Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sister Phan Saves Souls

To give a little bit of a background to this story, Brother C has not left his house for about a year...
That is...until this past Wednesday. 
When I say he hasn't left his house, I mean he hasn't set foot outside the boundaries of his fenced yard. 
He hasn't gone to church, he hasn't gone to see the doctor...
He doesn't even let his wife or son leave, except to go to Big C for groceries and school. 

Of course, we had been quite curious about this peculiar situation for a long time...
We really didn't know much except that he was home, sick, and that he would not let his family go to church. 
Sister Hayes and Sister Burbank, before me, spent weeks trying to figure it out to no avail. 
But, part way through my transfer with Sister Hayes, we finally found out the truth!
Sister K (Brother C's wife) managed to get a moment away from her husband and she seized that rare chance to open up to Sister Hayes. 

As it turned out, Brother C was suffering from a form of paranoia due to a tragic past family event. 
His mother had been sick, and the doctor suggested a treatment.
Brother C, his siblings and many others were opposed to the idea because they knew that she was too old and it would be too risky.
That is...all except one. 
Brother C's older sister gave the doctor the "okay" to go ahead with the treatment.
And their mother passed away.
This traumatic experience pushed Brother C past just sorrow and mourning.
He lost trust in people and became paranoid about letting his family go out too far. 
This poor man's sick heart has weighed down on his wife and 13 year old son for the past year (their youngest, at 3 years old is thankfully too young to really understand). 
They want nothing more than to go to church on Sundays, but are kept back v\by her husband and his father. 

Thankfully, Brother C loves and has a lot of trust in the missionaries, so we are always welcome in their home.
We, as missionaries, decided that the best idea was to bring along a variety of different members when we went to visit them. 
Although some members were pretty up front and bold in telling Brother C that he needs to leave his house, and start trusting others, there didn't seem to be much improvement...
But the tiny hints of progress were enough for us to keep trying. 

Then, a truly big miracle happened today!
Sister Blaylock and I wanted to take the Elders to go visit Sister Phan because they have never had the opportunity to serve her at her home. 
The problem was, the Elders needed another man to go with them (missionary rules). 
It so happened that all the brothers from church were busy or out of town. 
So, the Elders decided to try Brother C. He declined Elder Wager's request, but turned over the responsibility to his wife and son. 
Although we were used to him turning over responsibilities to his wife or son for smaller things (like answering questions or using another's sickness as an excuse to not got to church), we were at least grateful that he was making progress and letting his wife and son go! 
We all felt pretty accomplished, until we remembered that their son was only 13 years old and didn't qualify to count as a man because he wasn't priest aged yet...
So, the Elders still didn't have someone to solve their original problem.
Thankfully, Elder Hilton is really persistent and decided to call Brother C again. After explaining the situation to him, Brother C actually agreed to go!  

Even the, we had our doubts as we waited on the street corner we agreed to meet at. 
As we invited the passerbys, we all wondered if he would really show up. 

To our absolute delight, he DID! 

And we had the most amazing afternoon at Sister Phan's home.
The missionaries did the usual cleaning, and Brother C spent his time with Sister Phan. 
He became her friend, someone to keep her company, someone to talk to. 
He had a wonderful time. 
We knew he did, not because of what he said, but because of what we observed. 

I am sure that sometimes Sister Phan wonders what her purpose in this life is, now that she is confined to her bed, not being able to move much.
I'm sure that sometimes she feels that there's really not much she can do...
But, Sister Phan saves lives! 
By serving this faithful daughter of God, we can become unified, our hearts filled with pure love. 
A part of Brother C's heart was healed that day. 
His countenance could shine a little brighter. 
This physically constrained, beautiful Sister in Zion is doing more than many physically able people do! 
Sister Phan has the power to heal!
She has the power to save souls~ 

*name withheld to respect the privacy of the family involved
*if you don't know who Sister Phan is, please refer to my blog post from week 1 in the field! 

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