Nila came this morning with her 2 youngest sons, James and Jonathan, for piano lessons and then as usual I get to spend some delightful time with her. Her stories are always amazing. I hurried wrote down this one after she left and sent a copy to our stake Patriarch, Tom Rice (who I grew up with) and then sent a copy to each of my kids and their spouses. Now I want to preserve this story in my journal/blog.
Nila is from Indonesia. Her mom was betrothed to a man in the village when she was 9…and supposed to get married when she was 12. When the man came around he would bring treats/cakes/gifts to her and she thought it was very nice. The girls all teased her and asked her didn’t she know why he was doing this. this young girl had no idea and was stunned to learn she was to marry him. She did not want to marry this early…she wanted to attend the Girls’ School which is the same as intense Home Ec classes of our years. The family went to some show or play and as it happened another family had tickets to sit right next to Nila’s grandparents…with a young man who sat right next to her mom. The first guy’s family heard about it and it was horrible. They claimed all sorts of things and when they learned the girl didn’t want to get married and preferred schooling, they broke the betrothal.
Nila’s mom finished the classes at the Girl’s School (which is the actual name of the school) and a year later married this other boy…who was 20 to her nearly 16 years of age.
Eventually the dad looked into religions and met the American missionaries. He asked them how much they earned for preaching and was stunned to learn they did it all because they wanted to. This was the kind of church he had been looking for. He and his wife joined the church and had 6 children I believe…Nila is #4. At some point her dad was given his patriarchal blessing but there was no native speaking patriarch in Indonesia so the blessing was bestowed by an American patriarch and in English.
For years and year, Nila’s dad had no knowledge what his blessing even said and in fact he lost his blessing paper and didn’t realize he could get another nor how important it was. He became branch president, then maybe a bishop, stake president and a few years ago he called Nila and said he was called to be the first native Patriarch in Indonesia. Then he and his wife came to America to visit Nila. This was 3 years ago.
Nila was thrilled for her dad and when she heard he didn’t have his blessing, she requested a copy of her dad’s blessing from SLC. When it arrived she translated it for him (no, he still speaks no English) and as she read it over a line stood out for her. In it, among many blessings promised, was one that said he would one day be a patriarch to his family and villages. Initially when Nila translated this she just translated the words but in rereading it she suddenly stopped! He had been promised decades before that one day he would be a Patriarch, not just a father to his children! She was stunned.
And then she bore her testimony that she learned at that moment that it doesn’t matter who gives the blessing nor in what language. If the man is called of God and ordained as a patriarch, then he will be given the words of the Lord to bless each individual and those blessings will come to pass….even if the copy of the blessing is lost for decades. The promises remain as long as people continue to strive for righteous behavior.
Truly this was another moment with Nila when she teaches me so many things. We get a lot of this in her lessons that she gives once a month in RS. She’s amazing.