Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sister Gotze

I had the chance to go to a viewing for Filomena Gotze, who passed away last week from a stroke. She and her husband had flown to Utah from Aruba to celebrate their daughter's college graduation and visit with some of her other kids and grandkids.

As I watched the picture slideshow, what really got my attention was her eyes--they just shine in every picture. She looks so tranquil and happy with her grandkids, her kids, her husband, her church friends.

There's a different feeling at a funeral where people know about God's plan. There wasn't lots of crying, although my heart ached for her sweet husband of 40+ years. Still, her kids and husband talked about how things had worked out in a way that let them know God was mindful of them. She was able to spend time with kids and grandkids who lived in the U.S. and Spain, and visit Temple Square just before she died. Temple Square was a place she really loved.

Seeing two sisters I loved from my mission pass away recently has reminded me about the person I want to be. I'm grateful for both of their examples. I'm so grateful that families can be together eternally, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I hope I can live worthy of those blessings.

This Song is AWESOME

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sister Maylinda

Meet "Sister Maylinda."

Born in the Dominican Republic, she moved to Aruba in her younger years to marry an Aruban. I knew her because I was a missionary in Aruba for 9 months. Every Friday, she had us over for lunch. She made the best food--rice and beans, but they were THE BEST rice and beans I've ever had. She'd usually make us some kind of chicken or meat to go with it. Plus, she'd make fresh passion fruit or mango or pineapple juice. And she'd serve us a little snack-pack pudding for dessert. When we finished lunch, we'd always take our plates over to the sink. Sometimes I would absentmindedly throw the chicken bones from my plate in the trash. She hated that--she saved every scrap so she could give it to the dogs on the side of the road.

She was a very talented seamstress. She ran a successful business for years, but by the time I knew her, she mostly just did favors for people. One time I was with her when she ran into someone who remembered Maylinda from 20 years before because Maylinda had made her wedding dress. She made my companion and me skirts one time--I still remember her exclaiming how VERY WIDE my hips were when she measured me. :) (Thanks to her beans and rice, probably.)

When I went back to Aruba a year after my mission to do research, she let me stay at her house. Even though I didn't expect her to, she doted on me and fed me. She was always putting people up in the spare bedroom in her house--it wasn't just me--and I'm sure she took care of them all, too.

A couple of times as a missionary, I remember having to go through her bedroom to get to the bathroom. Her bedroom was perfectly tidy. The bed was always made. All she really had in there was a set of scriptures sitting on the stand next to her bed. It was simple and clean and focused, just like her.

Maylinda was dependable. Nearly every week, she came with us to the English class we taught, just to be there. (She already spoke fine English.)

She was a sweet grandmother. Her grandkids LOVED spending the day at her house.

She walked to the bus stop every Sunday so she could go to church.

She would respond immediately if she heard someone didn't have anything to eat, by taking them a hot meal.

I remember someone we taught as missionaries who didn't know how to read. Maylinda agreed to have the woman over every week so she could read the scriptures to her. The woman continued to walk to Maylinda's house for months after my companion and I stopped teaching her. All kinds of people felt welcome in her house.

Aruba won't be the same place now that she's gone. I'm grateful for her example, her testimony, and her constant service. Mi ta stima bo pa semper, Hermana Maylinda.


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