Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Tuesday, October 9


Dear Family and Friends, October 8, 2007

General Conference was another spiritual high for us. I got so much from every single talk that we can’t wait to download them from the Internet.
And who can forget that image of 90-year-old Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin shaking at the pulpit with Russell M. Nelson steadying him by his side while Elder Wirthlin continues talking on, of all subjects, service and love. It truly amazed me that he kept on talking and delivered his entire message, then as he turned to leave the pulpit we all heard a little thank you to his dear friend, colleague, and probably his physician, on the Quorum of the Twelve.
The messages by President Henry B. Eyring indicate another strong voice in the First Presidency. His counsel on how to prepare for a new calling is priceless. Taken to heart by me personally was his comment in his second talk that he received the prompting as a young man to write down daily experiences. The spirit spoke to him, “I am not giving you this experience for yourself— write it down.” Then the follow up thought to write down… “How the Lord has touched your life today?”
We’ll never forget the newest member of the Twelve, Quentin L. Cook ,and his visit to our stake in North Las Vegas (not too long before we turned in our mission papers) with his enthusiasm and dedication to missionary work. We read recently that he had been named to the Presidency of the Seventy and before he had a chance to get his feet wet in that assignment, the Lord calls him to the Quorum of the Twelve. What a great example of service.

Who can forget the images of the humble Hispanic member of the Presidency of the Central America Area, Elder Enrique R. Falabella, and his father polishing his old worn out shoe, but with the toe still showing through the hole, how he put polish on his toe. What a great way of saying that he came from humble beginnings without bragging about it. and how he learned early in his life that happiness does not depend on money.
Who can forget the conversion story of Elder Uchtdorf in ruins of postwar Germany and the healing message of hope brought by the gospel of Jesus Christ to his family in their hour of need under the most devastating of conditions.
Then there was our old friend from Irvine, L. Whitney Clayton, whose wife Kathy served as JoAnn’s counselor in what later grew to be one of the largest Primaries in our memory with over 200 children. His comments were so timely in the priesthood session about pornography, and the Internet, and bad movies and television, “If it isn’t too bad then it can’t be too good either.” His closing comment… “The healing power of the atonement reaches all afflictions even this one” are powerful indeed.
The talk by our childhood friend David L. Bednar with his beautiful explanation of the true meaning of what it is to have “a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit” with his explanation of how it means “doing good and being good” show his deep wisdom and insight.
The talk by President Monson about his neighborhood friend Arthur Patton’s joining the Navy at 15 and getting killed just before his 19th birthday, how he felt moved as a young man to comfort Arthur’s mother, and years latter remembering that experience in a conference talk and addressing that talk to her not knowing if she would hear it. That Arthur lives. How she was invited to a neighbor’s home to hear conference and heard that talk… not by chance but by the Lord’s intervention. His words to her that she could say to Arthur “goodbye until we meet again” caused me to lean over to my companion seated beside me and say… “That talk was meant for Ryan’s family in their need to be comforted at this time.

Last Tuesday we had our Zone Conference. In one of the discussion sessions, one of our Zone Leaders asked the question. What is doctrine? We received an e-mail letter from our daughter, Susan, a few days ago that answered that question most effectively. Susan’s husband Ryan’s uncle Kent, who was paraplegic in an electric wheelchair most of his adult life, had fallen into their swimming pool unnoticed and drowned last week. His death came as a sudden shock to all of his family since he was able to take care of himself adequately except in this particular circumstance. Susan’s children knew Uncle Kent very well as they are a close family and live not far from where he lived. It was particularly difficult for their five-year-old Emma who has not had to deal with death in her short lifetime. As they were discussing it in family home evening, Emma sat in her mother’s lap and began to sob, saying she missed Uncle Kent. Then her seven-year-old sister, Sarah, reached over and touched her and said with tears in her eyes, “In church I learned about the second coming and when Jesus comes again those people who died will come with him.” There she was, trying to assure her little sister that they will see Uncle Kent again. That a seven-year-old would comfort her little five-year-old sister with doctrine, gave the perfect answer to what our Zone Leader had asked. And it was so beautifully touched on by Elder Monson in his talk about Arthur’s death and the comfort he was able to give to his mother.
D&C 133:56 And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night forever and ever.

Mosiah 18:9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in… that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…

We have been treated to a veritable feast of spiritual experiences here in France over the last three weeks. Elder Richard G. Scott visited our mission and took five hours out of his busy schedule to teach and edify us with his rich experiences and wisdom as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He promised us that if we will put into practice the teachings he would give us, it will change our lives forever. One teaching that he gave us that sank deeply into my soul was that if the spirit prompts us to do something and we fail to act on it then the spirit will withdraw. On the other hand every time we act on a prompting of the spirit it strengthens our ability to receive promptings in the future.

The next day I had such an experience that has changed my life and especially my outlook on serving others, especially those in need. As a tall American working as a missionary in France, I am occasionally stopped in supermarkets by short French women asking for my assistance in reaching some package that is beyond their grasp. I suppose as a senior missionary my gray hair makes me less threatening to them as some other tall men that might be around. It usually pleases me that they would stop me and ask for my help and I regard it as a privilege. It flatters me that they ask, or is it just my height? Perhaps they see my missionary badge, which is somewhat different from that of the other missionaries in that it is white with the Family Search logo of our calling to serve a Family History mission, which causes these cute little old ladies to mistake me for a store employee.

That day in particular however, it was a different kind of experience that made me appreciate the opportunity to be of service to someone in need. My sweet missionary companion and I were in one of the large supermarkets that have sprung up all over France since my first mission here some 46 years ago. We were near what in America might be loosely defined as the Deli section. I came near a group of people that seemed at first to be with this little lady in an electric wheelchair, then they all turned from her in what could be termed a gentle but obvious move of avoidance. I looked in her direction then her eyes met mine. It was then that I realized that she was acutely handicapped as she appeared to be suffering from what we might term as muscular dystrophy or perhaps cerebral palsy. I also turned from her gaze, uncomfortable by that intense look. Those eyes were wide in her sunken thin face. It then occurred to me that she was pleading for some kind of help. Remembering Elder Scott’s comments about recognizing the promptings of the spirit and acting on them, impulsively, and I would like to think that it was the spirit of what he had said that prompted me to turn once again and face the little lady in the wheel chair and mutter “Puis je vous aider?” - May I help you? Her condition made it impossible for her to answer in words. But her eyes gave the non-verbal response in the most pleading way, yet in relief… “Oui, s’il vous plaît!” - Yes, please! Then her thin bony hand moved slowly yet deliberately upward with an outstretched finger she touched a package that she could not quite grasp. I reached out and took hold of the package asking if that was what she wanted half expecting a verbal confirmation but her eyes once again spoke as she looked down into the large shopping bag in her lap that most people carry here, since French supermarkets do not provide free bags in their concern for the environment. So I gently placed the package in her bag and looked back in her face for some confirmation that I had done what she wanted. I felt her approval but again no words escaped that tongue long bound by her condition. The look of gratitude on her face was sufficient to let me know that I had not made a mistake. As I turned to find and follow my companion, the thought poured over me that, as trying as her condition is to her, it is not she who is being tested but in some way it is we who are whole and able that are being tested by her circumstance. She has come to deal with her state but we, those around her are the ones being tested by our reactions to her. I felt a little ashamed at my first reaction to her pleading gaze but then grateful for the promptings of the spirit that caused me to turn and say, “Puis je vous aider?” May I help you?

I’d like to end this epistle on a note that I hope will make you smile…

We got the cutest story from our daughter Susan. She told us about their three-year-old, Joseph and his particular insight into the English language. As they were walking down the hallway in church they heard a man’s voice coming from behind a curtain. Joseph looked up at his mom and said “Whobuddy?” Susan said “What?” He repeated. “Whobuddy is that?” Then she thought about what he had said and realized what he was asking. We say Somebody, Anybody, Nobody… so why not “Whobody.” Well, thinking about it, that makes sense to me.

Always remember that Heavenly Father loves you and so do we,

Elder et Soeur Miller / Mom and Dad / Arn and Jody


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