Thursday, November 3, 2016

2016-11-03 Reflecting on the Goodness of A Soul

Today, I was checking old emails for an address and came across an email that really touched me.  Last Christmas, the wonderful moms and families of the missionaries and their friends donated the money for small quads for many of our missionaries who have never owned their own set of scriptures.  When they arrived, we were surprised to find that they were accompanied by small and large leather totes as well (carrying cases for the quads)!  We were so overwhelmed.

But then, we received this explanation from Sister Julie Hess who coordinated the gift.  As we approach the wonderful season of Christmas, I just have to share this inspiring story:

It seems that a few years ago, Brandon started ordering some scripture cases for LDS Bookstore from a man named Brian. Brian brought the totes to the warehouse himself, and the two became acquainted.

At that time, Brian shared with Brandon that he had terminal cancer and only had a short time to live. Surgeons had removed tumors from various points on his body including the roof of his mouth, this exposing his brain where Brian wore a prosthetic device.

It got so Brandon would call to order more, and at times, Brian would report that he had just had a treatment that day. Brandon says that without fail, Brian'd be there the next day with his order, always cheerful and upbeat. Brandon claims that you'd never have guessed that this man was dying.

One day, when he dropped the cases off, Brian jokingly implied that if the totes would just disappear, his wife would probably be so much happier. They had just become a huge part of their lives during this difficult time.

One day, Brandon emailed Brian to let him know that he needed more scripture totes. To his surprise, Brian's wife Michelle replied telling Brandon that Brian had passed away.

Michelle faithfully filled the next few orders for LDS Bookstore until one day when Brandon called to place an order. Brandon could tell from Michelle's voice that it had become too much for her. She was trying to adjust to raising their family alone as well as take care of what Brian had left behind, not to mention the myriad of other things a grieving wife has to deal with.

Brandon made an offer to Michelle. He asked if she would sell him the rest of the inventory. He would bring a few friends and a truck and would drive away with it all. Michelle was overjoyed and gratefully accepted.

Brandon went to Brian and Michelle's home. Boxes of scripture totes that Brian had so lovingly made were everywhere--the barn, the house, everywhere. While Brandon collected up the boxes, he told Michelle about this project for the missionaries in the Philippines. He asked her if she'd be okay if he gave them to them. Brandon says Michelle's eyes lit up. "This is exactly the thing Brian would want!"

That was the point when Brandon messaged me offering these to this project. And so, we will be sending a bit of Brian's legacy to the Philippines.

I find it no coincidence that yours was the first mission we heard from in regard to this year's project and that the first thing we are asking for is 120 sets of scriptures.

What a blessing it is to live in the same world as people like Brian, Michelle, Brandon, Julie and the moms!