Monday, September 2, 2013

Brian Taylor's missionary letter, September 1, 2013

Some thots for the week
Brian L Taylor
5:06 PM (13 hours ago)

Dear Elder and Sister Scott,
            This has been a wonderful week, and one of the main reasons that it is special is because of some inspirational speakers I have hard on BYU devotionals.   I am certain that the reason for my being impressed was that I was listening with "hungry" ears.  I would hope that as you read some of the things that impressed me, you too will focus, not only on the facts that are written, but also upon their eternal significance to you and me.
            First, Elder Claudio r. M. Costa of the Quorum of the Seventy stated that to gain a testimony of the book of Mormon he prayed for 14 hours.  But he did bear testimony that he knew the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  His experience leads me to wonder if we pray with such pure intent to find answers to our concerns.
            On the humorous side, he related that when he and his dear wife began married life together, they were so poor that they had to move their furniture each morning to make room to let in the sunbeams.
            On Thursday I listened to Sister Len Novella, who I understood is on the staff of educators at BYU.  I was intrigued by some of her figurative language used in her talk; e. g. "The Lord's winds never cease to blow toward the Promised Land." These words bear pondering.
            One of seven children in the family, (5 girls) she and her sisters had to deal with the oriental tradition that girls are inferior to boys--a handicap that we Americans can hardly fathom.  If you were a lady, how would you deal with such a handicap wherever you went?
            The father of her family encountered an illness that took him to death's door.  The mother, unprepared to support her family, frantically summoned the children and had each one place a hand on their father's and pledge that they would work together and support each other whenever needed.  In a temporal way the mother later needed that support as she labored daily to find a few handfuls of rice for their subsistence.
            In their spiritual life the family was bound to the predominant religion with very strong ties.  Any "intruder" was not received kindly; however, when LDS missionaries came into their area, the mother listened hesitantly, but each lesson had its effect.  It was difficult to change their way of life--coffee, tobacco, and then TITHING!  But full effort brought them to the point that they were baptized.  That brought even stronger persecution from friends and neighbors, which was especially hard on the children in school.  A couple of the girls were denied awards that were due them. The speaker has poignant memories of her mother's efforts to pay a full tithing in rice, which the family really needed themselves.  It makes one think of the Prophet Elijah, who asked the widow to make him a cake from her last remaining meal when she and her son were facing starvation.
            Fast forward quite some time--ALL of the children received a good education and distinguished themselves.  Not all were educators, but some chose other professions.  Family members were able to qualify for receiving the blessings of the temple, so that fact in itself tells how far the family had progressed.
            Few talks that I have ever heard have stirred such deep feelings as did this dear sister's.  Not often do we hear of a situation where a family has to overcome obstacles like those mentioned, but with faith and determination, we can achieve great things in life.
            Have a great week!  You're in my prayers always.
Love, Brian

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