On a cold, snowy day in December, Mr. Nielson and I were in his truck,
rushing to a movie to celebrate our twelfth anniversary.
The news was on in his truck
as we drove up a particularly icy hill in Provo.
The news was reporting a mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.
They had reported that several small children had been murdered.
We were stunned in silence, listening to every. Single. Word.
We got to the theater and sat in the car with tears in our eyes.
How could we go see a movie after hearing this tragic news?
Days later, I heard that one of the children killed in the shootings was a
member of the Church, and some of my friends knew and associated with her family.
Months later, after the funeral and when the media had died down,
Christian and I met Alissa and Robbie Parker for lunch in downtown Salt Lake City.
We listened as they discussed how much they missed their sweet daughter Emilie.
We listened as they talked about some painful details and the horror
of finding out that their daughter was among the 20 children killed in
Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
I cried the whole way home in the car because I was so heartsick.
I have to admit while I fully trust in God and His plan, I was a little
bit frustrated that this could happen to innocent children.
Alissa and I have stayed in touch since that lunch meeting.
She is one of the most amazing women I know, and her
resilience and perspective have been so inspiring to me.
Alissa has written a book about her experiences from the moment she
heard that her daughter was shot and killed, to when she forgave
the shooter who had taken her precious daughter Emilie away.
This book is about Alissa's incredible faith and hope.
An Unseen Angel truly is one of the most beautiful books
I have ever read.
Alissa is doing so much good- besides her personal blog: The Parker Five,
she also has started The Emilie Parker Art Connection, which supports the arts
with funding for programs in schools and communities.
Alissa also co-founded the charity Safe and Sound Schools
which empowers and uplifts schools to be safer.
Thank you, Alissa, for all you do, for taking
this horrible tragedy and using it to strengthen others.
You are incredible, my friend.
* * * * * *
Spiritual Enlightenment: Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness
If you have questions and you need answers, or perhaps you are
struggling with something, or maybe you are just generally
wondering why you are here and where you fit in God's plan,
may I suggest you join us this weekend
as we listen to God's voice through
His Prophet and leaders.
General Conference details HERE.