Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Does Charity Mean to Me

I have found myself reflecting on what does Charity mean to me?
I posed this question to myself quite a few months ago and intended to share my thoughts here at that time but this blog post has been sitting in my draft column until now.

I had been reading and once again stumbled on a story about Elder James E Talmage who has authored some great books one in particular is "Jesus The Christ."
That book touched me deeply.
For anyone wanting to learn about the Savior I would highly recommend this book.

Shortly after I had finished that book I came across this story about Elder Talmage that has stayed with me for many years:

"Elder James E. Talmage, a man who is remembered for his doctrinal teachings,
showed great kindness to a neighbor family in distress. 
They were complete strangers to him. 
Before he was an Apostle, as a young father, he became aware of great suffering at a neighbor’s home whose large family was stricken with the dreaded diphtheria. 
He did not care that they were not members of the Church;
his kindness and charity moved him to act. 
The Relief Society was desperately trying to find people to help, but no one would because of the contagious nature of the disease.
When he arrived, James found one toddler already dead and two others who were in agony from the disease.
He immediately went to work, cleaning the untidy house, preparing the young body for burial, cleaning and providing for the other sick children, spending the entire day doing so.
He came back the next morning to find that one more of the children had died during the night.
A third child was still suffering terribly.
He wrote in his journal: “She clung to my neck, ofttimes coughing [germs] on my face and clothing, … yet I could not put her from me.
During the half hour immediately preceding her death, I walked the floor with the little creature in my arms. 
She died in agony at 10 A.M.” 
The three children had all departed within the space of 24 hours.
He then assisted the family with the burial arrangements and spoke at their graveside services. 
This he did all for a family of strangers.
 What a great example of Christlike kindness!" 
(Joseph B. Wirthlin, GC, Apr 2005)

This past Saturday, I had my Spa Day Activity, which had been inspired moths ago during a conversation with a Branch Sister.

As I was visiting with my friends, who do not share my beliefs about my idea, many immediately jumped on board with ideas to make this activity a fun filled day.

One offered to share her knowledge of essential oils, while others shared their favorite home spa treatment recipes
to share with attendees.
One jumped right in and assisted with the planning and decorating ideas.
 Another made lip balms to go with the goodie bags. 
One friend hooked me up with a friend of hers who operates a little bath boutique where I was able to get some spa day soaps etc for goodie bags.
At the last moment I asked a friend to share with us how to make bath salts and 
a good friend donated all the supplies for that activity. 
My artsy friend made us a beautiful post card of the message I wanted to share with my friends and sisters that day.
My true blue friend had been to the church the night before to set up and came back to the church when I got home late that evening to assist me with the finishing touches since I had to work that Saturday.

Others assisted with the baking treats and at the end of the day stayed and helped with the clean up.
Oh, how I love my friends!!!!!

I think Heavnly Father had other ideas for my Spa Day because I I had all these great spa activities planned;
and spoke with other friends who were anxious to assist and share their talents also.
Bt as the day approached life happened and many had to back out.

My faithful organizing friend made up the difference by taking time out of her busy life to create a folder
 with at home spa tips and getting spa day items for door prizes.  
We went shopping to purchase other needed items to fill out blessing bags for the less fortunate.
Another friend gave me a bag of sample sized soaps, lotions and hair care items for the bags.
We were looking to get decorative bags for our spa day goodie bags and on the day of activity we discovered we had bought easter basket sized bags for our goodies. 
So our goodies wound up in extra sandwich bags.

The treats were heavenly.
Thank goodness for friends who love to bake and cook.

Our turnout was fair.
Some regular faces and some new faces.
My friends from all over the Magic Valley got to meet a few of my Branch Sisters.
Everyone visited shared ideas and shared some smiles:)

We had a table set up for our blessing bags and the ladies scrambled around that table filling our bags with the
donated spa items.

I was standing back taking everything in, some of my friends were still seated at the table visiting while another group was at the bagging station.
As I looked at both groups my heart began to swell inside and this immense outpouring of love began to flow through my entire being and then I heard in my heart and mind, "This is what Charity means to you."

It was at that moment I realized that I had not taken any pictures, so I grabbed my phone and snapped this one picture of my friends sitting at the pretty vacant table visiting with a couple of my Branch Sisters.

"And charity suffereth long, and is kind
and envieth not, and is not puffed up,
 seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked
thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity 
but rejoiceth in the truth, 
beareth all things, believeth all things, 
hopeth all things, endureth all things."

"But charity is the pure love of Christ,
 and it endureth forever
and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, 
it shall be well with him."

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