Monday, August 15, 2016

Faith in a Field.

Last week I hosted a Back to School Feast for the young women in my ward (congregation).
We had 40 in attendance; 32 girls, and 8 leaders.
I chose to have our dinner in a little area of our neighborhood, 
which is owned by a man named Henry, so I named it "Henry's Field".
The field also happens to be behind my parents backyard which
 was really helpful as I let Lottie wander around their backyard-
(picking the carrots in my dads garden) while I set up.
Clane and I worked from 10:00 until the 6:00 setting up.
I don't know what I would have done without them.

We blew up hundreds of balloons, set up tables, chairs,
 set places with plates, silverware, 
cups, napkins, name places, and garland crowns for each girl.
I wanted to decorate with as much white as possible. 
Between me and another leader, we both came up with enough
 white glass dishes for the full 40 attendees.  

I used my white linen table cloths/napkins and used jam jars for our cups.
I also used about 7 of my white cake plates for the centerpieces.  
Each cake plate had beautiful juicy purple/green grapes on top.
When the girls and I set up that morning, the weather was perfect.
A little bit overcast, but the cloud coverage was nice as we put up 
the heavy tables and chairs.
As the afternoon slipped into early evening, I was feeling worried.
The wind began to pick up and loud rumblings off in the distance had me on edge.
I couldn't believe after all the hard work we had put in, 
it was going to rain on us!
As the girls and I finished putting the last touches on the table,
 the rain began to lightly sprinkle.
 I rushed home and grabbed plastic cloths to cover the tables.
After Clane and I covered the tables, we huddled together beneath a wild
pear tree.  The wind blew and tiny rain drops dripped.
We folded our arms and I said a humble prayer 
asking the Lord to please not let it rain on this event.  
The young girls were looking forward to this night and 
we had put in a lot of work preparing for the night to be perfect for them.
After we said our amens we looked at each other and smiled.  We had faith.
On the way home in the car about 45 minutes before the dinner was to begin,
the light rain turned into large drops and soon enough it was pouring.
My heart sunk and I began considering a plan B.

I remember the prayer the girls and I had offered minutes before,
 and I still had faith.
I also knew that there were thousands in our town who were praying for rain.
Our city hadn't had rain in weeks, and we needed it badly.
Why would God listen to me when so many of
 His other children were saying prayers that contradicted mine?
I didn't know, but I knew He was God, and I still had faith.
I knew everything would work out.  Oddly enough, I felt peaceful.
Soon I began getting text after text from other leaders and parents
 wondering what the plan was.
I typed back:
"Say your prayers, and arrive to the dinner as planned.
I have faith."
As the girls and I drove down our driveway, I could see the 
clouds had started to part and the sun was shinning right over Henry's field.
  It was a miracle.
At the field, we wiped down wet chairs and
 took off the plastic covering off the tables.
 I played Etta James "At Last" on my record player as the beautiful girls
began showing up dressed in their fresh white dresses.
It was a miracle.
For those of you who want to know if God is real, or if He cares,
I know He does.  Even for something as trivial and silly as a dinner.
He listens, and cares.  He wants joy and happiness for His children- 
especially His beloved beautiful daughters.

Tonight Mr. Nielson and I celebrate our children with our own
family Back to School Feast! This will be our 8th dinner!!
If you are hosting a BTS feast in your home and share it on social media, 
please use #backtoschoolfeast so we can all see what you have done!