I’m still addressing Christmas cards, two packages for friends are rattling around the back of my car, I sent all the gifts for my sister’s family directly from Amazon without wrapping, dozens of plans for merrymaking and magic were discarded. In short, I have not been pulled together this Christmas.
Still, on a whim, I sent a package via Amazon.com/uk to Gabe’s MTC companion. I placed the order (you can order anywhere in the world with your Amazon account) and didn’t think about it again.
On Christmas Day, as the sun was dropping, I settled onto our blue couch and opened up a lovely email from Elder Parry. And I’m sharing it here not because it makes me look good (though it certainly does), but because the letter shows the beauty of Elder Parry’s heart and the truth that even when we feel like we’re kind of a mess, not doing enough or serving enough or being enough– the small acts, the ones we almost forget about, DO matter.
It seems like months ago (though it was only weeks) that I asked your son, Elder Lehnardt, over a video call if he had gotten “the call” and he looked at me quizzically, as if I had said something odd. When I told him that I had gotten the call from my mission president to go to Germany, even though he hadn’t gotten one himself, he reacted with nothing but joy for me. If someone had told me after that call that I would still be sitting here in England for the holidays and watching him and the rest of the MTC district get out into their areas in Germany, I wouldn’t have believed it, but here we find ourselves, watching in awe as the Lord and his servants work miracles, according to our efforts and His will.
I wanted to write you and say thank you. Thank you for the Christmas chocolates. It brought a tear (or several) to my eye in a quiet corner of the room as I realized that the only presents I had under our little Charlie Brown-esque Christmas tree here in England were two little brown boxes from someone who had no obligation to think of me or send me anything. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, kindness, and of course the amazing, better-than-American European chocolate.
I also wanted to take a little space in this (no longer) short email to thank you and the whole Lehnardt family for welcoming me into your home so many days during the MTC. Staring out the window here for so many days at the cold, humid, dreary countryside of England (almost) makes me miss those youthful days during a hot July in your kitchen so full of high hopes and bright eyes. I’m indeed grateful for all the chances to learn from and speak with Opa Fritz, a man I will remember always and who made learning German a little less intimidating and a lot more fun. I’m also thankful for your amazing son, a man who I could call a friend and a person that I look up to. Every early-morning run, workout, or afternoon companionship study with him made each day of the home MTC so much better. You and Erik have raised a fine young man that I look up to and respect. Perhaps we’ll even have the chance to be companions again.
So, although this email was supposed to be short, I would just like to thank you one more time. Thank you for following the example of our Savior and helping to instill that in your family. I certainly have appreciated it, and I’m certain there will be many more appreciative souls after me. We can never do enough to follow Him and spread His light, but every action, even the small ones, counts.
Elder Chase Parry