Sunday, August 18, 2013

♪♫ Put Your Shoulder To The Wheel ♫♪

(excerpts from letters sent on July 9 & 16, 2013)

Well, to tell you the truth, the title of this post has become our theme song as of late - and for many reasons.  Yes, missionary work is just that - work!  Lots of studying and scheduling and studying and teaching and meetings and studying and appointments and well, studying!  But the past while we also have had the opportunity to really give our blood, sweat and tears per say to serve others.  The missionaries in our Zone helped the people of High River on July 3rd, 4th and 11th and the people in the Siksika Nation Reserve on July 15th.  What an experience!
It's one thing to see reports on the news, the pictures, and hear the stories, but overall, you don't realize just how devastating it is till you are there. It is literally a war zone! We would drive in with our Mormon Helping Hands shirts and vests and in some places would get rounds of applause as we came in from neighborhoods, we would have people waving and smiling - our mere presence uplifted and brought hope and comfort to so many. I wished that I could multiply myself so as to help to every single person who really needed it. Even if it was to just give them a hug and to tell them that everything was going to be okay. It broke my heart - it really did.
In the days we were out in High River alone, our Zone combined helped with 5 houses - one of them was the missionaries residence. Everything was destroyed! The water had gone up to the ceiling and therefore the insulation all came down and destroyed even more furniture and such. Their basement dwelling was filled with water, mud and the sewer pipes burst, so it was also filled with poo! By the end of it, I was literally covered from head to foot with the stuff. The missionaries' suitcases, suits, journals, scriptures, etc., were all destroyed! What broke our hearts even more, was when Sister Martin picked up one of the journals, and the place it was opened to, where the first sentence said, "It's been another rough week." What a way to start off a clean up such as this!

The High River missionaries residence with all their lovely "stuff"

At one of the other homes we cleaned, this lovely lady was such an example to me. We brought up so much of her stuff that was destroyed and she would crack jokes about how before moving in, her husband and her had down-sized but how apparently they needed to down-size more. She was so strong and so good about the whole thing, as well as extremely appreciative of our good hearts and efforts to serve her.

Me with "Mickey", a kind woman whose home we cleaned out for her.  She gave me this hat in appreciation!

So back to "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel" - when my Zone and myself were cleaning out one of the homes in High River, the missionary residence to be exact, we all broke out singing that hymn! And then we started on some other hymns followed by Hakuna Matata from The Lion King and See the Light from Tangled (because we had been working in the dark for the most part until one of the owners got a generator going for some light bulbs he had strung throughout our area - gotta love it!)

Me and Sister Martin, my companion, cleaning at another house in High River

I can tell you this much, the whole way home, I have never been so quiet. I learned so much in helping these people who my heart aches and reaches out to. I learned of the value of what really matters most. Of where to place my true treasures and it's value. And the incredible importance of not only serving our fellow brothers and sisters at all times, but serving them with a loving, open, willing heart. It really is so vital! I'm so glad I got to help out and that I have the chance to continue to do so with my Zone.
I gain a stronger and more firm testimony everyday of the truthfulness of this Gospel.  I love my Savior and Father in Heaven and the fact that Christ's atonement is not just for sin but for lifting any burden that we may bear.  I love all of you and I love the fact that I am out here - it has and I know it will continue to make and shape me!

All my love again and God bless and be with you all till we meet again!
Sister Stephanie Blommaert

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