Dear friends and family,
Although we had another idea for our blog this week, the unexpected passing of a dear friend in our mission has overshadowed our previous plan. Just this Sunday a small part of a speaker’s message was on being prepared. She mentioned a recent funeral that she attended and how passing to from this life was compared to a “Come As You Are Party.” When the time comes we all go as we are, ready or not. At the time, although she said nothing that I had not heard before, I found myself profoundly moved by her message. I reflected on my preparations and the lack of urgency that we are lulled into as we go from day to day; always expecting another tomorrow. With the sudden passing of our energetic and vibrant friend I was reminded how little guarantee we have of any tomorrows.
In recent months we have spent time with Elder & Sister S. getting to know and love them. Together we went to Plovdiv to see the Roman ruins, we visited Mt Vitosha and rode a chair lift to the top for spectacular views of the city. Recently they introduced us to a local restaurant which serves American style burgers, fries, shakes and onion rings. We, in turn, took them to The Architect Restaurant for the best steak they had enjoyed in a year. Many more plans were in the works to explore the city and country during the remaining time we were to be in Bulgaria.
Our dear friends received joyful news several weeks ago that their son and his wife were to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity and desperately wanted them to attend. After checking with the mission president they made arrangements to return to the States for the event, arriving just in time for Thanksgiving. How excited they were!
Even when we receive our invitation to this “Come As You Are Party” we are blessed with many of the Lord’s tender mercies. Our dear friend passed peacefully in his sleep after a wonderful visit with family and friends as well as witnessing the sealing of his son and wife. What a tender mercy! To be close to family is a comfort for the stunned and grieving widow, rather than in a distant land. A son who is working in Bulgaria can handle the details on this end for his mom. These are just a few of the tender mercies.
There is no good time to lose the companionship of a loved one; but what better time to go than when you are anxiously engaged in serving the Lord to strengthen his children? We know that he has been ‘transferred’ to serve another mission on the other side. Although he was not ready to leave this life, he was prepared to go on to the ‘Party’ ahead of us. Through our Savior and the atonement that He provided we have hope for a happy reunion and a bright eternity. We will miss our beloved friend, but look forward to seeing him again someday!
Elder and Sister Segeberg