by Kari Diane Pike
Shortly after I posted about a couple of "small world moments" and the joy of connecting with people, we received an email from our youngest son Levi, who is serving as a young volunteer in the Moscow Russia Mission. Part of his letter:
It turns out that the father of that family was the first baptism in that city and Brother Fishbeck was the missionary who baptized him. The family told Levi how much they loved Elder Fishbeck. Almost four years ago, we moved into the same ward as the Fishbeck family and came to love them too. We passed on the message to Brother Fishbeck and he told us how he thinks about that family often and was sad he didn't have a way to contact them. He was thrilled to be able to get in touch and express his love and concern for them.
By far the best thing that happened this week is that a less active family that I'll call the Blackwells came to the Branch picnic!!!! Yeah yes booyah hooray и так далее! It's been years since any of them came to ANYTHING
We brought peanut butter cookies (apparently they love peanut butter) to them to say thanks, since the Mom is our registrar (essentially she makes sure we're legal, since you have to do paperwork everytime you're in a new city for more than a few days) and helped us with the emergency transfer.
The Mom didn't come because she was at home taking care of their 1 year old, but the Dad (who was Branch President for 7 years, 7 months, and 7 days and also the 1st baptism in Yaroslavl) came with 3 of his older kids (like 11, 9 and 6 ish). They love soccer, so I spent probably a 20 minutes just playing monkey in the middle with them. I loved it, too. Also, I found out that they know Brother Fishbeck in Arizona! Small world
When I think about all of the circumstances that happened to put our family in this community at this time and for our son to be in that mission and meet those particular people, I get goosebumps. Looking back, I can see the Lord's hand in all this. There are far too many pieces of the puzzle that had to fit just right for any of this to be mere coincidence. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin shared something that Pres. Monson once told him. Pres. Monson said:
There is a guiding hand above all things. Often when things happen, it’s not by accident. One day, when we look back at seeming coincidences of our lives, we will realize that perhaps they weren’t so coincidental after all.The Lord knows your trials. He knows your victories. And if you will “trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding [but] In all thy ways acknowledge him, . . . he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6). (Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Lessons Learned Through the Journey of Life," BYU Speeches, Nov. 7, 1999)This mother's heart rejoices knowing that our son is right where the Lord needs and wants him right now. Things happen for a reason. I am more determined than ever to think twice before I grumble or whine that things aren't going the way I planned. I learn more and more every day that it's not about me. Life is all about love - loving Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and loving others. Sometimes that means I find myself taking unexpected detours from the goals and plans I set for myself. And that's okay because Heavenly Father always has something far more interesting and exciting in store. Life is magnificent!