A year ago, when the call came to serve as Church Education System Missionaries (CES) missionaries in Charlottesville, VA, we asked ourselves what will we do? A year later we have lots of answers. Each day is different. We pray, study, teach, contact, find, encourage, transport, cook, support, and love. It seems we daily apply several of these actions to members, non-members, investigators, and missionaries. It is our mission, we look for ways to serve others, and we like what we do.
One thing we really like is getting to know members of our Young Single Adult (YSA) ward. We know lots of names and a little about each person behind the name. Often our superficial “getting to know you” comes at church or in an institute class. Better friendships come with one-on-one time. Opportunities come in a variety of ways. An offer for a ride results in a good visit in the car. An offer to buy lunch is seldom refused and we talk over food. A service project turns into more than just working together, it becomes a time to get to know someone. Some, including students, have invited us to their homes for a meal. Some of our students are excited about their employment and we have responded to the offer, “Hey, you should come and see me at work.” This week we traveled to the Ruckersville/Stanardsville area (you have to love those names) to visit Calberry Farms.
Calberry Farms is a small farm with a nice eight stall barn. It offers horseback riding lessons, custom boarding, and training for hunter/jumpers, equitation, and pleasure. It is operated by our amazing friend and YSA member J.R.
J.R. is living her dream and she is doing it in a beautiful area at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, VA on scholarship and received a degree in Economics. She has bravely enlarged her entrepreneurial spirit and turned in the direction of horses. Times are a little lean right now, but who knows, she is really good at her craft.
J.R. looks good in the saddle, but she looks even better at church. She is a faithful sister who serves others in her calling as a member of the Relief Society Presidency. She regularly attends our institute classes and we love being around her with other young adults.
With ownership of several horses in the barn she has plenty to do. In good weather each horse gets a daily workout and training. All are for sale except Cosmo, her horse for life.
When you think about it, a horse is an unusual animal. They have huge muscles and small minds . . . lots of brawn and little brain. That is a bad combination when someone wants to climb on their back, the same place a predator would be in the wild. J.R. deals with the complexities of horse psychology perfectly. She is the quintessential example of kindness and patience.
As children of our Heavenly Father people are much more than horses. We need to show kindness and patience to others, just as our Father shows kindness and patience to us, through his son Jesus Christ.
The qualities of kindness and patience are included in the Savior’s instructions to members of the church, given through the prophet Joseph Smith, in the 4th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants:
1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
7 Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.