Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A word from the Editor...

I'm Sara Oblad, Abbie's oldest sibling, favorite sister, and the Chief Editor of her blog.  She asked me to include the following story that I shared with her this week in my weekly email to her:

*names have been changed to protect private lives
**sorry for so much detail included- you'll understand why if you get through the whole thing!

I am the Relief Society President in our Ward here in North Dallas in a little state called Texas!  As anyone with a leadership calling would know, there usually is a long list of members who are inactive and not easy to find.  About a year ago, I was going through this list trying to find inactive members on Facebook because they either didn't have a phone number listed or didn't have a current address.  I came across a woman's name, *Andrea York.  I looked her up on Facebook, found a woman who looked to be about her age with that name and sent her a message.  She responded 4 days later and said she was a member but hadn't been to church in years.  She mentioned her daughter who used to go to the church in the next town over.  She was very sweet and we messaged back and forth for a few minutes.  Andrea said she had moved from the address I had listed and gave me a new address of where she was currently living.  I sent her new address to the Membership Clerk and he sent her records to the ward she was supposed to be in.  I thought I probably wouldn't hear from her again.

Nearly one year later, just a couple of months ago, our ward received the records for an Andrea York again with the same address as before in our town.  I sent her a message again asking if she had moved back to Little Elm where we live.  She said she had not moved and was still at the address she had given me last year.  I thought that was odd so I apologized for bothering her again and sent the info once again to our Membership Clerk who sent the records out again and didn't think much more about the situation.

Last week, I was tagged in a post on Facebook in a group called "Ladies of Little Elm," which has 6,000 members from my town and neighboring towns on it.  I went to the post where I was tagged.  A woman named *Sharon was asking if anyone in the group belonged to the Little Elm 1st Ward.  A friend of mine who used to be in my ward responded and tagged me in her post.  Sharon said she was trying to get in contact with the missionaries and wanted to start attending the Little Elm 1st Ward.  Sharon then thanked my friend, Michelle, for tagging me because I had contacted her mother awhile ago but Sharon wasn't able to get a hold of me. A bunch of other sisters in my ward responded to her post as well introducing themselves.  I sent Sharon a private message, thinking she was a member who had just moved to the area and was wondering about our ward.  I found out her mom was Andrea and that Sharon was not a member!  We talked for a bit and Sharon said she was planning on moving in with her mom soon so I figured out which ward her mom was in with the new address Andrea had given me.  I contacted our missionaries to find out the contact info for the missionaries in her mom's ward.  Our ward's missionaries said that Andrea's ward, Frisco 1st Ward's missionary was staying with them until he got a new companion!  It was so random because Frisco 1st Ward is in another Stake!  So I gave them Sharon's number and asked the Frisco 1st Ward's missionary to contact her as soon as he could!  I was wondering how to get a hold of the Relief Society President for Frisco 1st Ward because they are in a different Stake and I didn't have that information as readily available.

In the meantime, Sharon posted on that same Facebook post saying that she actually wasn't in Little Elm 1st Ward but would be going to Frisco 1st Ward instead.  Not long after she had posted that, another woman said she had just moved from that ward and had loved it so much and was sad to leave.  I then sent her a message and asked her for the Relief Society President's information so I could tell her about Andrea and Sharon.  Within minutes I had her information and was texting with her about these wonderful ladies that were in her ward.  She said she had received Andrea's records that week and was planning on visiting her!

I made plans with Sharon to meet me and some other sisters from church at the park the next day with her 2 year old son (this was just yesterday- Abbie's P-day).  After talking with her for a bit, she opened up and said that she was separated from her husband at the moment.  She said he had been in the Navy and was put in prison for 2 years for some misconduct and was released in January.  He was now living in Corpus Christi while he was on probation until September.  She and her son went down over Easter weekend to be with him.  She suggested they go to a church while she was there.  During their whole relationship he has been atheist or agnostic but found God while serving his prison sentence  When she suggested church he said he had been going to a church for a few months but didn't want to tell her the name.  He said it was a different kind of church.  He said they meet for 3 hours.  He finally told her it was the Mormon Church!  She was shocked because as a teenager she had studied with the missionaries and was wanting to get baptized but never went through with it.  She told him that and he was surprised by it too.  As she was telling me the details of her story, I began wondering if there was somehow a connection with Abbie.  I asked what her husband's name was and which ward he was attending.  She said *Drew attending the Robstown Ward, which is very near to Corpus Christi.  I logged that in my brain and planned to email Abbie about him.  We had a great visit and made plans to see each other again.

I got home from the park and emailed Abbie right away.  She hadn't emailed for the day yet so I was hoping we could email back and forth for a few minutes.  She emailed me back within just a few minutes of my email and said SHE KNEW HIM!  She said that Robstown Ward was the ward she had just come from (I must have missed that detail in previous emails- ha ha!) and that Drew's missionaries were Sister Eggett and Sister Stanfil with whom Abbie was roommates and good friends!  Abbie had been to his house for dinner and he had come with them for teaching appointments.  She said he was wanting to be baptized but had to wait until his probation is over in September.  We emailed back and forth about it for a few minutes and she asked me to include this story on her blog.  Stay tuned to how this story may end....

I have been so touched as to the way the Lord is in the details of our lives.  I have been praying and fasting for missionary opportunities and being an instrument in His hands and he is using me!  It brings so much joy to be a part of someone's life as they accept the Gospel and are eager to embrace it.  I feel so lucky to have been able to make this extremely random connection between myself and my little sister serving a mission.  What a privilege!

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