Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Be Not Offended

WEDNESDAY – April 20

On Wednesday afternoon we met with the Stake Presidency for the Apia Central Stake.  This Stake was created in December 2013 and the current presidency has been in since December 2014. 
                      2nd Counselor Lawrence L. Fuimaono  , President H. Jason Joseph,  1st Counselor Penisini O. Vaiaoga

President Joseph is the manager over translation services for Samoa, so his office is right on the campus where the service center is.   This made it very convenient  to meet with him and his counselors there.  We had a good meeting that we definitely felt the Spirit guiding.

Next we went over to the service center to check our emails and touch base with Mike Higgins, our manager back in Auckland. The whole island of Upolu has metered internet service that is quite expensive so we only had 2 gigs available at the house where we were staying.  That was exhausted pretty quickly.  We were glad we had the option of using one of the office work stations to take care of business.

When we got into onto our work email, Larry learned that the recent order for new computers coming to Samoa to replace older models in Family History Centers would all be coming unimaged. There had been a lot of back and forth emails about this earlier. He had thought this issue had been resolved so that the machines would be sent loaded and ready to go. That was true for the ones being ordered for FHC's in New Zealand. For some reason, however, the ones coming to the islands were a different story.  Knowing it takes HOURS to install the image onto new computers, and that there are limited resources for technical expertise in many regions, Larry was quite frustrated by the whole situation.  Of all the different responsibilities we have as family history missionaries, the most difficult part for him has been the ordering system for equipment.  So when this order was not going out the way he had expected it to, he got more than a little aggravated.  The look on his face reminded me of a cartoon character getting upset with smoke coming out of their ears.  

 While he was not upset with me, he got quite cross just because of the situation.  Some of that spilled over to me as he said something rather abrupt, which was completely out of character for him.  Larry Bennett is one of the kindest, most respectful people I know.  So his words really stunned me.

For just a minute after my sweet husband's harsh words, I  sat silently recognizing that how I chose to respond could set the tone for how we would cope with stressful situations going forward on that trip and beyond. I recalled Elder Bednar’s talk about choosing not to take offense from 2006 General Conference.  That was such a powerful talk!  My favorite part of it is when he said:

it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else”

Thinking about that talk in this situation helped me remain calm and recognize that my sweet husband’s harshness had nothing at all to do with me.  It was just his frustration over the situation.  Knowing there was no way I was going to be able to help him resolve it, I opted to walk back to the house and give him some space to deal with the problem in his own way on his own time.  I did not flounce off in a huff.  I simply told him I knew he was having a hard time with this and I hoped he could get it figured out.  I assured him it would all work out.

Larry finished the work he needed to do and then came back to the house a short time later. By then he had calmed down.   We talked it through and were able to get back on track with what we needed to do and the spirit we wanted to have with us.    

This experience was a good reminder to me of the absolute necessity of staying close to the spirit to help us remain united in our companionship regardless of what problems may come our way.

Being together 24/7 for two years could be a challenge for some couples.  For us, it has been great.  We've always had a good marriage based on kindness and mutual respect.  During this mission, however, there has been an amazing outpouring of increased tenderness and intimacy.  We've both felt so much love.  Still, there are times when we could choose to get our feelings hurt or to be annoyed with the other.  We are human.  I am so grateful for the teachings of an apostle of the Lord to help me know that I have the agency to make a better choice.

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