Wednesday, October 16, 2013

DC Week 37!


P-days are now on Mondays so you all have to hear from me twice this week ;) --I apologize.

Okay, I am on the lamest computer in this dinky little library with the slowest internet... and so, I just hope this little email can find its way through cyber space to you all! I have a few fun experiences I want to quickly share:

Several weeks ago, my companion and I received a call from Sister Cooke, inviting us to sing at an event which would take place at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia. The requested song was The Lord is My Shepherd. When we informed Sister Cooke that we already had a prepared number for that song (which we sang for a Night of Music and Inspiration at the VC back in the Spring), she said we were on! So the whole group got back together again!

Between practices on the car ride Sunday afternoon, we learned the story:

Sister Cooke had been contacted by an El Salvadorian man named Caesar (who is a recent convert in my companion’s old ward). Sister Clement was one of the missionaries who personally worked with him.  Well, he explained his desire to have a special musical number for a Veteran's group which would be gathering in Arlington to honor the 30 year anniversary of the Bairut Bombing in Lebanon. He was one of the 6 survivors out of over 200 men who were stationed there during the incident. The rest of them were killed. We knew little else except that Caesar insisted our presence there. We were asked to prepare two or three songs depending on how long the guest speaker took. In addition to the first, we chose I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go, Dear Lord, and America the Beautiful. Needless to say, our speaker only took ten minutes so we ended up performing all three.

It was such a beautiful experience...To be able to stand there, on that sacred ground, as representatives of Christ in front of these hard military men...and watch them melt into tears as we sang our hearts out for God…and freedom. Everything went perfectly. (Better than planned, actually). The spirit was so strong...and we knew they felt it. Our Heavenly Father was looking out for His children that day. It just felt good to do something right, and to make Him proud. That’s really all you want as a missionary.

We finished. And the last note almost seemed to keep echoing into the hills around us. Like a dream or something… We returned to our seats and remained standing as everyone else joined us to show respect as they then played the taps for the deceased. As that trumpet began, this wave of emotion filled me. There I stood, with my hand over my (still rapidly beating) heart, and cried. Cried for those men who died. Cried for my Savior. Cried for the knowledge I have. Cried for those who still need it themselves… And suddenly I knew. I knew my purpose. I knew why I was sent here. I knew then more than ever the sacredness of my precious calling. I knew this gospel is true. And I knew I was ready to proclaim it to the world.

The program eventually came to a close, and we politely and professionally stood and shook the hand of almost everyone there, including the Ambassador of Lebanon. So many thank you’s. So many smiles. So many pictures. And yet…I still wonder how many lives were changed forever that day…The day that “The Sister Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” came to sing. Just to sing. But after all…isn’t the Song of the Heart a prayer unto God…? I know it certainly was for me that day. And each of us strongly felt, as we walked away from that sacred place that someone’s was. We may never know the ripple effects of the tiny, minute, seemingly insignificant things we do…but God does. He sees it all. He knows everything. And even if we don’t…is that ever a valid reason to hold back? Never. Oh, remember it.      

Family, I love you. More next Monday…

Hermana Graff
Mosiah 5:13 ~For how knoweth a man…?

PS—I was kissed by a Turkish man at the VC this week. That was an unexpected experience that I will never forget! Remind me when I’m home and I will give you the full story ;)
PPS—Our mission is now on Facebook. Yep it’s totally happening. And I'm going to need your help, okay? More details on that as they come. The Lord is really hastening His work…

1. After singing...
2. The Ambassador of Lebanon (2nd in from the left)
3. Sister Carcamo (Chile) and Nakatsuka (Japan)
4. The Big Guys.
5. Change is beautiful, isn't it?

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