Yesterday we went to the Relief Society Conference. Sister Julie Beck had traveled to Guatemala and after a leadership meeting spoke to all the sisters in Guatemala via satellite. Amazingly the transmission originated from our ward’s chapel so we would listen to her live while other sisters in the city and country listened by broadcast. We got there about 30 minutes before it started and found some comfortable seats and I went over to visit with some senior missionary sisters. One sister introduced me to Keny, a sweet sister who makes figurines and sells them. She makes them out of clay and decorates them with beautiful material to give it a native Guatemalan look, they are exquisite! She brought with her a Captain Moroni figurine (with his Standard of Liberty), a native Guatemalan doll in complete dress, and a nativity scene with Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus in Guatemalan clothing. They were beautiful! I was admiring them and invited her to sit with Katherine and me when she explained that she wanted to give them to Sister Beck as a memento to remember Guatemala. She said she hoped to give it to her after the conference and I said that it was a wonderful thought. Then, as we were chatting, she worried a little about getting it to Sister Beck and I found myself suggesting that she give it to Sister Beck before the meeting started. I suggested she go into the main building and look for her there and she asked me to come with her.
We walked into the main building and I saw Sister Johnson, the wife of the Church’s head lawyer in Guatemala City and asked her where we could find Sister Beck and she directed me to Sister Tilley, a senior missionary, who was standing by the restrooms. We approached Sister Tilley and I explained to her (all in English) that Keny had a present for Sister Beck and just then Sister Beck came out of the bathroom and with a huge smile I said, “And we just wanted to make sure she gets it before she leaves.” Sister Beck gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and asked my name. Sister Tilley told me to explain what I’m doing here in Guatemala which I did briefly, but I was more interested in introducing her to Keny and her mission. Sister Beck accepted the beautiful gifts with great thanks and admiration for the craftwork; they are truly delightful pieces. She gave Keny a hug and I had a perfect view of the shock on Keny’s face as Sister Beck hugged her. Her eyes were wide open but Sister Beck held on to her and after a moment she just melted into Sister Beck’s arms. It was beautiful. Then she explained to Sister Beck about her creations and that she wanted her to remember Guatemala and Sister Beck was so appreciative. Keny’s voice and hands were shaking as she presented her sweet gifts. I was standing with Sister Clark, the wife of the Area Authority, and we had our arms around each other as I saw Keny overwhelmed by the presence of women that she respected so deeply. It was so wonderful to see Keny feel how much Sister Beck loves her and how it warmed her heart.
After we said goodbye Keny and I returned to our seats and the impact of our experience took a little while to catch up to us. Keny was still shaking a little so I just held her hand and kept my arm around her while she calmed. She looked at me and we both realized how miraculous the moment was. “Sarita,” she said, “She’s shaken the hand of the Prophet!” What a wonderful perspective! Then we realized if I hadn’t gone with her she wouldn’t have been able to find Sister Beck. She calls me her angel now, but I know anyone listening to the Spirit would have done the same. She cried as she explained to me that it was such a small gift but it meant so much to her to be able to give it to Sister Beck. I told her that that is how life is, our smallest, most humble presents are all we can give, but they are truly a part of us and mean so much, especially when received with love and appreciation. Keny told me that she has been going through some hard times, and while she knows things will work out, she’s hardened her heart a little so it doesn’t hurt as much. I thought about her face and how I saw it soften as she was in Sister Beck’s arms. Keny said that it was like something inside her softened, and I was a witness to that.
I have a testimony of the leaders of the Church; they truly are representatives of Christ. They stand in His place and share His healing love with His followers. Keny’s gift may seem small to many, but I know how much of your soul goes into something that you create and she gave a part of herself in that gift. By giving that gift she opened her heart and in returned felt an outpouring of the Savior’s love from one of His representatives that softened her broken and bruised heart. I have never felt so privileged to help one of God’s children. I pray that I might continue to be worthy to take part in serving others and see many more miracles like Keny’s miracle.