In our companion prayer last Wed. morning, Jeff and I prayed that we might find more priesthood for the area. That's something that's severely lacking in Eagle Butte and Cherry Creek. I stayed in to cook two turkeys and six pies, 'cause the Young Men & Young Women had a turkey dinner for the community that night, and we had a pot luck at the church on Thanksgiving. So Jeff left to walk the 10 feet to the elders' trailer to spend the day with them, and he looked back over his shoulder and saw a couple walking, so he said, "Hi," and they said hi back, then walked over to him. They have four kids and were out of food. They left the house that morning to go walk the streets and try to find help. Jeff invited them to dinner that night and the next day, and offered them a ride, but they were going to walk to the tribal offices and see if they could get some help, but Jeff found out where they live before they left.
Then Jeff and the elders went to work at the Commodities Center to pass out government issued food to the poor. He told the center about this family, and they provided a bunch of food. Jeff and the elders added to that from our limited stores, went to buy some milk and bread, and delivered it all to them. The man greeted them with arms raised in praise, and called his family together to have a prayer before they left. He has 3 priesthood age sons, and one who's eleven. That's 5 potential new priesthood brethren. The dad and two of the boys came to the dinner that night, and they want to be taught the lessons, and said they'd be to church on Sunday. "Ask and ye shall receive."
With the cancellation of District Conf. on Sunday, we had a small congregation for Sacrament Meeting in Eagle Butte and no speakers lined up, so Pres. Inu had people come up and say what they were thankful for and tell about their favorite hymn, then we sang it. It was one of the most spiritual sacrament meetings I've ever been to. I led the singing, and tears poured down the cheeks of the dear sisters as we sang. "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matt. 18:20
Jeff had some wonderful insights given to him by the Spirit on the hymn "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" as we sang it. He wrote them down, so I'm going to share them:
Vs. 1 - "I had not power to ask his name, where to he went nor whence he came." - It doesn't matter who we serve, or at what station of life they are, what their sins have been, or where they think they're going. We are to serve them as we find them, and be no respecter of persons.
Vs. 2 - "Once when my scanty meal was spread..." - It doesn't matter how much we feel we have to offer or what our inadequecies are. "I gave them all," - What matters is we give our all, our best effort, the best we have. We hold nothing back, this is what matters to God, not how great or small our contribution is. "Mine was an angels portion then." - When we do God's work, we receive His wages.
Vs. 3 - "The heedless water mocked his thirst" - I saw two meanings in the water; 1. It represents the world hurrying by, too busy in life or too deep in sin to see the importance of the gospel. 2. It represents the living water, Jesus Christ. "I ran and lifted the sufferer up," - We must be anxiously looking for souls to bring to Christ, so focused that when we see one, we run to lift them, without a wasted moment.
Vs. 5 - "Stripped, wounded, beaten nigh to death, I found him by the highway side." - This, to me, represents the people I'm serving, the Native Americans. Stripped of pride and tradition, wounded by sin, beaten almost to death by poverty and alcoholism. The devil is running amok here, reaping destruction. "Roused his pulse, brought back his breath, revived his spirit..." - We need to teach them who they really are, what God has promised them, and how essential they are in His plan. "And supplied wine, oil, refreshment..." - We need to bring them the gospel, bless them with the priesthood and the power of the temple, and they will be healed.
Vs. 6 - "The tide of lying tongues I stemmed and honored him mid shame and scorn." - These wonderful people really are being discriminated against, misunderstood and scorned. They are ashamed and can't break the cycle of poverty and despair they are born into, by themselves. Yet there is much good in them, much to love and admire. There is much of honor and peace in them. Everything I believed about them before coming here wasn't true (the tide of lying tongues.)
Vs. 7 - "The Savior stood before mine eyes. These deeds shall thy memorial be, fear not, thou didst them unto me." - We are blessed to work with God's chosen people. To try to restore them to their promised place. To help them blossom as a rose. God's chosen people, the people of the covenant.
After the meeting was over, we went to deliver the sacrament to the elderly widows and shut-ins. There's something deeply spiritual about seeing an elder of Israel kneeling on the linoleum floor of humble surroundings in his suit next to the bed of an elderly blind woman, blessing the sacred emblems of our Savior's atonement. I feel to echo the words of Jeffrey's first letter home to us from the MTC, "I'm addicted to the Spirit!"
It's hard to express in words the incredible experience it is to serve a mission. I see now why my boys shared such a special bond when they returned home. This church is so true. Heavenly Father is real. I'm eternally grateful for that knowledge.
Elder and Sister Hunt