lives of the members of my family.  The best way to remember her is to be where we feel she would want us to be, and to learn to grow a little closer with our Father in Heaven each and every day, as I know that´s what she would want for all of us.  I´m sorry I cannot be with you all right now together as a family to remember her, but I know she is here with me to lead and guide and protect me each day.  I know our families can be together forever without a doubt.  There is a perfect plan for each one of us, and may we remember that it is not called the plan of endurance, or the plan of trials, or the plan of hardship, but it is the plan of happiness and the plan of salvation that all the children of God may return to His presence someday.  

Hermana Johnson

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