Week 4: President Hinckley
When Amy called me last night to inform me of President Hinckley's death, I couldn't help but feel happy for him. He has been an amazing prophet, but everyone has felt his sadness at being alone since his wife died and I was just grateful that he's finally reunited with her again. Yes, I do feel sad at how much I will miss him and his funny comments and how dang cute he is. I don't think any prophet has ever been called "cute" more times than this man. He has worked tirelessly for the church and effected so many lives and I'm just grateful that I got to be alive and old enough to see and remember his work as prophet.
I remember when I was in high school and he became prophet after President Hunter.
I remember going to a youth fireside in Denver and being amazed at him. Then a fireside for single adults that same weekend in Colorado Springs -- feeling very lucky to be "in-between" the two -- already 18 yet still in high school. He wowed me and inspired me.
I remember hearing him in the Marriott Center at BYU.
But by far, the most amazing memory I have of him happened on my mission. I already knew and had a testimony that he was a true prophet of God, but this experience just cemented the deal. I had only been there for a month and we heard he was coming to visit the people of Chile. Excitement ensued.
The morning dawned cloudy and rainy as we headed to a large auditorium where he would address the missionaries from the Santiago and Vina del mar missions. I remember just tearing up when he walked in the room and throughout the whole thing. It was a different man than I had previously heard. A bit harsh, but speaking the Lord's words nonetheless -- as we all know from the scriptures, the Lord can be harsh when reprimanding is necessary. Every word he said felt vitally important to me as a new missionary starting out in the field and because he was being "real" with us and not sugar-coating our work or our duties, it was a new view of him and a new admiration and testimony of his calling came to me.
Then we were off to the roofless Colo-Colo Soccor or Futbol Stadium where thousands and thousands of Chileans had gathered to hear President Hinckley. He changed. He was back to the people's prophet with words of love, encouragement and joy. It was fabulous. I don't know exactly where my notes are right now, but one thing that stands out to me that he said was this (paraphrasing): "do you love your children? are they yours? do you want them forever? then go to the temple and be sealed." As a mother now it makes me grateful to know that my own children are indeed sealed to me forever.
The whole program and all the speakers were amazing, but there was an air of anxiety throughout as we watched the black sky above our heads and prayed that it would not rain on us. Not a drop fell from that black, black sky. Then, after the closing prayer, President Hinckley jumped up to the microphone and said "Now it can rain." No sooner did he say that than the clouds broke open and it poured on us as we left the stadium.
It was not necessary for him to get up and say that, but I think he did it to strengthen some testimonies there as it certainly did mine. I know he sees miracles everyday but I believe he wanted the Chilean people (and us missionaries) to have our own obviously pointed out miracle that day. That was the first of many miracles I saw on my mission.
I know that he was a true prophet of the Lord and that he could move a mountain or part the seas if necessary just as he commanded the elements that April day in Chile because he is a prophet just like all the prophets from the Old Testament and other scriptures. And now I'm happy that he is able to rest from all the hard work he did here. He has truly been a blessing and an inspiration to me in my life.