The Kindness of Strangers

Episode #38: Published Novembert 11, 2019

Crishelle and her friends' trip through Europe is threatened by a traveler's worst nightmare until a group of Swiss sisters steps up to help; When Elisha’s newborn is hospitalized, prayers from a local Baptist church help her to keep going; After moving to the US to fulfill her dream of attending BYU, Michelle receives unexpected help in her search for a place to live; Lillie gets a second chance at a life-long goal thanks to a complete stranger.

SHOW NOTES

Today's episode was sponsored by TOFW.

Even after all their belongings were stolen, Crishelle and her three friends continued their European adventure.

Elisha with her baby. When Elisha's baby was only a few months old, he contracted RSV or a respiratory virus that left him hospitalized. 

If you want to read more from Sister Linda K. Burton's "I Was a Stranger" talk mentioned in this episode, click here.

 

Transcript

KaRyn Lay: Welcome to This Is the Gospel, an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host, KaRyn Lay. 

If you spend any amount of time reading, watching or listening to the news, you may like me, find yourself wondering, "Where is the good in this world?" I don't think that it is overstating things to say that the way that we consume media has changed and sometimes it can feel like all we're getting is the bad news. Well, a few years ago, in response to some particularly difficult or traumatic time, there was this meme that started to make the rounds on social media. Maybe you'll remember it. It had this picture of Mr. Rogers from "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood," looking as kind and as thoughtful as he ever had. And it said, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.'" While this quote was specific to helping our children process traumatic events in the news, and was meant to be part of a larger conversation, I was moved by the reminder that in times of darkness, we can find the light if we open our eyes to see it. The helpers. Look for the helpers. 

Well, today we have four short and sweet stories about those moments when the helpers show up. Moments when our collective kindness trumps our fear or discomfort and offers us opportunities to show God's love to someone we might not know. Our first story comes from Chrishelle. You may remember Chris shell from one of our earlier episodes, she has such a unique name. It was called "The Strength to Forgive." And in that episode, she shared a lovely story about the power of forgiveness to heal us. Well, this time she has a story about a different kind of spiritual adventure. One where she had to accept the kindness of strangers when she was traveling in a foreign land here is Crishelle

2:00  
Crishelle: After I graduated from college, I had an opportunity to join two of my friends that I had worked with through college, to go to Europe. And we were going to be gone for a whole month. And what was really awesome about this trip is we were going to travel all through Europe and see all of these amazing things that we'd all wanted to see. But we were also going to get to do some work with the refugees. My friend's sister worked for a refugee organization in Greece, and we had the opportunity to take supplies over to them and to spend some time just meeting some of the families that they'd been working with. It was so humbling to meet these families that had lost everything and to sit with them as they told us about their story and as they told us about their lives in Greece. And they told us how they were waiting to hear if they could join family and loved ones in other parts of Europe and throughout the world. It was just really a beautiful experience, so humbling and truly wonderful. Probably the highlight of the trip.

Because we were taking these supplies over, it worked best to rent a car and to take our luggage around that way. That way we weren't checking bags all the time. And so we traveled through Europe in a car and it was such an adventure. We left Greece and went to Italy. And we decided to spend three days in Rome seeing everything we possibly could and it was so fun. We ate tons of gelato, we saw everything we possibly could. And our last day in Rome, we packed up our stuff to leave our hostel. And I had this thought while we were packing up, "Maybe we should leave our stuff at the hostel." And then I was like, No, that's silly. That will take so much time to come back. Like, let's just pack our stuff up. We'll go to the Vatican will be super smart about where we park, we'll make sure that it's not a sketchy area and it will be fine. Everything will be fine. And so we packed up all our stuff in our car and we drove to the Vatican and we drove around the Vatican a couple of times just to find the safest parking spot. And we did, we found one right next to the Vatican police and the Italian military were across the street. And while we were parking couple policemen drove by. And maybe that should have been a sign, but we took it as like, you know, heaven-sent, we're like "Oh, we'll totally be good. Everything will be wonderful. Let's run in and toward the Vatican." And we went and saw the Sistine Chapel, which was as beautiful as I imagined and St. Peter's Basilica. I am still blown away as I remember how big and grand that cathedral is. We were feeling a little anxious so we quickly left after our tour was over and we came back to our car and as we turned the corner, something felt off. We like hesitantly approached our car and as we did, we noticed that one of the little windows had been broken.

Everything was gone. Everything. They'd taken all of our luggage, and all we had left was what we were carrying. That meant that one of my friends lost her passport. We lost laptops, I lost my retainer, which is so silly, but that was the worst thing ever because it's just gonna be sitting in a dumpster somewhere like that doesn't even matter to anyone. And it was so heartbreaking. In the moment, we lost everything. And we had no friends in this area, we had no one to reach out to, we couldn't just like call our parents. It was earth-shattering. It was one of those moments where like, please tell me that this is a joke. Unfortunately, it wasn't. We were so grateful that it wasn't like our lives or anything worse than that, but this was pretty tragic for us. We still had two and a half weeks of this trip. And we now just have what we're carrying. And so we prayed, we went and asked the Vatican police and they told us, "No, we don't help with those kinds of things." We went and asked the military guys across the street and they're like, "No, we don't speak English." And we found the police station and they weren't the most helpful or kind. And it was really hard. And we felt so lost and we felt so alone.

Being robbed, I didn't think that it would be such a violating experience, but I felt so violated. I felt so vulnerable because these things that I had brought in order to take care of myself were now gone. We regrouped, we tried to go to the embassy, we weren't able to get to the embassy that day. And then we decided you know what, the most important thing for us to do right now is to go get some gelato, and to buy some toothpaste, and three toothbrushes and to leave Rome. We need to just leave Rome and we'll figure everything else out tomorrow. And so we did that. We went and got our gelato, and we found a pharmacy that thankfully somehow had the contacts that my friend needed. It was such a miracle, just the exact right prescription for her. And we left, we left Rome behind us. We traveled up to northern Italy and spent a couple of days up there. And it was Baptism by fire in minimalism. We went from having everything we possibly needed to, we were washing our clothes every night. It was such an adventure. Just that time it was just so funny, it was like the joke is always on us because we lost everything and it's okay, we were making it work. We eventually left Italy and we went up to Switzerland and we were getting to Switzerland on a Sunday. We had been planning on camping in Switzerland, but all of our stuff had been stolen, so that plan was out the window. We thankfully were able to make some arrangements for sleeping. Mostly, we were just determined to continue on and to have a good time. We went to a farmer's market and got little dresses and skirts super cheap. And I'm sure we looked like bums and stuck out like sore thumbs. And we went to church the next day. After sacrament, the Relief Society president came up to us and she said, "Are you the girls that got robbed?" And we were like, "Yeah, we did. We are those girls." We'd reported it and told her story on social media, mostly in like joking terms of we got robbed and Joke's on us, but we're still having the best time. As the Relief Society president explained, she had heard about us. She'd heard that we were coming and that we were planning on coming to church. And she had asked all of the women in her ward of early society to bring their extra clothes that they're getting rid of, and to bring anything that three girls traveling through Europe that didn't have anything might need. And she took us into this room and there were piles of clothes, and a suitcase and shoes and socks. Switzerland was a bit chillier than everywhere else we'd been. And we didn't have our jackets and coats like we'd packed. And she said, "This is for you girls, take what you need." It was really difficult to receive it. Our first reaction was to be like, "No, we don't need this." Somewhere in my head, and looking back, it was probably the spirit reminded me that often the greatest gift we can give to people is to receive the help that they're offering. And I just looked her in the eyes and I said, "Thank you." And it was so humbling. And in that moment, I also thought of the refugees that we had seen and I remembered how difficult it was for them to receive the help that they so desperately needed. And in no way were we refugees, in no way were we in the same situation as those refugees, but I really felt for them. Because I was now in this position where I didn't have very much, and people were offering to give me things and to give me the things that I needed in order to continue on in my journey, and it was difficult to receive it. And I feel like that is so much of what the gospel is about. The gospel of Jesus Christ, we all stand in need. We all stand in need so desperately of our Savior and sometimes it's so hard to receive that help. We are all strangers, I was a stranger and they took me in. We are all strangers, and he takes us in and that is what the gospel is about.

11:06  
KaRyn Lay: That was Crishelle. I've been trying all week to find a way to talk about the nuances of our theme, "The Kindness of Strangers." And I think I just realized that Chrishelle story does it for me. The reality is that there are strangers on both sides of each of these stories. Yes, it was a group of strangers in Switzerland who were kind to these weary travelers. But those weary travelers were also strangers to the women of that Relief Society. How easy it might have been for them to view them and their struggles as none of their business. I mean, they were definitely foreigners and absolutely unknown to the women who helped them. But those Swiss sisters took their call as disciples seriously, and chose instead to see Chrishelle and her friends as sisters, and what a difference that made to all of the people in this story. That idea of a stranger is, in some ways, a construct that we can use to separate and divide us. But the gospel of Jesus Christ asks us to question that construct, to redefine the word "stranger," where possible, and to see one another with new eyes. 

Our next story comes from Alicia who saw firsthand the power of the kindness of strangers when her family needed it most. Here's Elisha.

12:23  
Elisha: I've always known that God doesn't leave us alone in our time of need, but I really came to know this several years ago. Our son Cooper was born on November 8, 2007. When he was about three weeks old, we took him to church to be blessed. We had family in town, and it was the Sunday that worked for us. And so as we sat down at church, a sister who was sitting behind us, and who was a nurse, mentioned that I really shouldn't be bringing him out during RSV season. I honestly didn't really know what RSV was, didn't know how you could get it. We live in the south and we don't really have harsh winters and so it's just not something that I really knew that much about. And I thought she was well-meaning, but honestly, I just didn't think too much about it. And so I turned back around and we had the beautiful baby blessing and I packed up things and we all went home right after sacrament meeting to avoid him coming into contact with anyone who's sick. A really dear sister in our ward took the time to write down the blessing on paper and give it to me, which was really a special thing. I'd never had a written copy of any of our baby blessings before. And I read through it and I loved some of the words that were on it. One of the things in the blessing said, "We bless you with health and strength necessary to fulfill your role and your mission, and that his spirit might warm the lives of those that he will come in contact with." Of course, I thought this was a really neat blessing and I set the paper aside and kind of went on with my week. Just a couple of days later, I noticed in the evening that Cooper's breathing seemed kind of labored. We called her pediatrician who assured us that everything was probably fine and that if we were still concerned in the morning, we could bring him in. And so as a new mother, I was in and out of his bedroom for several hours and I couldn't stop the worry. And at one point, it became evident to me that he was really not doing okay. And I prayed because I didn't know what to do. And in that moment, I heard that voice say, "This is RSV. He needs to get to the hospital." So I went into our bedroom and I woke my husband up and I called my parents to come and stay with our other children. And we went straight to the hospital. 

And when we got there, the hospital staff that was attending to our son said that he probably would not have survived much longer had we not gotten him in to be seen. His pulse oxygen level was really low and his breathing was extremely distressed. One of the ER nurses asked my husband and I how long it had been since we'd eaten last and at this point, it was probably five o'clock in the morning and we both were, you know, saying, "Of course, we haven't eaten anything overnight." And so she disappeared for a moment and then she came back with a styrofoam container from the cafeteria with a biscuit and eggs and bacon and just all the things to make a breakfast sandwich. And we were so touched by the kindness that she would go and do this for us. It did turn out that our son was very sick, and he was in the hospital and eventually moved into the ICU. And it was a really trying time in our lives. The words to that blessing came back to me and I just kept thinking about what a blessing it was that not only did he have that blessing, but that it had been typed out for me and that I could take some comfort in the fact that he would be in good health at some point. Throughout that time, we had so many kindnesses from others. One of our nurses saw that I hadn't left the room in quite a long time and came and said, "I will sit with him. Please, go take a moment for yourself. Go take a shower, go downstairs, go walk around outside." And she ensured that I would actually leave that hospital room for a few minutes from time to time. We also, at the time, had our two older children in a little Baptist preschool near our home, which we loved. And we love the people, they were so kind. But one morning, my husband was taking our two older kids to preschool to drop them off and then to come and be with me at the hospital. And as he pulled into the carpool line, a couple of the ladies came out and opened the door and said, "Let us take your kids right now, even though it's early, it's 15 or 20 minutes early. We will take them so you can get on your way and be with your wife." And we were so touched. And then they mentioned that in their prayer circle, they'd been praying for us all week. Another sister brought a bag of healthy snacks and some things to read and do to the hospital and dropped them off and it really touched us. We really felt the love of those around us working to do his work for us. I can't think back on that experience without becoming tearful and realizing how much we were loved and cared for by those around us, and how much our every need that I hadn't even had a chance to express, was met by those around us. I'm not a person who likes to ask for help and I just found that I really never even needed to because people picked up on things that we needed, and they did them for us without us even asking. Today, Cooper is an 11-year-old and he just received the Aaronic Priesthood. Several weeks ago, I was sitting in sacrament meeting and I watched as he was passing the sacrament, and I was overcome with emotion and the realization that he has been completely healed. He did live a lot of years with some episodes that happened with flaring up and breathing issues, but he has outgrown that. And he plays basketball and he swims and he's an athletic kid, and he does bring light into everyone's life. And it just makes me realize how much God is in the details of our lives. He knows what we're going through, He knows who we are, and He's there for us.

18:19  
KaRyn Lay: That was Elisha. I love the image of that Baptist prayer circle praying for her family, women, and men linked together to use their collective faith to bless someone they barely know, or perhaps didn't know at all. I am positive that God hears the prayers of those close to us who know the ins and outs of our hearts. But I imagine that he finds deep joy in watching his children extend themselves beyond their inner circle, even if it's only in prayer. Our next storyteller, Michelle, shares her difficult first days as a true foreigner in a new land. Here's Michelle.

18:56
Michelle: So when I was about 12-years-old, I decided that I want to attend BYU. The catch for me was that I lived in Tasmania, Australia. So it was not anywhere close to me, it was across the other side of the world. So after many, many years of planning and saving when I was 19, I left for BYU. And I honestly was just a terrible mess, I was an emotional disaster. It was just really, really overwhelming. And I think part of it was just being away from home for the first time, but also being in a whole new country. I remember before my plane took off, I was just sobbing in my seat. And basically the whole entire plane ride I cried. And this was like 24 hours of flying and traveling. My first night there, I remember I went down to—we were at a hotel—and I went down to a payphone to call my mom with a calling card that I had. And as I was trying to just dial the numbers, my hands were shaking, and I could not get my calling card to work. So I ended up just calling her collect. And I was just sobbing that whole entire phone call, I could not even speak really. It was just being kind of like make noises to her to confirm what she was saying. I stayed with a cousin for a little bit while I was trying to work out what my next steps were. So I didn't have anywhere to live, and I didn't want to live on campus, mainly because I was worried about feeling really old in the dorms. I had learned from other people I had talked to that most people lived off-campus after their freshman year. So I had planned on just finding an apartment off-campus. And so I wanted to get a feel for what they were like, so I'd walk the streets of Provo and I would walk around and I would just stop people that I saw that looked like they lived in a certain place and asked them questions about the complex and if they liked it. I actually went and looked at quite a few different apartments and one of them I remember I walked into the bathroom and it looked like a public restroom. It had little stalls in cubicles and concrete floors. And I was like, "Is this where I'm going to have to live? I don't understand." And then this other one, I stopped at a house and there were some girls that lived in the house. And then they said, "We don't have any room up here, but downstairs, check with them." So I went down, and it was a basement apartment, and there was just this older lady that lived there and honestly, it was very creepy. It was very small, it was like a wire, creaky bed. I remember feeling like, "I have to get out of here."

So I had stopped quite a few different people at different places. And I met a girl from Texas, and she was really, really kind to me and she answered all my questions. And then she said, "I'll give you the phone number for the apartment." And I was like, "Oh, I actually don't have a phone so I can't call right now." And she's like, "You don't have a phone?" And so we started talking about that and then she offered to take me to the store to get a phone. And I was sort of amazed that this stranger would just completely offer to take me. She didn't know who I was, I could have been a crazy person for all she knew. She went and grabbed a friend to come with us. And right before we went and got in the car, I tripped and I hurt my toe. And I didn't look down, I sort of just was like, "It's fine, it's just fine." And instead, I could feel my whole foot—my whole shoe was like sticking to my foot and it was warm and I was like, "Oh, no." And they looked down and she's like, "Your foot is bleeding." And I was like, "I know and I didn't want to say anything." And so she got out a water bottle and she washed my foot for me. And then, she didn't just take me to one store and drop me off and just say, "Okay, here you go. Good luck!" She drove me around to three different stores, different phone carriers, and then we went to Walmart and I got different supplies I needed there, and this was a huge chunk of time, this wasn't like 15 minutes of her time. This took a couple of hours probably. She just really went out of her way to help me—someone that was a complete stranger I had never met her before.

What's funny is the phone never actually helped me find the apartment that I went and lived in. I found my apartment by walking the streets and talking to someone else. I did eventually find one that way, which is funny to me now. But it definitely, what it did do is I was able to talk to my family. Because previous to this, I'd been using payphones to call them. And I would go up to campus and I would use my email and I would just email them. So having the phone helped me to be able to communicate with my family, which is something that I really needed in that moment because I was just so homesick and overwhelmed. It really made a difference for me to stop being like okay, I can handle this and then when I call my mom at like, five o'clock, then I'll be able to tell her all these things. And it really, she really helped me to be able to adjust and like, tell me "You can do it, it's going to be okay." And I think without that encouragement, and without that connection to home, I don't know if I would have lasted as long as I did. I ended up staying for a full year in the end. At first it was like, let's just take the first step, I'll stay through the end of the summer. And then I ended up loving it so much, and it all ended up so well, that I ended up staying for the full year. I actually met my husband and then we started dating and we got married the following year. So then I stayed forever. 

This experience to me always has reminded me of how our Heavenly Father uses other people to answer our prayers, and how, through this complete stranger, my prayers were answered in a way I didn't expect. At the time I was just invested in finding somewhere to live and taking care of that part of my life, I think. And He could see the big picture and see that I needed a little help in maybe other ways also. I think it can be easy when we get busy with our lives to just sort of see needs and just sort of brush them off and be like, "They're going to be fine. It's gonna be fine." She could have very easily said to me, like, "Oh, good luck! I hope that you get everything sorted." Which is what most everyone that I stopped, said to me and there was nothing wrong with that. They were very kind people also, but she went above and beyond. And I think for me, it's always been a reminder that that is important. I should be always looking for chances that I can to go above and beyond and help those and serve those willingly, to hopefully help them in the same way that I was helped.

26:20  
KaRyn Lay: That was Michelle. My husband Justin has always loved this quote from Spencer W. Kimball, "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs." We have it on a huge magnet on our refrigerator. And I've often thought about how interesting it is, that quote means different things to me at different times in my life. Sometimes I read it, and it reminds me to look. To see God and the kindness of others. And sometimes when I read it, it reminds me to do. To go and to be the hands of God for others. And I think Michelle's story is a perfect example of the wisdom of that duality. It's really okay for that quote to mean different things to me at different points in my life. Sometimes it really is all we can do to notice God and the goodness of others. But, when the Spirit speaks to us to move, to do, to act, we can be ready and willing. 

Our final story today comes from Lillie. Lillie and her family are currently living in Paraguay, so the quality of the sound is a little bit different than all the other stories in this week's episode. It's a great story about that small moment when somebody, a total stranger, stood up for her in a time when it really mattered.

27:39
Lillie: I think I always wanted to be a singer, kind of secretly. But I kind of wanted it to be like somebody would discover me or something and just think I was so great. But I didn't like to put myself out there. Anyway, so I actually auditioned for all the choirs at Ricks College, which is now BYU Idaho. And it turns out, in our church culture, everyone sings. They grow up singing you know, in primary everyone sings and it's very competitive to get into the choirs at Ricks at that time. So anyway, I auditioned for all of them, I did not get into any of them. Except I did get into the girl's chorus which has about 200 girls in it. I mean it's huge. I mean it's just like an auditorium filled with girls. And I didn't know anyone in there, but I was happy at least that I got to sing and that I got be in a choir.

And our choir Professor chose a song for our choir to sing and I just loved it, I loved the song right away and it had about four small solo parts in the song. And the teacher announced that there would be tryouts the next week or so and we just needed to sign up and go to his office to audition. So you know, I got that feeling in my stomach like, "I think I want to do that. I think I want to audition for that." So I did it, I signed up, and I went to go audition for one of the solos. And I was pretty nervous but I went in and I don't know how I somehow got the part and was super excited. I felt, you know, validated like "See I am a good singer." I felt like that was kind of proving it to me. We get into class and this song comes up in the rehearsal. So I knew, "Okay, I'm gonna sing my solo in front of all these girls and probably half of them tried out for the song." You know, and I started to feel nervous like they were going to judge me if I wasn't good enough and then I felt nervous that may be that I would mess up. I was the third soloist during the song. We started singing the song, the other girls did great. Maybe that made me nervous hearing how good they were, you know. It came to my turn, I start singing and I knew right away that it wasn't that great. It didn't come out very well. I think I was trying to be loud you know in this room full of girls, I tried to maybe project, I didn't have the support I needed and it was terrible. And I was super embarrassed and the teacher says, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, that's not good. That's not good. Let's try it again." So I had to do my part again. And when I did it again, it was no better, it was really bad. And he says, "That's not going to work at all. Can somebody else..." You know, he was kind of looking for someone else to do the part right there in front of everyone. It was super awkward, all the girls were sitting there and maybe some of them were like, "Yes, maybe I'll get the solo because she couldn't do it. And it also went through my head how much I'm sure all these girls are thinking, "Yeah, I could do a lot better. Why did she get the solo? Right? I just sat there, I was so embarrassed. And it's like all the negative self-talk's coming out. You know? "You really aren't that great. You really aren't a singer. What are you thinking?" I just felt—I actually was nervous that I was going to start crying in front of all these girls and like kind of make a scene so I was trying to, you know, just really really quiet, just really kind of holding it in. I wanted to leave and it came through my head like, "I'm not gonna audition for stuff anymore. This is so humiliating.

Just as I was in the depths of my negative self talk, out of nowhere, this girl says, "Give her a chance! She can do it, she can do it. Give her a chance, she's got this." The truth is, at that point, I didn't even think—I didn't believe in myself. But this random girl who did not know me, she was not like my friend sticking up with for me, she had no idea if I could actually do it. She stood up for me and he listened to her. And I got to keep the solo. I don't even know her name, I don't think we ever spoke. But because she believed in me, I was able to get another chance. And I worked hard on that solo. After I did the solo, I specifically remember, it felt really good. It was just this honest, like, I'm just going to do my best. And I sang the solo there in that cool concert hall that had awesome acoustics there at Ricks. And I had a couple of people come up to me and say, "You have a very unique voice. I really enjoyed that." So I think that I had something to give though it wasn't like, I'm not the best, but I had my unique thing to give. I've taught in the primary for many years off and on and I use this story a lot, mainly cause stories help the kids listen. But, I use this story a lot to help them think about the kind of person that they want to be in different social situations when we see someone that is in a vulnerable place, or who maybe needs a friend, needs someone to stick up for them when nobody else well. I always say, "Be like this girl. She went to bat for me and she did not have to, she didn't even know me." That's literally what the Savior does for each one of us. He lets us keep trying. He believes in us and knows that we have the potential to be better and to improve and He really doesn't give up. You know, He does know us though, and that's the only difference is that He does know us but He sticks up for all of us, right? He knows that we can do it and He goes to bat for us.

34:30  
KaRyn Lay: That was Lillie. I think her question to those primary children after she shares that story is something I'm going to be thinking about for a long time to come. What kind of person do I want to be? I think most of us, as willing disciples of the Savior, would say that we want to be the kind of person He was. An advocate, a healer, a friend and light to the stranger, the foreigner, the marginalized, the bullied, but how? How do we find the motivation, the courage and, frankly, the time. I recently heard a wise woman suggest that if we feel overwhelmed by the idea of all that's wrong in the world and our own inability to fix everything, one place to start is to simply show up. To put our bodies in places where they can represent our support of others and tangible numbers. We don't have to know exactly what to do or even how to do it. But if we show up, then the Lord can tutor us on what comes next. It reminded me of a part of Sister Linda K. Burton's talk from the 2016 General Conference. When the "I Was a Stranger" initiative was announced. She shared the story of those, including the women, who stayed behind while the men went to rescue the suffering members of the handcart companies. Not only did they immediately donate all their extra petticoats, socks and warm things to the effort, but as the rescue teams got closer to the valley, they gathered in the tabernacle to prepare to receive the sick, the needy, the stranger. President Brigham Young exhorted those gathered to receive them as your own children and to have the same feelings for them. I'm positive, I'm positive that there were some who were nervous about how to proceed, just like you or me. Could they handle the hard things they were about to see and hear from those suffering people? And maybe they were uncomfortable about not knowing the right thing to say or the right thing to do. But they showed up anyway. And in the end, sister Lucy Smith said, "We did all we could to comfort the needy, and we did not cease our exertion till all were made comfortable. I never took more satisfaction, and I might say pleasure, in any labor I've ever performed in my life. Such unanimity of feeling prevailed, what's next for willing hands to do?" Whether the strangers we are meant to help or in other countries, in the hallways at our school, across the street, in our neighborhoods, or sitting next to us in a women's choir. Sister Burton promised us that "We can be assured of Heavenly Father's help as we get down on our knees and ask for divine guidance to bless his children," I hope this week as we think about our own stories of kindnesses given and kindnesses received, of those moments when maybe we were the stranger. That we'll all be just a little more attuned to see and be the helpers in whatever story comes next for us.

That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel." Thanks for joining us today. And thank you to Chrishelle, Elisha, Michelle, and Lillie for sharing their stories and their faith. We'll have the transcript of this episode and pictures of our storytellers, as well as a link to Sister Burton's talk, in our show notes at LDSliving.com/thisisthegospel. Truly, if you haven't read that talk in a while, it gave me all the feels again as I revisited it, and I know it will for you too. All of our stories on this podcast are true and accurate as affirmed by our storytellers. If you have a great story about your experience living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, well, we want to hear it. We're still accepting submissions to our pitch line. Leave us a short three-minute story pitch at 515-519-6179. You can also find out what themes we're working on to help focus your pitch by following us on Instagram and Facebook @thisisthegospel_podcast. And don't forget to tell us all about your experience with this podcast. Take the time to leave us a review on the Apple podcast app, or on the Bookshelf PLUS+ app from Desert Book. We love to hear your thoughts about certain episodes and about the show as a whole. This episode was produced by Sarah Blake with story producing and editing by Davey Johnson, Danielle Wagner, Katie Lambert and me, KaRyn Lay. It was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix At Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcasts at LDSliving.com/podcasts. Have a great week.