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Semana 21--a hard week and some sad news

By 3:15 PM

Mom note:  This week we had some tragic news about our dear family friends the Openshaws to share with Emily.  I've included it here to provide some context for Emily's response.

Hi Emily! 

I have really debated when and how to tell you some very sad news.  This week Mark and Amy Openshaw were in Missouri with Tanner (15), Ellie (12) and Max (5) for a family reunion. They flew there in their plane.  On Friday, when they took off to come home, their plane crashed and Mark, Amy, Tanner and Ellie were killed.  Max was thrown from the plane on impact and miraculously survived.  He broke his leg, arm and ribs.  Zane was in Germany on a trip.  I'm so sorry to have to share this sad sad news.  I don't have many details to share yet.  Elder Neil L Anderson of the quorum of the twelve has been very involved. He has talked with Porter several times. He called and talked to Zane.  Porter is on Christmas Island and there is only one flight off the island each week (on Wednesdays), so he will go to the main island where his mission president is on Wednesday so he can meet with his MP and have unlimited Skype access to his family back home.  I don't know what he will decide to do.  Zane will be home from Germany on Friday.  Max is still in the hospital, but will make a full recovery.  The details are very tragic and I've heard that they will first hold a service in Missouri for those who knew them well in that community--Mark's parents live there. Then they will have a service here.  The Edgemont 8th ward is understandably shaken and grieving. Mark was the bishop of the ward.  Elder Anderson came today and spoke to the ward during sacrament meeting which Grandma and Grandpa said was wonderful.  G&G have been the Openshaw's home teachers for the past couple of years so they are heartbroken.  I will keep you up to date on any information that comes.  The Openshaw and Foster (Amy's ) families are wonderful and supportive and I have every hope that Porter, Zane and Max will be alright in the long run.

Hey family,

First off - I can´t wrap my head around what happened to the Openshaws.... when I read your emails about the crash and that everyone passed away I just cried and cried and cried.. I´m still crying. I can´t begin to think about how Porter must feel being on the mission... oh my gosh. They have been such good family friends, and I´m just sitting here sobbing at the computer. So this will probably be a depressing email, sorry. Sending so much love and prayers their way.

This week was a hard work week - I feel like I am hitting a rough spot on my mission. Hitting my 5 month mark on sunday, still in the SAME area that I arrived, we don´t have a teaching group, don´t have any progressing investigators, and we´re not closing our weekly pattern because our lessons keep falling through. We´ve lost motivation, energy to even street contact, and are losing our vision. We´re mentally struggling here. However, we´re fasting and praying that things will change here soon, and can get a grip on the work and get out of this rivet.

Sunday was a good day - all of my "boys" (my converts) showed up in white shirts and ties for the first time! Adriano, Hugo, and Tiago all received the Priesthood, and Hugo and Weorrana were finally confirmed. It was a good day! We took some pictures - I´ll be sure to send them home.

Also this week (mom you´ll be SO proud of me!) I made a lasagna! All by myself - no recipe and no experience. And you were worried about me cooking on the mission... ;)

This we week we did get a reference from a ward member to come and teach his 18 year old nephew, named Rafael. We met with him, and discovered that he has been looking to find a new religion and wants to follow Jesus. So we taught him the Restoration, and gave him a reading assignment from the Book of Mormon like usual. When we came back and followed up how it went, he shared with us that he read and prayed but didn´t get an answer - didn´t feel anything different or special. 

His response got me thinking - sometimes we follow the counsel of Moroni 10:3-5. We read, we ponder, we pray with a desire to know the truth, with real intent to act on our response. We do all of this, and don´t get an answer. At least, not immediately. Sometimes all we are looking for is comfort, for a peace of mind, for SOMETHING, and there´s just.... nothing. At least not immediately. And maybe not for some time. And this takes me to the scripture in 3 Nephi 22:7-8 

"For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.
 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer."

Sometimes the Lord lets us grow alone, and then once we have been stretched as far as He allows, THEN he encircles us with His love. I guess that relates to both the situation of Rafael not receiving his answer yet, and what happened with the Openshaws. I am even more grateful for my Savior, knowing that He is the reason that families are eternal, that the pains of death have no sting through Him.

I love you all so very much - with each passing week I realize this more and more. Thank you for all of the support and love and letters, they mean the world to a missionary. 

I´ll talk to you next,

Sister Brown

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