Saturday, August 29, 2015

Reunited... In a dream

I just woke from a vivid dream in which I was reunited with Camille after a long separation. In the dream all my family (both Waites and Harris') were traveling together through strange foreign lands in Africa and Europe. Somehow we fell into a river and we got separated from Camille. I knew she was safe with family in my dream. But I also knew there was no way to find her or contact the family members who were with her. All I could think to do was to go back to our home base hotel and pray those who had her could make it there.

Much time passed. I had all my other kids and we were going to the pool to play at this home base hotel where we had been living and waiting. Suddenly a messenger came to me with a note saying Camille was in the hotel with these family members who had been caring for her and we would see her the next day. I dropped everything. Grabbed my kids and told them the news. Then I turned to the messenger and told him to take me to the person who sent the note. I have waited all these weeks and months to see my little girl and I will not wait another day! With Noble running ahead breaking souvenirs in the gifts shop along the way in his zeal and excitement, we finally reached Camille and I took her in my arms and held her and talked softly to her.

It has been years since I last had a dream with Camille in it. Oh how I miss her! What a gift to spend a little time in my dream with her last night. Oh how it makes me look forward to that glorious day when we will in reality be reunited. 

I am so grateful to my Savior Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice that enables my hope for that great day. For it is only through Him that we can repent and be worthy to live as families in God's presence one day. I am so grateful to be able to perform ordinances here on earth to show Him my commitment to following His plan and living His gospel. I am grateful for the restored priesthood authority on the earth that gives effectiveness to those ordinances and has power to make assurances of eternal blessings in as much as we keep our covenants. 

One day I will hold her again, all thanks to the Savior. Glory to His Name!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Be Prepared

This morning I went for a swim to get a little exercise. While I was swimming I got a chance to do some pondering. My thoughts turned to how we can get the most out of going to church on Sunday. Sometimes, our time in church can seem to do us little good. This is especially true at various stages of life.

This morning I realized how important preparation is to a meaningful church experience. It really can make all the difference in the world. I remember one of my most meaningful church experience many years ago.

I was 17 years old. I was living in Spain as a foreign exchange student for the summer before my senior year of high school. The town I was sent to was tiny. I could easily walk from one end to the other in 10 minutes. I was one of only 2 English speakers in town (the other a man who had lived in the States for some part of his life to whom I was introduced once.) I was the only Mormon. The closest church building and congregation was 30 miles away. My host family didn't have the money or inclination to take me all that way to church.

I went through some serious culture shock and missed everything American. I also didn't speak Spanish well enough to understand or talk to people. The only one I could speak to in English was God and the only book I had in English was my Quad of Scriptures (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.)

So I read lots of scriptures and I prayed almost constantly. After about 6 weeks there my family, I think in an effort to cheer me up, took me to the nearest city to go find the church. They took me on a Sunday so I could attend services. I had never in my life been 6 weeks without taking the sacrament.

I was living in a home with people who were good people but they didn't have the gift of the Holy Ghost like I did. I felt for the first time what it was like to live in a home where the Spirit wasn't a part of the framework of the home. I realized that if I wanted the Spirit to be there, and I NEEDED the Spirit to be there, I would have to bring it myself. No more relying on my parents for that.

After six weeks of preparing myself, I was finally able to take the sacrament and renew my baptismal covenants and be blessed once again with that feeling of renewal and of sanctifying that we can feel when we worthily and preparedly take the sacrament. It was a sacred experience for me that changed me in profound ways.

Today I asked myself, "how am I preparing myself to get the most out of church tomorrow? Am I prepared to fast? Have I thoughtfully pondered the purpose of my fast? Am I planning today so that tomorrow morning will run more smoothly as I get myself and the family ready for church? Do I have a plan to bring the Spirit into our home tomorrow morning to get us ready for feeling the Spirit at church? Am I hungering after righteousness?"

The reflection this morning has changed the way I am spending my day and it will change how I run my Sunday. I am hopeful that these things will help me make the most out of my time in the church building as well.