Hope, Hand Sanitizer, and Missionary Life during a Global Pandemic
Location: Brazil to CA to OK
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Story Date: March 29, 2020
Hope and hand sanitizer – two things the whole world is needing right now. I don’t know where to direct you to find hand sanitizer, but I can tell you about how, on my mission, I have learned to find hope.
These past few weeks have been absolutely crazy for all of us, but I have personally had a hard time grasping it.
About 10 1/2 months ago, I was on a plane to Brazil where I planned to stay for a year and half in the city of Santos, inviting people to come unto Christ. I arrived, began learning the language, and soon found myself having opportunities to serve and to teach. I loved the people. I loved the country. I loved the experiences I was having and wrote emails home describing my love for it all.
As missionaries, we don’t know a lot about news and world events, But suddenly, about 2 months ago, I began hearing about a new virus that was killing a lot of people in China. I assumed it was far away and even asked my family “Is this Covid thing real?” They told me it was, indeed, “real,” and we talked about how to be careful, how I could wash my hands more often, and how I should listen to the counsel of my mission president. Pretty much, I assumed this was a far away thing – something that wouldn’t affect my life. Well, one month later, I found myself calling home to let my family know that I was going into quarantine. Church in Brazil was cancelled, and we missionaries were to purchase a two week supply of food and sanitation needs.
The world turned even further upside down, when, less than 24 hours later, I found myself not in quarantine, but on a plane headed from Sao Paulo back to my home in the USA. My family didn’t even know I was en route.
So much was changing so suddenly. There were feelings of uncertainty, tears, and confusion, I couldn’t say goodbye to the people I had come to love. I barely even had time to pack my things and get to the mission office. With so much turmoil, I realized I wasn’t leaving much space for hope, for the Savior’s love, or for peace. I had spent the last 10 months having people pour out their souls and problems to me and helping them to see hope and light through the gospel. But now, I was the one needing it.
Let me share one scripture that brought me hope during those crazy days. It is found in Ether 12:4 which states “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might, with surety, hope for a better world, yea even a place at the right hand of God.”
I am so grateful for the hope the gospel provides. Hand sanitizer may be nowhere to be found, but I am grateful for my testimony that there is always hope in Christ.