Wednesday, January 27, 2010
A Man of God
We had an unforgettable experience on Friday night. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf came to speak to the cadets at the Air Force Academy. In response to Fred's request, he not only agreed to include soldiers and spouses, but asked for a private meeting after his address. About 1200 people poured into the beautiful AF Academy chapel. Though his words were specifically focused on the cadets, the principles had universal application. It was an inspiring experience.
Then after the devotional was over, Fred led our little band of about 80 soldiers and wives down several flights of stairs to a small choir practice room. We waited patiently to have just a few minutes of personal time with this beloved apostle. About 30 minutes passed as he gradually made his way through the crowd shaking hands and greeting people as he came.
When he walked into the room a Spirit of Love descended on all of us. It was as tangible as the warmth from the furnace. We quietly listened to his message of faith, courage and charity. What we thought would be just a few minutes became an hour, then thirty minutes more until he reluctantly and slowly made his way toward the door to leave. He answered every question with profound gospel truth. He testified of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in many ways and with conviction. He communicated love in every thing he said and in the tears that welled in his eyes frequently. He expressed gratitude for the sacrifices the Army families make, and assured them that their cause was of the utmost importance. Although he was compassionate concerning their heavy burden, he did not dwell on the hardship. Instead he gave them practical and inspiring ideas about how to bear their burden.
He was sincerely reluctant to leave and we were reluctant to have him leave. We are so incredibly grateful for his attention to and love for these soldiers and their families. As we ended a very long evening, I felt as though I had been sitting at the feet of the Savior. In many ways it is true. For we sat at the feet of an Apostle filled with the Savior's love. What a joy, a privilege, and an amazing blessing. This will ever be one of the choicest experiences of my life.