Monday, February 15, 2010

The Saints in Haiti

The Members Stories
Guerby Pierre is one of those exceptional people in Haiti who actually has a job. He is well-educated and has a job as an accountant with a billboard company. He tells what happened to him when the earthquake hit: “The things I saw during the earthquake are forever engraved on my memory. You see things in disaster movies, but it is nothing like when it happens in real life, and I cannot ever forget it.
“I was inside at my work, working at my computer, at what seemed like a normal day. Then, all of a sudden with a roaring noise, it seemed like a giant beast had taken the building in his arms and was twisting and shaking it back and forth. My screen fell off my desk; bookshelves started falling, and I ran for the door, but could hardly keep my footing with the shaking. As I stood at the door, the wall I had been leaning against before completely collapsed. “It is so different when you experience this in real life. People think of the great earthquakes in 3rd Nephi. People outside thought it was the Second Coming.

“My work is destroyed. That was my livelihood. I went to my house and it is completely gone, but I was able to go in and get the things that really mattered to me—my temple recommend, my passport, some clothes and my scriptures.”He held up his battered scriptures at that moment, the gilt-edged pages long ago worn away, and we asked him, “Did that happen to your scriptures during the earthquake?”He just smiled back and said, “No, I really love my scriptures and I use them all the time.”

The day before the earthquake a tune started wafting through Guerby’s mind. Again and again it came and stayed with him through the day. He realized that the words were “The Lord my pasture will prepare, and guard me with a shepherd’s care.” He was so impressed with the message that returned again and again to him, that he wrote down the words to the hymn and sent them in a note to his sweetheart. The next day the meaning was still in his soul as his world was hurled apart, and he knew that no matter what happened, the Lord had already sent him a message of comfort.

Now, Guerby is sleeping outside in a tent every night. The way he looks at it is his first job is to take care of his friends and other members of the Church. Even if he doesn’t have a lot of money he can strengthen them. His second job as an accountant is gone, so he has more time for his first job. Some things are really hard. It is hard to think that after working hard to become college-educated that he might be back to shining shoes to get enough money to live on. And it’s hard not to have a home. He misses the feeling of something comfortable and recognizable to come back to at night. He’s holding on. He had saved a little money. He got some food and shoes from the bishop.

Each night as he lays under the stars, it reminds him of what is really important in life. He said, “In one sense I have nothing, but in another, I have everything because I have the gospel, and this earthquake has only augmented my testimony. My life is changed. The earthquake simplified it. Since the earthquake, I could all of a suddenly think clearly.” Gone are certain things he thought were really important. Instead, he is hoping to find a way to take his best friend and sweetheart to the temple to be married.“Life can be hard sometimes,” he says, “but it will be OK.”

Charles Marie Murielle“When the earthquake happened, I was inside my house. I had just come from school because I am studying to be a nurse. There was a professor who was absent, so I came home early. “I was just taking off my uniform when the earthquake started. I heard the noise and felt the earthquake and thought to myself, this is an earthquake. “After it stopped, I found myself, I was yelling, but I had a strong feeling I shouldn’t leave my house. I should just stay there. I went to open my door to go out, and my door was blocked, I couldn’t open it. “I said a sincere prayer. I told the Lord that I was not ready to die. I don’t have a family, yet, and I haven’t been to the temple.
With a lot of strategy I was able to open the door by myself. “Outside, everyone was crying and screaming out to God, ‘What is going on?’ The farther I got out, I saw that churches had fallen and people had been killed. “My school which is four stories tall had collapsed and all the students and teachers had been killed. I would have been there if my teacher had not shown up.

“All communications were cut off. No radio. No telephone. No one knew what was going on. We were all trying to find an open space. We kept hearing instructions, “Don’t go inside. Don’t go inside.”“From time to time the earth would shake again. I was continually scared. I was the only member of the Church nearby, and I felt like I was alone. People from other religions were making a lot of noise and were screaming. I found myself in silence because the Spirit told me exactly what to do. I knew it was not the end of the world. “I prayed, ‘Give me strength so that I can hold on.’ I found the strength to help a few people who were injured. I found a lot of people who were in shock.

The next day I met a brother from the church who came to my house to see if I was OK. He told me I needed to come to the church that all of the members were meeting there. That gave me strength.We asked her what the future holds for her without money or a house or a school. She said she is determined to find a way to finish her nursing, but for now, she lives at the church and she’s scared to go back to her house. Maybe she will make cookies to sell

Erick Goimbert had just picked his son up from school and gone home when the house started hurling back and forth with roaring, pounding, confusing noises. A dresser hit the wall and whipped around and hit him in the eye. Then pieces of the roof began crashing down, and he ran into the other room to get his son. They didn’t try to get out, as it was hard to stand, impossible to walk. They just started praying.
He did not know it was an earthquake as he had never experienced anything so overwhelming before. When they finally made their lurching way out of the house, he saw that all the houses around him were completely destroyed and his neighbors had been killed. Now, he and his family are sleeping wherever they can find a spot at night, mostly in the road by their house. He’d like to come and sleep at the church, but his home is too far away. He has no tent, but sleeps under some corrugated tin cover. Every morning he doesn’t know where to get food. He just waits day to day for help. Like most Haitians, he doesn’t have a job, and his wife just sells things in the street. Among his slim possessions are a few Tylenol pills for when his back, hit by the dresser in the quake, hurts too much. He says with some good cheer, “Everybody is praying. There is definitely a feeling of unity and my testimony has been strengthened. You drive through my neighbourhood and mine was the only house that is not completely destroyed. What for the future? He sees no possibilities to rebuild a house. He has no money and can’t see where he could possibly get any.

Polycarpe Macking

The day of the earthquake, two of his children had just come home from school and were watching television. He was out in the front yard feeding the chickens, their main source of livelihood. About 4:45, he started to feel the shaking movement. Immediately his children ran outside as the roaring, pitching earth got worse. As soon as they ran outside, the house collapsed. They knelt down and, crying, said a prayer for his wife and other daughter, asking that they would be safe. They found her quickly for which he was grateful.
Now, he doesn’t know what he’s going to do. “God must have a plan for me,” he said, “and I’m just going to have to see what it is.” The scriptures are his life and he loves to read.A vibrant young man, he still hasn’t had a job for seven years, and the few chickens they had were crushed or scattered in the earthquake. For now, they are sleeping in their yard. They have no money to rebuild.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Learning How to Prune Fruit Trees

Saturday, February 27 at 10 a.m. at the Israelsen's home. The men are invited to join us.

Our Favorite Things

"G Group"
Tuesday, February 16 at 7 p.m.
Bring TWO of your favorite things (can be anything from a copy of your favorite song, to your favorite nail polish! Doesn’t have to cost anything, but has to be tangible)

Upon arriving, we will draw names out of a hat to share (give) your favorite things with another sister. Be ready to explain where to get the items you brought, why you love them, and how much they cost. Come for a night filled with laughs, love, and fun! Dessert will be provided at Chanel's Home

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's About Time

It's something we spend and sometimes waste but we cannot save or borrow it nor do we really know how much we have. Time is a gift from our Heavenly Father as well as agency. It is up to us to use both wisely. We are commanded to be "anxiously engaged" in good causes but also we are not required to "run faster than [we have] strength" (Mosiah 4:27). We are told “Thou shalt not idle away thy time” (D&C 60:13), and “Cease to be idle” (D&C 88:124), yet with modern conveniences we have far more discretionary time than our predecessors.

What do we do with our free time? We are either being leisurely or idle. Leisure activities renew the soul, invigorate, refresh, invite us to be mentally, physically or creatively involved. Idleness is merely passing the time. Boredom, unhappiness and feelings of low self esteem are the results of idling our time away. Idleness is the devil's workshop. When we are being idle, we rely on outside sources to entertain us. Leisure activities require us to look within ourselves. Although what may be considered idleness, (i.e. watching sports, reading a book, "doodling" on paper) to one person may be leisure to another. It is an individual choice but no matter what the activity, if the end result affects us positively then it is time well spent.

In this day, many spend their free time on the Internet. There is a vast library of knowledge out there in cyberspace. It is up to us to use our agency to determine if time spent on the Internet is of any value. We could use the leisure vs idle filter and apply it to our Internet use. Are we increasing our knowledge of useful things? If we are merely just "taking a break", are we "breaking" too long? We would do well to ask ourselves the two questions Elder Bednar recently asked BYU students,
“Does the use of various technologies and media Invite or Impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?
Does the time you spend using various technologies and media Enlarge or Restrict your capacity to live to love and to serve in meaningful ways?

You don't know how much you have, so use your time well.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Have I done any good in the world?

Bishop Knowlton's message to us on Sunday was that we need to reach out and serve those around us, in our families, the church, and in our communities.