Hey! I have a new companion! His name is Elder Brewer. Elder Brewer hails from Wildomar, in southern California and is the 5th of 7 siblings! Elder Brewer likes long walks on the beach in his bare feet and puppies. :D Ok, maybe putting words in his mouth. We're getting along super well and he is a big singer! There are going to be 4 Elders in our small apartment for a little while and 3 of us are really big singers! We went off on "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in impromptu 3 part and it was awesome! I might send y'all a recording or something.
I want to tell a story about a woman named Panny. She was just 49 years old when she was diagnosed with cancer. Because the health care isn't the best in Cambodia she went to Vietnam to find better a better hospital. In Vietnam she got some bad news and the doctors told her they didn't know what to do. She cried in her hospital room and one of the doctors gave her a bible and suggested that it could help her find peace. She opened the book but couldn't read it because it was the wrong language. The Bible laid on her chest overnight and for some reason, when she woke up she was feeling much better. She scheduled a later visit, got some painkillers and went back home with a determination to find out more about Christ. She contacted a cousin of hers who is a member of our congregation in Ta Khmao and started coming to church. For several weeks she studied the scriptures very carefully and wanted very much to be baptized. She had a very firm belief that if she followed Christ, He could cure her cancer. The week before she was to be baptized she went back to Vietnam where they told her that there was nothing they could do and that she was going to die in a matter of months. She was crushed.
After staying at her home for several days she decided that she needed to keep following the commandments that she had learned about with the missionaries and received baptism. She did so and invited her whole family to come with her. She dragged her husband to worship services every week for several months. Over the last few weeks her health worsened and she went in and out of a coma. Two weeks ago was fast and testimony week where members are invited to stand up and give their own personal testimonies. She wanted to get up and speak but literally could not leave her bed. She told her husband that he had to go to church and speak for her. He did. She was in a lot of pain before she went into a coma one last time and passed away.
At the funeral this last Tuesday I was moved to tears. More so than anyone I have ever known personally, Panny kept the faith until the very end. Her husband broke into sobs when he told us that one of the very last things she did was sit up and tell him that she loved him and that he had to get baptized. It was almost hard to believe. She made me think about a talk I read recently by Elder Dennis E. Simmons called 'But If Not'. He wrote:
' Faith is not bravado, not just a wish, not just a hope. True faith is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—confidence and trust in Jesus Christ that leads a person to follow Him.
Centuries ago, Daniel and his young associates were suddenly thrust from security into the world—a world foreign and intimidating. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego refused to bow down and worship a golden image set up by the king, a furious Nebuchadnezzar told them that if they would not worship as commanded, they would immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. “And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”
The three young men quickly and confidently responded, “If it be so [if you cast us into the furnace], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand.” .... then they demonstrated that they fully understood what faith is. They continued, “But if not, … we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” That is a statement of true faith. '
I really felt like Om Panny exemplified this. She probably told me over a hundred times that if she followed Christ that she would be healed of her cancer, I think she really believed that; but when she was on death bed she was going out of her way to find some way to serve the God she loved.
' Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not … . He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. … He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, … we will trust in the Lord.
Our God will see that we receive justice and fairness, but if not. … He will make sure that we are loved and recognized, but if not. … We will receive a perfect companion and righteous and obedient children, but if not, … we will have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that if we do all we can do, we will, in His time and in His way, be delivered and receive all that He has. '
I believe that will bless all those who truly believe in him. I love you guys.