Well, I did it!
My friends and husband told me it would be alright and guess what . . . IT WAS ALRIGHT!!!!
I had my FIRST STAKE MEETING with the Stake Counselor over the Stake Primary (not my husband) and with the High Councilman over us, as well as our entire Presidency in . . .
I know for some that this would be a shameful moment, but if you were there, YOU would be ashamed for saying anything negative at all about what words spoken because there was SO MUCH LOVE and RESPECT and JOY in that room that it is tangible still as I share this experience.
I prayed so fervently that the hearts of all those involved would be softened and that their fears of sharing English would fade so that charity could flow as they served me by speaking English (as much as possible) that I too could understand the meeting. And it worked!!!
President Briceno was FANTASTIC and Brother Solano was a complete gentleman by jumping in and sharing the bit of English that he knew. It was the most POWERFUL meeting I have ever had with Priesthood leadership. And my Presidency was so respectful of me being the President. I am so grateful and honored to work with such extraordinary human beings. I am actually excited to get to work and see what we can to do to help share this love with as many as need it.
I want to testify that the power of the Holy Ghost is real. My sweet secretary talked to me, in a bit of English herself – well done Johanna!!!, and she shared that when she goes to her University, she can not understand the English lectures. But when she comes to our meetings, she can almost completely understand. She is AMAZED at the experience she is having and has shared this amazement after both of our meetings.
I too have had similar experiences. When I first moved to Costa Rica, all I heard was “sssssssssssssss” coming out of people’s mouths. I had NEVER heard Spanish spoken in quite this way and at such speed with closed mouths. I couldn’t understand a thing, yet people wanted to talk to me and get to know me. It was an awful ordeal for me to experience because it LITERALLY PAINED ME to listen to them and TRY with ALL MY HEART, MIGHT, MIND and STRENGTH to understand them, only to find out that I did not, was devastating.
But one day, a Sister invited me and my kiddos over to her home. She wanted our children to get to know each other and for our families to become close like family. She felt so safe with me that she started to pour out her heart to me and the many difficult burdens she was experiencing. I knew I could not understand her – YET, I was. But how was I?
I knew that if I truthfully told her that I could not understand her, it would frustrate the feeling I was having with the Holy Ghost and I KNEW that she NEEDED His comfort and support. So I kept quiet and tried to listen. No matter how hard I tried, I could not understand her on my own, but when I asked the Holy Ghost what she was saying, He told me in my heart and mind what she felt and I UNDERSTOOD and she could FEEL that I understood. It was so magical.
To this day I STILL can not understand her . . . unless the Holy Ghost wants me to and when I do, she KNOWS it isn’t me. What a COOL opportunity this is for her and for myself, as well as many of the people I have worked with since moving here. I am excited to see how these new people I have been called to work with will be blessed. I noticed that when I was honest with the Holy Ghost and told Him that I could not understand something in the meeting, the conversation IMMEDIATELY changed back to English. It was REMARKABLE and NOT our doing. It was all the Holy Ghost.
“God be thanked for the matchless gift of His Divine Son.”
This is His Church. This is His work that we are set apart to do, and we believe in His plan. Thus we were able to understand one another. I am so grateful for this opportunity I have had and grateful to be able to share it with you.
And I do so, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Thanks for listening!!!