Sunday, February 7, 2016

My New Calling

Before you all get excited that Rita has posted a new blog post, I’ll spoil it for you and let you know that this is her husband this time around.  Like many of you, I’m a big fan of Rita’s blog posts and realize that I can never be as eloquent as she is with words.  However, I’ve felt strongly over the past while that I needed to write down my experiences with adopting our daughter, and a few things happened to me today that solidified my resolve to document my feelings and my experiences.

Nearly seven years ago I was called to the stake young men’s presidency, accepting the new calling with a level of frustration and a heavy heart.  You see, I poured my heart and soul into the young men’s program in my own ward, and now I was being torn away.  It was with great difficulty that I accepted the call, but determined to see the silver lining, I realized that now I would be able to have a greater level of influence as I could work to ensure that the other eight wards in my stake had trained leaders, and programs that would help mold and build great young men.  I’ve served as the stake young men’s president for the past three years, but today, I was released.  I asked to be released, and as I listened to the new members of the stake young men’s presidency, my heart sank.  They had just called a young men’s leader from my own ward to be the new first counselor.  A leader who was dedicated to scouting, loved the young men in our ward, and who I wanted desperately to lead my own boys who are now just entering the program.  My heart was heavy laden, and I only became more saddened with feelings of guilt as I realized that because I had asked to be released, this man was now going through what I once did.  I began to second guess the clarity I had felt prompting my request to be released.  I became more saddened and hurt when good friends approached me during church and made comments like, ‘I bet your glad to be released from that prison’, ‘I see you’re all smiles while we’re all sad and angry that they just took our best scout leader’.  Even the newly called man indicated that he was not happy that he had been taken away from our ward.  For the next hour, I sat quietly weeping internally because I felt like my decision to be released from my calling as the stake young men’s president had angered and frustrated many of my friends.

I didn’t want to be released.  I loved my calling.  Over the past seven years, I’d poured my time, talents, and energy into the young men’s programs of my stake.  As I pondered this with increasingly heavy heart, I was comforted by the Spirit of the Lord as it spoke to my mind and gave me clarity.  It told me that I had accepted a new calling.  With complete clarity, my mind recalled all of the wonderful blessings that the Lord has given me and my family over the past year in preparation for our adoption, which is set to finalize in just a few weeks.  The Lord provided a way for us to build our wonderful home.  Rita was offered a part-time job as a school nurse that has a flexible work schedule, daycare option, and advisor that had recently returned from China after teaching English to Chinese students for two years. We were blessed to raise the funds necessary for all of the adoption expenses up until the last month, and as an answer to a sincere prayer and a family fast, an anonymous donor offered to fund the rest.  Just this past weekend Rita ran into my cousin at the store. After approaching Rita saying that she had felt prompted to speak with her, she explained that her husband had served his mission in Taiwan and is fluent in Mandarin.  He had just finished helping missionaries teach two recent converts the missionary discussions and wanted to help do the same for our daughter after she was home, something that we had been praying that we would be able to do with her, but weren’t sure how we would do it.

Then my mind went to the experience I had when we were looking for the right child to adopt after feeling inspired that we should do so.  Rita had searched and combed through hundreds of children’s profiles trying to ‘feel’ which child would be right for us.  Every time she thought she had found ‘the one’ I simply did not feel that same connection.  I began to wonder if something was wrong with me.  Why couldn’t I feel the same way?  I had reserved myself to think that the time was just not right, and I had tried to convince Rita of the same.  Then, out of the blue, Rita sent me the profile of a 10-year old girl.  I read her profile and felt good for the first time, but still unsure if she was the one.  That night I prayed, like so many nights before, that I would know and receive a confirmation that this girl was to be our daughter.  The next day as I sat in a meeting at work, my mind totally affixed on work related things, my mind became completely clear and I was miraculously blessed to have a witness, beyond any doubt, that she was to be my daughter.

As the church meeting closed, my heart was still heavy with the thoughts of what asking to be released from my calling had done to our ward and my friends.  But I had received a re-affirmation that I had been issued a new calling.  A calling to be the father to an abandoned now 11-year old orphan girl living on the other side of the world.  I had been issued this calling over a year ago, but the moment had just arrived that I needed to devote my time, talents, and energy into my family as I had done with my previous calling.  There is no doubt in my mind that we didn’t simply choose to adopt, we have been chosen to adopt, and the miracles that have happened in my life over the past year are a testament to that.  I know that the Lord is at the helm of my life, and I know that our ward will be blessed by this man’s acceptance of his new calling in the stake young men’s presidency.  If only we could see the results before we are asked to have faith…but that’s not part of the Plan.  In the meantime, I’ll pray for the leaders of our ward, and continue to have faith that those whom God calls He qualifies.  This is my testimony.



Cher said...

i loved this. i think it was beautifully written dennis! i love thinking that our calling as a mother or a father deserves the most of our time and talents, just like we do for ward callings but even more!

Percy W Hawkes said...

Thank you Dennis for sharing these wonderful experiences that have lead up to adopting our next grand daughter.