Thursday, February 6, 2014
Caussé Devotional January 21, 2014
On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, Bishop Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric and his wife Valérie were the Devotional speakers at the Provo Missionary Training Center.
First of all, I loved listening to their French accents. They could have gone on for another hour and I would not have tired of it.
Sister Valérie Caussé shared her feelings of inadequacy and trepidation that occurred in 2008 when President Monson phoned them in Paris and asked her husband Gérald (at age 44) to “be a Seventy until he was seventy.”
She said she knew that “Life would not be the same forever.” She felt incapable of leaving children, parents, friends, French food, and her home on the outskirts of Paris: “Why would I do this?” She said that she retreated into the bathroom alone and wept. She said that she felt almost desperate, but then she felt the Savior close to her, she felt his loving presence. So she said yes when she wanted to say no. She said she wanted to be able to say to Jesus Christ when she meets him, “I did my best.”
Bishop Caussé said that during his time as a General Authority he has toured 40 missions and has collected 100 pages of missionary stories. One of his favorite stories is of two Sister missionaries in Spain. As they were passing by a bank one day, a big security guard standing at the entrance of the bank called to them. They described him as having “one and half yellow teeth and a big machine gun.”
Two remarkable things then transpired, first this somewhat intimidating man asked them for a copy of the Book of Mormon; he also went on to tell them that his wife had died and that he was working two jobs to care for his children. The second remarkable thing that happened was that the Sister missionaries instantly were filled with pure and unconditional Christ-like love for this man with the one and a half yellow teeth and a big gun. Bishop Caussé explained, “Instant love is a gift given to Disciples of Christ.”~PLH
Why did I say yes…
As I sat in the Devotional, listening to Bishop and Sister Causse, I was struck twice by statements that they made. The first had to do with the phone call that the Causses received from Salt Lake City extending the call to serve in the Church and Kingdom of God, to leave all else behind and follow the course of life that the Savior pointed out to them. For a moment I was a little envious. What would it be like to be called as a Seventy until I was seventy? I said to myself, “Well it’s a little late for that, now that you are seventy-one.” Being somewhat whimsically minded, I still pursued the thought. “What would it have been like?” Then the answer came: “You already know.”
More than forty-five years ago, I received a phone call from Weldon Thacker, one of the administrators of the Church Educational System, asking me if I would accept a position with the Department of Seminaries and Institutes. I had waited a long time for the phone call and I had almost despaired that it would ever come. In my impatience I had made substantial plans to pursue my Master Degree in English Language and Linguistics at Brigham Young University, even accepting a Teaching Assistant assignment with the English Department. The call to serve as a Seminary teacher came pretty late in the game. I had almost resolved to not allow such an assignment to disrupt what I spent a considerable amount of time setting up. “Why did I say ‘Yes’ when I wanted to say ‘No’?”, I ask, just as Sister Causse had asked, when it was her turn to address the missionaries.
For the next thirty-five years I had the joyous experience of associating with the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, teaching principles that were near and dear to my heart. Every day, I was immersed in the scriptures, learning and growing, that I might be able to present properly the truths of eternity to the sons and daughters of God. Could I have possibly received a more magnificent assignment in time or in eternity than that? I was twenty-seven years old when I began my career; I was sixty-two when I retired. When Bishop Causse is released from his role as a General Authority, he will have served full-time in the Church for twenty-six years. I have no need to be covetous.
Why did I say “Yes” to Brother Thacker on that late winter day in 1969? For the same reason that the Causses said “Yes” to President Monson. It was the right thing to do. The Spirit of God entered into our hearts and spoke peace to us. He encouraged Elder and Sister Causse to press forward in faith. In my case, he softened and purified my almost embittered soul.
I retired from full-time employment with the Church Educational System in 2004. I have rejoiced in the freedom, in being able to leave the house at any time and go anywhere that my wife and I have desired to go. Admittedly, I have missed the classroom and from time to time I have thought about teaching on the side, at the University or at one of the Institutes of Religion in Utah Valley. At those moments there has been a little part of me that has said, “Why in the world would you want to do that? Why would you want to tie yourself down again, now that you are free?” So I continued to enjoy my freedom.
When the call came from the Provo MTC, we willingly went to the interview. The assignment involved several hours on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and almost the entire day on Sunday. This would be every week, fifty two weeks a year, for four years, with a few exceptions. Someone asked me after we had accepted the call, “What is it like to be at the MTC?” I replied, “It’s rather like coming out of retirement, and on the same day being called as a Bishop.” Why did I say “Yes” when I wanted to say “No”? Because it was the right thing to do, because once again the Lord softened my stony, selfish little heart. ~PNH