Friday, February 26, 2010

Belinda, Vera

A yummy strawberry cheesecake tart. How does one resist all these delicious treats?
We had a very wonderful baptism on Wednesday evening. Belinda and her husband are in France from Tonga. He is playing rugby here. Their two little girls are adorable. Sisters Koehler and Gappmaier met her just a few short weeks ago and began teaching her the gospel. Belinda says that she is so happy to find Jesus Christ and the true gospel. She was thrilled to be baptized.

Ben Fahour, the ward mission leader for Lille, baptized her.

Vera is from Belarus, the country between Russia and Poland. She has had a very sad story. She is living in Belgium with her 3 yr old son, Maxim and is expecting a second baby. Her husband (not really) was from Nigeria. Vera has a passport and papers, but Maxim although he has been in the Netherlands since he was a small child has no official papers. Because of this, they could not be officially married even though they searched out all avenues and went to both embassy's, etc. Anyway, they had some sort of a little unofficial ceremony and considered themselves to be husband and wife. About 3 months ago Dixon was killed. It was an act of violence, but the police will not give Vera the details because of their status. She knows there was some sort of foul play involved. The Belgian gov't had him cremated even though she begged them not too knowing that he didn't want that. Also involved is a man named Robert. Before Dixon's death, they had many problems and arguments with Robert. After Dixon's death, Robert began stalking Vera and her son and also sending many strange people to her house. She finally had to get a restraining order against him from the police.
Meanwhile, 2 missionaries met Robert on the street and began talking to him about the gospel. He told them that he was not interested, but he knew someone who would be very interested. He sent them to Vera's. When the 2 missionaries arrived at Vera's door and told her that Robert sent them, she began yelling at them and telling them to go away and not to bother her and to never come back. 2 weeks later the missionaries saw her walking in the center of town with little Maxim. She saw them also and she says that she felt embarrassed for yelling at them and did not want to see them or to talk to them. However, she felt a force pushing her to cross the street and to apologize to them. She did cross the street and as she approached them, she says that she was overcome with a wonderful feeling radiating from them. She did, in fact, apologize to them. They then asked her if she wanted to learn about the church and because of that good feeling she had, she invited them to come over. At this point, the missionaries called us because Vera is Russian. We went to her house and she told us her story. She cried a lot because she feels so lost and because she is all alone now. The missionaries gave her a Book of Mormon which she has been reading and she had many, many deep questions. We were able to answer her questions and also taught her the plan of salvation. It has been a pleasure to teach her. Last Sunday she attended church for the first time and she loved it. She said that she felt so welcomed and that everyone was so friendly to her, but most of all she felt a wonderful feeling and a closeness to the Lord. She said she felt so good that she wants to go back every week. We explained to her that those good feelings that she is having were coming from the Holy Ghost and was a testimony to her that the church is true and that the things we are teaching her are true. We have taught her again and she has told us that she loves the Book of Mormon and that when she is reading it, she has very good feelings and she feels so close to the Lord as she is reading. She says that she knows that "this is a holy book". She's not crying as much and she now has a hope in the future. She wants to be baptized.
I was reading my scriptures today and found a little note that I had written to myself:
Faith helps people by giving them hope for the future which in turn makes this life more pleasurable, happy and joyful with a sense of direction and purpose. Faith has helped me in many ways. It has made me become a more service oriented person, one who is more interested in the welfare of others.
I am also reminded of my daughter Valerie's favorite scripture:
Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 "And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God."

Vera with a happy smile on her face after many months of tears.

Here is Elder Arhets with 2 of the Dutch speaking elders.
The one on the left is brand new from Amsterdam. In the middle is Elder Garrett.


Yvonne said...

What a touching story.

The Plan of Salvation brings so much hope and peace. I'm so glad Vera has listened.

allison nadauld said...

Wow! What a remarkable story. It is quite obvious that we are all instruments in His perfect timing and knowledge. What a comfort you and the gospel are for her. Beautiful.

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

How awesome that she followed her prompting!

I was just thinking about you and the sewing and wondering if you had a machine- then I kept reading- that is a bummer that you don't.