Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Your Daughter Is Here Doing HIS Work

Mormon "Helping Hands" vests! 
Great conversation starters with the
non-members we are helping

This is an email received from the sweet Stake Relief Society President - We also received a phone call and personal conversation with Sister Richards - the Stake President's wife!  Who LOVES Macy and couldn't say enough about the wonderful work the sister missionaries are doing to help those in their stake!  

Sister England,

I have had such an overwhelmingly busy week, that I am sorry I haven't responded.  I am recovering from surgery earlier this month, so I have unfortunately been on mud and lifting restriction.  I have spent my week working with FEMA at the Disaster Assistance Center, so I haven't seen the missionaries all week.  There is a low area on the south west corner of Longmont where blocks and blocks of houses have their basements completely flooded to the ceilings.  There's some Goggle maps you can probably find that show the local extent of the flooding.  The towns of Lyons and Estes Park are also within our Stake boundaries.  Those areas have the very most damage, but as of today, only local residents have been able to access those areas as the majority of the roads into and out of these areas have been destroyed.  I'm not sure if the Elders serving in that area got evacuated in the military helicopters or not.  I haven't heard yet.  That would make a pretty awesome missionary story to share your entire life- also would have made those mothers flip to watch on national TV, as many of those rescues were shown live. 

From what I have heard, the missionaries from the Stake have spent everyday this week "mudding". I know President Richards took the sisters out and got heavy boots.  I'm quite sure rain boots weren't on the packing list for Colorado.  Snow yes- rain no.  I'm also sure the missionaries never could have imagined the adventure they would go through here.  They have been trying to make sure the groups going out have had gloves and masks- who knows if they have actually been wearing them- hopefully.   The goal once the water has gotten pumped out, has been to remove belongings, furniture, flooring, and dry wall before the mold sets in.  Basically, basements are being gutted to cement and wood only.  Many elderly people have a basement full of memories that they are also helping to salvage. 

Groups have arrived on members door steps, and when they have finished at that house, they have gone door to door to see which neighbors also were in need of  help.  Not surprisingly, probably some of those same doors that have been slammed in missionary faces in the past, have suddenly been opened.  I had a man at the Disaster Center that said there is no way he could have gotten his basement cleaned without the LDS help that just showed up on his doorstep.  I have been told that all of the missionaries, including the sisters, have gone anywhere they have needed and served with a smile.  Unless you are in the middle of this, it is hard to comprehend how epic an event this is for this area.  When your daughter shares her mission experiences, the flood will be one of, if not the most memorable part.  It's hard to tell what long lasting effects these clean up efforts will have in the community.  I can tell you already, hearts have been softened, and we have made friends like never before.  I'm sure doors will be opened because of so many acts of kindness and service given to hundreds of people, and probably thousands before we're done with this. 

The first Sunday in August, the Stake Presidency went to a small hill over looking the entire Stake and dedicated the area for missionary work.  We have been counseled to be praying for each of us to do our part in this missionary effort.  Obviously, no one wants a disaster, but this has provided contacts at an unprecedented rate.  We are also piloting a program in Northern Colorado called Just Serve.  The goal is collaborate with like minded groups- both churches and community groups, in providing service.  So, many of the clean up projects have been a multi-denominational effort.    

As far as the sister missionaries, everyone loves the sisters.  In the past, the Denver North Mission has only had 4-6 sisters per about 75 Elders.  Usually for the entire Stake, we would get one set of sisters for one transfer in a year.  Just prior to the mission split, we got 30 new sisters in the mission.  I haven't heard the number of sisters serving in the new Fort Collins Mission.  But, we now have six sisters serving in our Stake!  The Relief Societies especially love the sisters in helping with less active sisters and with part member families.  There's just something about having these sweet sisters showing up on a doorstep with a smile and offering to help.  It's hard to turn that away.  We are doubly blessed with having Spanish speaking sisters.  Ute Creek Ward has a small group of sisters who need translation and support.  They are only a handful of bilingual sisters, so this is a service that we are so grateful for. 

I personally know that it is hard to just get a quick email a week- especially if you're worrying about whether or not things are okay, and it's hard to capture a weeks worth of an adventure in a brief email.  Even though I haven't seen them this week personally, I am told the sisters are well. The Lord watches over these servants, especially in difficult circumstances.   We are so grateful for the service they are giving, and all that they are doing to help.  I don't have sister missionaries in my Ward, but in the upcoming weeks, hopefully I will get to know your daughter on a more personal level.

Thank you again for the sacrifices your family is making to loan us your daughter for 18 months.  The experiences she has had here will have prepared her to be a better leader, and to make the most of any difficult situation she ever finds herself in.  One member commented yesterday that if Christ had come to Colorado this week, he would have joined the members slinging mud out of basements and comforting broken hearts.  Thankfully, your daughter is here helping do HIS work.

Barbara Bade
Stake Relief Society President

First time Lions opened up for people to
come help, over 500 Mormon Helping Hands
people went up that day!

A house near the barn we cleaned out!
Us at the barn..wearing the cute
rubber boots you sent!

Another day - another basement!

We helped this artist clean our her basement - 
She lost a lot of her art work in the flood,
so we helped her lay some of them out
to dry so we could save some!

President Richards bought us rubber boots!
Thanks President!!

Helping dry out pictures and other
things to salvage...

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