Monday, November 26, 2007

In the Beginning...



Thanksgiving Day, 1997, is the day I first remember hearing about him. It was transfer day, and to pass the time while waiting for my new companion, Sister Hansen invited me to the mission home to help her prepare for the Outgoing Missionaries' Dinner. As we set the table and prepared the food, we talked about Mission News and a little bit of the gossip (Sister Hansen didn't have the tightest of lips, bless her heart). Names of Elders and Sisters came in one ear and out the other as we talked and joked. But one name stuck with me: Elder F*******, whom, she said, was such an inspirational and faithful missionary. She told me about how President had put him with THE toughest, most socially backward missionary in the mission--the one no one else could handle--and how the that missionary cried when President Hansen asked him how Elder F was as a companion. He said that Elder F was the only one who treated him as a normal guy, and he loved him for that.


She also talked about a miracle that happened to Elder F when he was bit by a brown recluse spider, and watched the infection spread rapidly up his leg. Before going to the hospital, he asked for a blessing. As soon as he opened his eyes, he saw the infection recede as rapidly as it had spread, until it was no longer there.


The fact that he was the top baptizing Elder in the mission at the time was also impressive, but that he was so kind and faithful was what impressed me most about this Elder I had never met.


Fast forward a few months and I was transferred to a new area with a new companion. When I learned that Elder F was our district leader, I was glad, because I had heard so many great things about him. I remember him calling that first night to welcome me to the district and to tell me that he was happy I was here and that he'd heard good things about me. I remember thinking what a nice guy he seemed to be.


You know how sometimes you just click with people? That's how it was for me and Elder F. During the 3 months we served around each other we became fast friends. We supported each other through lost investigators, tough companions, and the stress of mission life.


Quotes from my journal during this time:




  • I like our Elders. I have a lot of respect for them. They're good guys.


  • Of course the Elders had a Golden Investigator just walk in to church today. Man, they're being blessed! Elder F is just a baptizing machine!


  • The Elders came with us to Karen's house today. We did it as a last-ditch effort and came out with her committed to baptism. Crazy! Elder F is so good! He's just amazing to me. Sometimes he can be really cheezy, but he's so sincere. He's a great friend. We just kinda click.


  • Today was district meeting. Elder F gave us interviews. We just talked a lot about the area, and he asked me how I felt about how things were going. I told him how much I looked up to and admired him and what an example he was to me. He said the same things about me...the spirit was strong as he shared some experiences he's had on his mission...I have so much respect for him. He's had so many problems and trials on his mission and he's overcome them all.


  • Okay, just gotta write one really cute thing about Elder F. They went to a flower shop to check on someone who works there, and while they did, he sent a flower to his sister. Is that too cute, or what?! How many brothers do that?


  • Okay, I might as well come out with it, because I'm sure that anyone reading this already has guessed, but I really like Elder F. He is really a special, special guy. I'm at the point where I would love to marry this guy, and I keep wondering if I will. It's really strange for me, cause I think it's the spirit, but wonder if it's just infatuation. I guess it doesn't really matter, because we're on missions right now, serving together, and that's all. CRAZY STUFF, HUH?! I never imagined that I'd think about this stuff on my mission!


  • Well, just erase everything I said about Elder F (marrying him at least). I'm sure it's just infatuation. I need to cool my jets for a while. I don't want to be one of those girls that goes ga-ga over missionaries. YUCK! Life is confusing!


  • We went to the Elder's baptism tonight. During the song, a little girl came and sat on his lap and I about died. He was so cute with her. She was only four and she was singing along, reading the hymnal. It was cute. And I was looking at that and he looked up and gave the biggest smile to me. Aughhhhh. I need to get a GRIP! I need to FOCUS ON MISSIONARY WORK! Hello, Schultzy. Anybody in there?!?


  • My heart is in a lump. Elder F is getting transferred to be a zone leader in Joplin. I'm gonna miss him so much. What an impact he's made on my life. What a spiritual giant! This is what I hate about missions. I hate saying goodbye. I guess I really have to trust the Lord that He knows what He's doing, and that if our paths are to cross again, they will. Actually, it probably will be good cause I'll be able to focus easier, but he was also an inspiration at the same time. Gosh I'm speaking about him as if he were dead! Oh well.


  • Enough of this guy talk! I'm on a mission. I don't know what's gonna happen in the future--I'll just have to wait and see. Now's NOT the time to worry about it, is it?


  • Well, a new chapter in mission life has begun. I'm a trainer now! Transfers were good. I got to say goodbye to Elder F. He's such a good guy. I'll miss him. But I've got a job ahead of me. I'm nervous to train. I need to have a lot of faith and work really really hard.


Time traveled on, and I did see Elder F every once in a while at mission meetings, and as he became Assistant to the President. We always seemed to be able to pick up right where we left off. It was never awkward between us; we enjoyed a genuine friendship. I was able to focus on missionary work and not let thoughts of him be a distraction for most of the time. But as the time approached for him to go home, I worried. Again, excerpts from my journal:





  • I'm totally sad. I feel like I'm losing one of my best friends, and my heart aches. I mean, I know that what happens, happens, and that the Lord will take care of me, and the Lord will take care of him, but it still hurts to say goodbye. This is probably totally the end--I mean we'll still have great memories and fond feelings, but he'll probably get married, and hopefully I'll get married, and that will be that.


  • I've had a really neat morning. I prayed to stay focused, of course, but I caught myself thinking about him, so I knelt back down again. I asked for peace about my feelings for Elder F and I got this incredibly peaceful feeling that it's all going to work out with him. It's strange, because this affirmative answer is what I really want, so I'm always wondering if I'm just making myself feel that. But I really feel like that was my answer! Who knows. All I know is that I feel confident that the Lord is in control...I can let go for right now and feel peace. So I will.


And I did. I served the rest of my mission working harder than I ever had. I scarcely had a thought about Elder F, and when I did, I just felt peace.



We didn't write, or call, even when I got home. It wasn't until about six months after coming home from my mission, back at BYU, that I thought about Elder F again and decided to call him up. Again, we just picked up where we left off, and we seemed to click. Only he was dating someone else, and I was pretty busy with school and work. A couple months later, he was no longer dating the other girl, and I wasn't as busy, so we went on a double date to the Manti pagent. And the rest, they say, is history. One month later we were engaged; four months later I became Sister F.


It's now eight crazy, happy years later, and we're still going strong. And Elder F, or Brad as I call him now, is still a little bit cheezy at times, but still genuinely sincere. And I love him for it!

Happy 8th Anniversary, honey!

14 comments:

  1. Aaaahhhhhhhh..........how cute you guys are.......I guess the Lord really does know what he's doing even though we don't always know...

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  2. You guys are so awesome and so perfect for each other. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY !!!!!

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  3. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! I love your story! I love hearing or reading about how people met and fell in love! It's great!!

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  4. Happy Anniversary! We celebrated our 8th earlier this year. What an amazing story! You had mentioned you served in the same mission, now I know the whole story. Or what you are willing share at least! Have a great day!

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  5. I LOVE that story. You two were meant to be together. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Looking back I'm sure you can see the hand of the Lord guiding the footsteps that brought you together. Even in high school you seemed to KNOW you would serve a mission. I don't doubt that prompting came from the Lord because He knew that's where you would meet your husband. Someday we'll have to figure out how to get together. I'd love to meet the elusive "Elder F". (I doubt elusive is the right word to describe him, but it's a line from Sense & Sensibility that just popped into my mind.) :)

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  7. Andrea2:56 AM

    Happy Anniversary Cuz! You guys make the cutest couple ever!!

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  8. Happy Anniversary, a day late (sorry)! The pictures are wonderful.

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  9. Anonymous3:16 PM

    Sally,
    Thank you for making the past 8 years, the happiest time of my life. I thank Heavenly Father every night for the love that we share. You love me completely, and I can never express how much your love means to me. I love you more now than ever before. Happy Anniversary, sweetheart.
    Love,
    Brad

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  10. Sally, I love this post and love Brad's comment he left too! You are such a special person in so many ways, but what I mostly mean is that you are a truely blessed person because you get it. You have s spiritual maturity that will take most people their entire life to try to achieve and you've had it as long as I've known you. And that's basically your whole life :) I guess it takes one amazing person to attract another amazing person so I'm glad you guys foud each other! way to go!

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  11. cute cute story...i love love stories!

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  12. What a sweet story! I love the way the Big Guy steps in and makes true love happen. Mr. Wright and I met on my mission too. I'll have to blog about it someday!

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  13. I think that is the best blog entry I've ever read. So tender. So personal. SO romantic. So spiritual.
    Thank you for sharing that, Sally. It makes one feel like we know you just a tad bit more now.
    Congratulations on the past 8 years of marriage! And now on to eternity..... ENJOY!!

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  14. Such a great love story! That is so sweet how you wrote all of that in your journal even before you really knew you'd be with him! He sounds like an awesome man! I can't wait to get to know you guys better!

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