I have 40 minutes and hope to get this done before I need to get ready for our special guests tonight. We have invited a very special family over for dinner and FHE tonight. They are the cutest couple, Matthew and Stephanie, and they have the most adorable little boy, Isaac (you pronounce it E-sack). We love this couple and it brings tears to my eyes to think how when they were new to the ward themselves, they invited a scared, unsure, gringo family over for FHE and dinner, way back when we first moved here. I still remember that day and I pray that I will remember it always. They even shared the FHE message in English.
Paul and I love this couple so very much and we wanted to tell them how much we appreciate their love, friendship, kindness, selflessness and service in our ward. They LOVE Cafe Rio, so I invited Stephanie over to learn how to make it herself. As an added surprise, I quickly whipped up some Tres Leches Cupcakes that she has been craving. I don’t know that they will be as good as what she had at The Sweet Tooth Fairy in Utah, but at least I had the aluminum cupcake wrappers and gave it my best try.
Ginger Snap put together a simple little lesson from the Nursery Manual on how Jesus Christ created this world and how we should appreciate it and respect it. We plan to share our birds and hamster with Isaac and hope he has a good experience with them (meaning, we hope he doesn’t get bit). Curly Cook set up a fun game of Jenga to play, while the mothers get dinner on the table. Then we will have dinner together: Cafe Rio Pork and Chicken, Tomatillo Dressing, Black Beans, Cilantro Lime Rice, Guacamole, chips and Brazilian Lemonade to drink with Tres Leches Cupcakes and ice cream cones. It will be a real feast!! Fit for this special King and Queen!
For those of you who are asking, thank you by the way, I am feeling much better. I still have a cough but it is breaking up finally. I did wake up Saturday with the feeling that I might need to go get an antibiotic but I have really been trying to stay away from them. Thankfully I had a stupor of thought that morning and instead got to work getting the family ready for a Stake Activity up at Bosque de la Hoja (a LARGE park up in the mountains). I feel the altitude not only helped relieve the stuffiness and discomfort in my right ear but it also helped the pressure in my chest subside. I even felt well enough to go on an impromptu nature hike with some of the youth of our ward, and our old ward that split away from us (La Ribera).
But that night, my heart began to sink. I have been struggling this week. I don’t know if being sick brought it on but the house being up for sale has my heart torn into pieces. I am also struggling with my health being more like a yo-yo than a stroll in the park. I am tired of being sick and I am tired of being lonely. The thought of living in Costa Rica longer than I had expected is starting to tear at my heart.
In many ways I feel like these 3 pictures. I seems all fun and games, until you realize that you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You get uncomfortable and want to get up and walk away from it all . . . but to where? I keep battling in my mind where my heart would feel most complete and at ease. I realize that Utah isn’t exactly where my heart wants to be; so then where? I decided to pour my heart out during our couple’s prayer, I think I might have scared Paul a bit, but I felt that my deepest concerns needed to be heard not only by Heavenly Father but my husband as well.
The next morning, I went to church with hope and faith that I would find peace somehow. I have been blessed to have a translator for the last month and I am so VERY grateful I got to hear the messages yesterday, they were just what I needed to hear. Ironically, my Bishop asked if I would share my testimony of the Book of Mormon for a few minutes. My Bishop was generous and translated for me. It was nice. It was as if he knew what I meant and seemed to translate my words so easily. (wink)
As I bore my testimony about how I came to know the Book of Mormon was true, I realized that I was being given something that I had been lacking while living in Costa Rica . . . the opportunity to share my story with others. Because I lack the gift to speak this language the way I would do so in English, people rarely understand where I am coming from. But yesterday, because of my sweet Bishop, the entire congregation heard my story and I believe felt my spirit too. It was a Divine blessing and tender mercy that I had needed and only Heavenly Father knew how to fill that need.
The next speaker was a man that Paul had helped the day before attend the Stake Activity. Because he is confined to a wheelchair, Paul had to make a special trip to take this man in his car. When I heard and felt this man’s love and appreciation for the respect that Paul has been showing him, my heart melted and felt relieved that we are doing some kind of good here. Then my friend Lee Harlan (a temple missionary from Utah) sang a song, dedicated to his in-active daughter who is visiting her parents. Lee had been preparing for weeks, with the deepest prayer in his heart, that she would feel the truth of the song. It was “I Stand All Amazed!”
Lee’s daughter cried and needed tissue to get through the song. I then realized that I had seen her looking intently on me as I shared my testimony. I felt in my heart that there are NO MISTAKES to what we do in a day. Heavenly Father truly does orchestrate our lives perfectly, as He hears and answers our prayers. We need to learn to trust that we are in the right place at the right time doing the right things. The last speaker was the greatest gift for me. He spoke on Self Reliance but focused first on being Spiritually Self Reliant. As he listed key indicators of what a Spiritually Self Reliant person would do, I realized that I am actually doing them all.
THAT WAS A TENDER MERCY because I DID NOT do all of these things when we lived in Utah. I realized that BECAUSE we moved to Costa Rica and BECAUSE I could not understand church, I HAD TO LEARN HOW to be Spiritually Self Reliant. I had a lump in my throat and I could not hold back the tears and barely held back a coughing attack. The speaker than shared what a Spiritually Self Reliant Family looks like. Again, he listed things that we DID NOT DO in Utah but have been doing for over 31 months. I was DEEPLY touched to SEE a visible validation of the hard work we have put into the quality of our lives while living here.
Then I heard one of the answers to my prayer from the night before. The speaker shared what a Temporally Self Reliant person looks like. I heard SEVERAL things that I need to learn myself and could work on easily, due to my circumstances. If I moved back to Utah, or to the “land of normal”, I would get caught up in the community, social, church culture aspect of life and NOT be able to focus on this opportunity. I then realized how my own children NEED to learn this before they leave home. This Self Reliant Program is an answer to my kids “WHY?” do I need to learn, go to school, practice my talents, learn about myself, spend alone time with myself, not mess around and waste my time? I felt overjoyed that I had SO MANY ANSWERS given to me, just because I CHOSE to attend church with faith, hope, love and a spirit of obedience to the Lord and His will for me and my family.
Later that night, I had some alone/quiet time and used it to study the lives of my ancestors. I was intrigued to learn about my Swiss ancestors on my Paternal side and looked up where they came from (Alplanalp). This photo is of the Swiss Alps – the Bern Switzerland Alps. They are known to be some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. The husband was a shoe maker and wood carver in the little town they come from. This town is known for their unique trade. He and his wife traveled all the way from Bern to Midway, Utah and then were sent to Vernal to help settle it. Now THAT is a trip across the world because it was by foot, carriage, train, ship, and then oxen cart wagon. The hardships they endured to do what THEY FELT Heavenly Father WANTED them to do, not only for themselves but for their posterity, were GREAT.
Because they moved to Vernal, their child married into the George Wardle family and thus I am a result of this divine marriage. I am so thankful that my ancestors shared their stories with their posterity. I am even more grateful that they shared lessons they have learned and testimonies that they earned. In everything I read last night, I heard, “Thy will be done, Oh Lord, and may my heart not cry out for more than what Thou has already given me.”
I felt at peace to CHILL OUT and accept that my moving to Costa Rica isn’t nearly as difficult as my ancestors traveling across a MAJOR ocean and into a land that not only did they not speak the language, but they were members of a religion that was hated and persecuted. They moved from gorgeous, green, lush mountains to the desert and they LEFT ALL behind, never to be seen again.
I at least have the internet, email, cell phone, Facebook Messenger, Iphone Messenger, and an airplane to get me to where I want to go in ONE DAY! I am SPOILED ROTTEN, but I did not feel that last night. Instead I felt, “We understand what you are going through. Chin up Wendi. You are NOT LOST and you are NOT forgotten. There is a GREATER PLAN than you can understand right now. But don’t you want to be a part of it?”
Yes I do!
I wish I could make this picture bigger but my blog is limited right now, so I will type out what this poem says.
As God may give so God may take and life must come and go . . .
What ever weather may prevail or how the rivers flow . . .
It is not ours to question him, to murmur or complain . . .
Or criticize him for the tears that mingle with the rain . . .
Our sorrow and our tragedy are his divine command and in the deepest darkness . . .
We must try to understand, God rules this whole wide world and all . . .
The Universe he made and if we love and honor him, we need not be afraid . . .
and if he wants us to be sad . . .
And undergo a loss . . .
Then let us do his holy will . . .
and let us bear our cross.
I found this sweet poem in one of my ancestor’s sister’s memories. It was a poem that the family had found in her things. Although it was not in her handwriting, the fact that she had kept it touched them and they wanted to share it with their family too. We don’t know who wrote it but I hope you enjoy it as much as it touched me last night.
No matter what, if I will keep on walking in faith, trusting that my baptismal covenants will always be avialable to me, if I believe and do my part, than I can do ANYTHING with the help of the Lord. Even live in Costa Rica longer than I had anticipated. I pray that I will keep on going and keep on doing those basic things we are constantly urged to do: Follow our Prophet, listen to the voices of our Apostles and heed their counsel, read our scriptures daily (especially the Book of Mormon – the most true book on this earth), say our prayers often, listen to the hymns (for they are prayers unto the heart), hold our weekly Family Home Evenings, attend the Temple often, find names of our ancestors and do their temple work for them, research our ancestor’s lives and liken them to ourselves, serve others (especially when you are feeling down), do your Visiting/Home Teaching and magnify your callings.
This can sound like a check list of things to do but it is not. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a way of life that brings peace during the storms of life, happiness when life looks bleak or overwhelming (like right now for us), hope when you don’t know if you can hold on, joy when others are filled with sadness, and love when your heart wants to turn cold. I LOVE the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is my dearest friend. I have never had a friend be so devoted to my happiness and peace. I keep waiting for Him to leave me, but He is always there when I turn to Him. If ONLY I will let Him in.
Thanks for listening,