Real Heroes Wear Name Tags

Laney loved to write to missionaries. So much so that she started a club to get her friends involved in writing them, too. She encouraged others to serve missions because she knew it was the right thing to do. She knew that sharing the Gospel was one of the reasons we are here. She firmly believed that she didn’t want to get to the other side and have people ask, ” You knew this all along? Why didn’t you tell me about it?”

So, when she went off to in college, she started the WAM club. It stands for Write a Missionary. She had a standing time every Sunday when the young adults in her ward were all invited to come to her house and write missionaries. Laney wrote to her friends. And then their companions. She felt that maybe if she wrote encouraging letters, it might make a difference. She knew that her letters might be the only mail they received on their missions.

Laney has over 110 first cousins. One of them holds a special place in her heart.  He is the same age as her and they and grew up together. She was constantly encouraging him to go on a mission. It took a little longer than normal, but he is now proudly serving a mission. I am sure that she is there beside him when he is discouraged, encouraging him (or maybe kicking him in the behind, if we know Laney).

My little four year old nephew, Soybean (not his real name), knows how important it is to serve a mission, too. He has a little Sunday suit and he calls it his missionary suit. He wants to wear it all the time. He loves it because he knows that Laney’s boyfriend wears a suit. That he wore one on his mission. Soybean wants to be a missionary when he grows up, just like Laney’s boyfriend. He is Soybean’s hero. He is our hero, too.

Laney had so many close friends serving missions, that upon news of her accident, their mission presidents were called by their parents. Two of her best friends, Josh and Solomon were still serving, getting ready to come home. They immediately wrote our family, giving us such sweet tender mercies. Josh came home just two months later. It was so sweet to meet with him after he got home. He brought with him more of those tender mercies that we so desperately needed.

Now we are waiting for Solomon. He will be home in March.  I cannot wait to give him the hug that he was waiting to get from Laney. At our house, my family loves super heroes. But they love real heroes more. And real heroes wear name tags.


Look for the Blessings

It is so important that we look for the blessings in the trials we find ourselves in. This is not an easy task when we are discouraged and feel so down trodden. But, if we look for the blessings, we will see that the Lord does indeed delight to bless us. He knows us. He loves us.

One of the ways He blesses us and helps us to strengthen our testimonies and faith in Him is through tender mercies. In his book Divine Signatures, Gerald Lund says, “Sometimes, the blessings come with such a unique combination of circumstances that it becomes very clear they are from the Lord.” Lund calls them divine signatures. He not only gives us tender mercies, but He also “signs” them in such a way that we have no doubt that the blessings come from him.

Elder David A. Bednar describes tender mercies in this way:

I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them. …The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized, strength, protection, assurance, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. … Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord’s timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings…I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us…each of us can have eyes to see clearly and ears to hear distinctly  the tender mercies of the Lord as they strengthen and assist us…

I have experienced many tender mercies throughout my life. One of the tender mercies that rises to the level of a Divine Signature is how, shortly before her death, Laney wrote her testimony directed TO us. Whether or not she knew it at the time, she was inspired to leave us with one of the greatest treasures of our lives, which has been shared with many, many people.

Looking for the blessings in my life gives me hope for tomorrow. May you find a way to look for the blessings in your own life. Because they are there.