So, it's been busy and crazy. I apologize for being out of operation for this last week or so. First of all, I want to testify that God knows us individually, He hears our prayers, and He is in the details of our lives. He is lining things up for you and for me even as we speak, we just don't usually know about it until the end result. Then, we look back in amazement and truly can recognize His hand in all things.
Esther, a Jew, was chosen to be queen in Persia (an empire stretching from India to Ethiopia) to king Ahasuerus. His right hand man, Haman, hated the Jews because they would not bow to him and decreed that they should all be killed. Not knowing that Esther was a Jew, the king agreed to let Haman carry out this order. Was it chance that Esther, a Jew, had been chosen as queen to be in the king's court so that she would be there at the right place and the right time to save her people? Mordecai phrased it best in a letter to his cousin Esther (which he raised as "his own daughter") saying, "Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14). The Lord had lined things up perfectley for Esther to be there to save His chosen people. I don't think it was chance.
Let's go back to March 6th. CJ came to Spanish Fork to meet me as I was finishing class. We were going to go to the temple later that evening, but decided to just go right then. Luckily we had amazing friends to watch the girls who were willing to take them right away. We wanted to hit the 2:00 pm session, but made the 2:30 instead. It was a great time at the temple. April (hiring time) is just around the corner and the nerves of 'will I make it or not' were very high. I spent a lot of time thinking and praying in the temple about seminary teaching. As we left the temple an elderly woman approached us. She was wearing a crocheted beanie, a crocheted scarf and an older brown coat. She was also holding what looked like a sack lunch. She asked if we were going across town--which we weren't--since we just live down the street from the temple. I started to say, "No" and was outvoiced by my wife's answer of "Yes!" I then, lulling through my "no" added, "But we could," with a smile. We headed to the car and as CJ told this woman, Barbara, that I was trying to become a seminary teacher she said that her husband was a seminary teacher. And if that wasn't enough, she also told us that she used to be a hall advisor at the dorms, just like CJ is doing now. Coincidence...?
On the drive we learned about her family's background, where she was from, etc, and also explained who we were, our backgrounds and where we hailed from. Barbara who is now 78, although she claimed 77 saying that she wasn't going to have anymore birthdays, was very fun and an engaging conversationalist. She asked about the youth at Spanish Fork and then very matter of factly said, "Let's sing the songs of the Bible." When we finished with Malachi, she didn't miss a beat, quickly saying, "Now the New Testament." It was so fun. We were very excited to have met a new friend at the temple and glad that we could help her get back to her home. As we pulled up to her apartment building for her to get out she said, "I'll pray for you to be a seminary teacher."
March 7th, 7:10 am (the next morning). I'm in bed, but semi-conscious. I got up because I thought I heard the phone ringing. I went to check the caller id to see the name of my "pre-service" leader on it, having just called a couple of minutes earlier. I quickly called him back, wondering why he'd be calling so early. "Oh" I thought to myself, "he must be calling to confirm my next observation date." After only a matter of seconds, he asked if my wife was awake. I quickly got her and we both got to hear the offering of a full-time contract for me to teach seminary. The excitement was unbelievable. He explained why the offer was coming over a month early and told me that I would be going to Monroe, Utah to take the place of a teacher on medical leave. He explained what all would happen and what would happen the rest of the day and then that was it. I hung up the phone, turned to CJ and said, "CJ, do you remember that old lady from the temple yesterday...She was from Monroe, Utah."
That day I got observed by Bro. Vellinga (he said if I didn't do good he was taking it all back--no pressure right). I was teaching Esther. When we came to Mordecai's question I recounted this story to the class. Bro. Vellinga spoke up from the back of the class, "No, really? Was she really from Monroe?" (a valid question, what are the odds, since there are less than 2,000 people living there). He then said, "Now, what time were you at the temple?" I, caught off guard, stumbled through my memory and came up with, "From 2:30 to 4:30." He then went on to explain that he found out the day before (March 6) that they needed to hire someone. He was praying about it and trying to see who it should be. He felt good and turned in my name to the people in Salt Lake. Bro. Vellinga was in Arizona and didn't get home until around 11 pm that night. He checked his email and had received a "yes" confirmation email from Salt Lake at 4:35 pm. I don't know how He did it. But at the time that we were in the temple, and at the time we were with Barbara and she said she'd pray for me, he was in Arizona praying about it and they were in Salt Lake praying about it. I don't know how He lined it all up, but He did. We went back and found Barbara a few days later to tell her our story (only knowing where her apartment complex was, it was another miracle when she just happened to walk out of the locked complex right when we drove up). She nearly collapsed in shock and said, "I really did pray for you!" She was thrilled to show us pictures of what we know and love as Monroe, UT. I don't know why I need to be in Monroe right now, but I know I need to be there. I know that God is lining up events, people, etc. for each one of us. I pray that I'll have the trust and the confidence in Him to allow His will to be done always.