This time tomorrow Natalie will be on a plane bound for Mexico City. I will undoubtedly shed at few tears as my dear, wonderful friend, even BFF, leaves me for eighteen months.
Natalie may be gone, but she will leave behind some amazing lessons. Yesterday Natalie spoke in two different sacrament meetings, giving two completely different talks. I learned much. I learned that Natalie has a humble, gifted way to teach others. It is not showy or loud, but meek, personal and very powerful. Her understanding of gospel doctrines and principles are deep, intact and firmly rooted in who she is and how she conducts herself on a daily basis. I learned that her testimony of The Plan of Salvation, the Atonement, Resurrection, a living prophet, the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ are genuine and sure. She knows what she believes and trusts in those beliefs. I learned that she is a child of great faith.
Her faith has served her well in life. In one of her talks, Natalie shared her testimony of paying her tithing because that was what she had been taught to do as a little child. She spoke of the realization that not only are others blessed by her obedience to that commandment, but she personally is blessed as well. She then talked about the wonderful blessing and opportunity of being able to attend and fund college with help beyond what she was capable of doing on her own and attributed that to always paying an honest tithe.
That example of faith and obedience is why I share the following experience. A couple of weeks ago Natalie expressed concern about not having the $200.00 cash that is suggested for a missionary to have on hand as they enter the MTC. She had been very frugal with her money and had spent it in preparation for her mission and she had undoubtedly paid the Lord his tenth. Last night as we gathered for family council, she held up one $100.00 bill and two $50.00 dollar bills given to her by two different individuals at our family dinner. I have no doubt whatsoever that the Lord had once again blessed Natalie; this time to the exact penny. I am grateful for her obedience and faith. I am grateful for two people who obviously acted on prompting and were the Lord's hands in this blessing for her.
Natalie, your faith will help grow the Lord's kingdom in Ecuador. Your teachings will be anchored in humble, receptive hearts and not only will they be blessed, but you too will be blessed because of your service. I am sure in the next eighteen months you will be taxed beyond what you have ever experienced or even thought possible, but you will be refined beyond what you ever could do on your own. Work hard. Pray hard. Heed counsel and obey and always move forward! I so respect who you are and how you represent the Savior and His church. Until we meet again dear daughter..............I love you. Mommy