Most of you reading this blog are aware that my sister, (Jordan's aunt) Loriann Gabrielsen, and her son Moke (9 yrs old) were in a serious boating accident at Lake Powell this past weekend. They were sitting on a wave runner when they took a direct hit by a ski boat going 25 mph. Loriann is currently in critical but stable condition after brain surgery and an operation this morning to repair a severed femur. She also has a broken shoulder blade, ribs and head lacerations with skull fractures. Moke had a deep laceration in his hip/leg, but is doing well and should be released today. It's a miracle they both survived. It's a miracle Loriann is doing as well as she is today. We are grateful for the blessings and miracles, and especially for the outpouring of love and support for her, David, their 10 children & spouses, our parents, and her siblings. Thank you, thank you to all the angels watching over this family...both on earth and in Heaven.
Loriann and I are very close. I know her. I know how incredibly strong she is. While I am horrified to think of the devastating injuries and pain she has suffered, and will continue to suffer... I know the Lord is in charge here, and sometimes His greatest work, miracles, and blessings look a lot like tragedy at first glance. I have complete faith in His ability to bless and heal Loriann. His fingerprints are all over this...as there have been countless miracles already that have preserved her life, let alone Moke getting out of this with stitches, staples, and no internal injuries. It doesn't make logical sense that they weren't both killed instantly. Miracles! I also know that Heavenly Father's ultimate goal is our eternal happiness, and he allows us to grow in ways we learn best. That's been true for my life, and I know it's true for my sister as well. I love her. I know she is in good hands...and I will exercise my faith in her behalf for a full recovery, and leave the rest to God. The healing power of the atonement is infinite...and available to all of us. The Savior is very aware of his sheep...with love and kindness...and there are more miracles in store.
Continuing prayers appreciated!
Updates will be posted on my facebook page regarding Loriann's condition and recovery for any who are interested.
October 6, 2014
I'm always so impressed with our family's steadfastness in the midst of trial after trial. I'm so glad we're solid. I'll be praying for both Loriann and Moke. I'm not sure what I'd like you to pass along to them. One of the things that comes to mind is that I believe we're saved from things far worse than speed boats more often than we think, more often than we would notice.
Monday night we had dinner at President Cuntapay's house and had the opportunity to have a bit of a scripture study with him. I shared one of my favorites from Alma 5, verse 14, when Alma is talking about the remarkable change wrought in the countenance of Abinadi: "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" We have the opportunity, as disciples of Jesus Christ in the Latter-Days, to receive his image in our countenances. Although we cannot attain perfection quite yet, we can be lights to the world, as our Shepherd is, in our own unique ways. We ought to ask ourselves if people feel blessed by knowing us. Are we surrounded by good company that isn't interested in selfish desires but in blessing others through their talents? Those kind of friendships are ones that will last. Those were the bonds of fellowship that have kept members of the true Church of Jesus Christ, in all dispensations, together. We are brothers and sisters. Do we shed light on one another? Or do we only look for light to be shed on us?
Another experience occurred where I found a specific scripture in my personal study that happened to be the exact scripture an investigator wanted and needed to hear. It was a scripture that, at first, I thought I needed more than anyone else. It's also in Alma, in the 36th chapter, verse 24, after he has talked about his remarkable conversion: "Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 25 Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors; 26 For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God." This is an excellent example of a hard-working missionary whose only desire is to share the good news he has received to everyone he meets. It is also another example of how the gospel, when implemented into an individual's life, allows them to understand each other better, or "see eye to eye" as Alma puts it. The gospel allows those from different backgrounds and interests to focus in on one ultimate goal, and thereby align perspectives together. I've felt this in effect especially with companions or investigators that I otherwise wouldn't have gotten along with very well. Because we both came to understand that we were both making steps to come unto Christ, any differences that had existed before dissipated, and the seemingly deep divisions of culture, religion, or personality, were revealed as the schemes of the adversary they are. There is no need to contend. We have all been saved by the same Savior, we all chose pre-mortally to follow the same Jehovah, and Satan knows the best way to break our ranks is to make us think the contrary. Give no heed to him.
On Wednesday we had a meeting in Cauayan for all of the new district and zone leaders. I learned a lot about my new responsibilities. We also had pizza which was amazing. By the way, during the pizza break, Sister Rahlf turns to me and says "Elder, I think you should go play piano now." I don't know why she keeps requesting me to; I don't read music very well yet and I only know a few songs, but it's nice to have someone encouraging me to practice at every opportunity I can. Sometimes I feel Sister Rahlf has more faith in my skills as a leader than President Rahlf. I hope I can be a good example to others. I know we always feel unqualified to take these rolls on, but I know I'm not doing it for my own sake, but for the sake of all the missionaries I need to serve. I need to be something solid for others to lean on. I'll do all that I can, and then rely on the grace of the Lord. I can't pay Him back, but I can pay Him forward.
Elder Glassie and I have learned a lot from working with the Sister Training Leaders lately during this area switch. The sisters just have such a kind and loving countenance I don't think I could ever achieve, and their drive for the work is beyond anything I've noticed in an Elder. It has been really fun to learn from them and feel the deep concern they have for each of their individual investigators. We definitely feel a pressing responsibility to keep watchful care of their old area for them. I always find it remarkable when I take a step back and realize I'm doing this; I've been called of a prophet of God, and by inspiration from the Lord, been assigned in the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan, Philippines, to preach the restored gospel. It is all so surreal. I wish I could relish every moment of it more fully. To all of those preparing to serve: this work is the best you'll ever do in your life. It's priceless joy, and it doesn't fade.
Press forward, saints!
Loriann, Moke and I in our natural habitat of Newport Beach a few years ago... Moke's a little bigger now, and both Loriann and I are smaller after our fitness challenge this summer. :-) I want to recreate this picture in the future... :-)