It’s official. We are residents of the Pacific Northwest! We now call Port Angeles, Washington home. It’s been a whirlwind. Pretty much ever since we decided to move to Port Angeles to be closer to my wife’s parents, every free minute has been fixing things at home, taking things to the Deseret Industries (similar to Goodwill), taking things to the dump, selling things, and packing. After living for 14 years in a home that you thought was your last and final home, and raising 6 children there, and a few dogs, you collect a lot of things. We’ve had to go through everything and decide if it was worth it to bring all the way to Washington and then to pay to leave it in storage while we try to sell our home in Utah. We tried to keep the sentimental things. Some things were sentimental that we had to let go. I was really sad to see our piano go. It wasn’t the nicest piano, but it was the piano my kids have all taken lessons on and learned to play. We got rid of a ton of things. Somehow we still filled to the very top the biggest U-haul rental truck. Moving is a lot of work!
The day of the move was pretty spectacular. I’ve been of the Mormon faith (LDS) my entire life, so I can’t tell you how things work outside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but within our church, we are there for each other. It is really quite incredible.
I took Friday off from work and so did my brother Nick. We went and got the monstrosity of a moving truck, which turned out to be very new and a nice truck to drive, if you have to drive such a beast. We also rented a car trailer so my prized 1978 Chevy Nova could come with us in tow behind the mega-moving truck.
What happened next is really a bit of a Mormon miracle. This was in the middle of the day when many people were at work. I know many in our ward (congregation) were at a youth camp. It’s a busy Friday in the summer. But slowly and surely we started having some family and neighbors start showing up; some of them past the age you’d expect them to be volunteering to lift boxes. The process begins. We’ve all done it before. I’ve been the one helping others countless times. Everyone is there to help. Heavy furniture and boxes start going out to the moving van. One of my good friends and neighbors, Matt, starts organizing where and how to place things in the moving van. I’m directing what is going into one last trailer for the dump and Deseret Industries. We have women in the ward helping. We are all rushing. It’s a big job and we are there to get it all moved out. We provided some donuts, bottled water and soda. It was not much compared to the service they gave.
Once it was miraculously loaded, (thanks again Matt for your crazy loading skills), and we had thanked everyone for coming over and working so hard to help, we were just left standing in the front yard with me and my family, and my brother’s family. It was time for goodbye. I had been so occupied with the move, I had forgotten that I’m not going to see my brother and his family as often any more. I got a little emotional. I went through the house for one last time, turned off all the lights that the kids have left on consistently for the past 14 years, locked the doors, and was genuinely sad to leave our home. I love it there in Highland. I love our neighbors. I love the beauty. I love being close to so many family members and friends. I love having a nice home where we have been raising our family. I love being close to friends and the area where I grew up. It was all locked up, and off we went in a caravan. I led the way with our eight-year-old-daughter as my driving companion, in the uber-big U-haul with the Nova in tow, followed by my two adult daughters driving my car, who were followed by my wife, Jen, driving our minivan with our three other children. We were off. We made it to Boise, Idaho the first night.
The next day after breakfast at the hotel, we were off early for a long drive up through Oregon along the Columbia River, and on through Portland and into Washington. Up the 101 to Port Angeles, WA where we arrived at 11:30 p.m. We made it Saturday night!
The next day was Sunday. We were able to go to church, which was our goal in leaving on Friday, and thankfully for us, church didn’t start until 1 p.m. which gave us some much-needed rest. At church after introducing myself, someone asked if we needed help unloading. I had been hoping for someone to ask because we had a huge team in Highland to load the truck. I was afraid that here in Port Angeles, we would just have our family to unload, which would take a long time. A time was organized for those who could volunteer to meet us at the storage shed Monday and help unload. Here again, we had all ages show up, and everyone was there to work hard. Once again we had some donuts and bottled water for everyone. I tried to give a heartfelt thanks to each of them and shake their hand. They had us unloaded the whole truck in an hour. It saved us hours of work and a lot of ibuprofen!
So this is the Mormon miracle, or one of them anyway. The people in Highland sacrificed their time, their energy, their backs, and worked hard laboring right along the side of us. You might say, “Well that makes sense. You were neighbors for 14 years.” OK. That’s true. But it is still very impressive and we are extremely grateful. But here we are in Port Angeles, WA. My wife knows a few people from when she lived here growing up, but I really don’t know very many people. Yet, here they were, right after work on a Monday with work gloves and there to be a service to us, basically strangers. It is a miracle. A prayer was answered.
I read this morning the sermon of a Prophet and King who lived on the American Continent around 124 B.C. His name was Benjamin. He taught his people that he was no better than them, and that he had his whole life labored among them in their service. He taught that when we serve our fellow being, we are in the service of God. He taught that this was wisdom.
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. Mosiah 2:17
We have heard this scripture over and over in the LDS faith. The very every-day thing of loading and unloading this U-haul, is living the doctrine being taught. This is how we serve God. We help someone in need. I was not robbed and beaten and left for dead travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. But, I was about to take a journey, and I was in need. I had a small army of good Samaritans show up and help. They were serving me, and in turn, they were serving God. This is one way in which we can serve Jesus Christ. As we serve others and come closer to Jesus Christ, it will always bring us joy and help us to forget our own needs and problems.
I pray that they will be blessed richly for their help. Whether it be a family member, a neighbor, or a stranger, when we serve others in any way, we serve God.