Thursday, January 27, 2011

Because of Your Faith

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Because of Your Faith, by Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

President Monson spoke of couples serving missions, and Elder Holland reminded me of this further. As a child, my grandparents served together in New Zealand. They were a great example to me, and I don't think I ever thanked them for it. Besides setting an example in their mission together, Harold and Bodil Siler (my grandparents) helped me without me knowing it

Similar to how Elder Holland's parents helped him finance his mission, I learned after I returned home that every month, my aged grandparents, who were no longer working, had scrimped and saved for twenty-four months to help pay for my mission. Before I left, I gave all I had (which wasn't much at all), my parents helped as much as they could (they had never been "well off"), and I was somewhat supported by my local ward. While I'm incredibly grateful for all the additional help, for some reason, as I consider what my grandparents did to help, my heart gets tighter, my eyes get wetter, and my smile gets bigger.

The picture above shows my grandparents with my family
(sans my father—taking the picture).

As often happens, after loved ones are gone, those who remain wonder if they adequately expressed thanks. I, too, wonder if I did this. I know I thanked them, but I don't think I did it often enough or sincerely enough. Now that they're both gone, what can I do? How can I show them how grateful I am?

I'm reminded of a story about rock climbing I heard in a sacrament meeting talk years ago. Through the power of Google, I found the story about belaying, or holding the rope for another climber. Here is the summary:

The director of a climbing school, Alan Czenkusch, described his experience with belaying to the author of the article:

Belaying has brought Czenkusch his best and worst moments in climbing. Czenkusch once fell from a high precipice, yanking out three mechanical supports and pulling his belayer off a ledge. He was stopped, upside down, 10 feet [3 m] from the ground when his spread-eagled belayer arrested the fall with the strength of his outstretched arms.

‘Don saved my life,’ says Czenkusch. ‘How do you respond to a guy like that? Give him a used climbing rope for a Christmas present? No, you remember him. You always remember him.’ (source)

An answer to the question, "How can I show my gratitude?" is to always remember them. While it may not seem as thrilling or fantastic as the experience in the quote, I'm convinced that my grandparents (and parents, and ward members) helped to save my life. The expression of their faith made it possible for me to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary, where I had experiences that changed my life forever.

How do I say "thank you"? I'll always remember them! (And try to be like them, too.)

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