If you can read "LIFT WHERE YOU STAND" by Elder Uchtdorf in the Ensign November 2008, please do so, as it is what I based these thoughts on.
I always love to read or watch whatever Elder Uchtdorf has to say. He is such an inspiration in whatever subject he talks about. Who would have known that just a few years after he was called to be an apostle (which I had not heard about him before then) he would be such a motivational and popular speaker? I love him!!! I love his messages and he comforts my soul. What I like about his talk is the fact that he mentions that the most important callings that we will ever receive are of: father, husband and home teacher, three simple callings that everyone has the change to be called to and that represent the most in our lives. He also mentions how we will not be judged for the positions we held in life. I find it interesting because today my husband and I were thinking about ways that we could reach out to others and serve people in need. This all came about as my husband was traveling to Curitiba and he saw this beggar. A woman who looked about 40 years old that went to the local bar to ask for some food. It probably took her a whole lot of courage to do that as she knew that the owner would most likely say no to her request. She came to my husband and told them that she was upset with the owner because at the end of the day they would just throw away all the food that was left over. It broke his heart and so my husband his friend went up to her and asked her if she was hungry and if they could buy her some food. This lady started to cry, I can only imagine her face and my heart goes to her without even knowing this lady. They went to a local restaurant where she could choose a selection of foods: rice and beans, meat, salad etc. She was so concerned about spending their money and the food being too expensive. I couldn’t hold back the tears just thinking about this lady. They both sat with the lady as she ate because the restaurant wouldn’t have let her stay in there by herself. So as they chatted away the woman said she was 27 years old (my husband’s age) and she has three small kids: a little boy who was over 3 and a set of twins who were 9 months. As she talked a little bit she had a hard time eating meat, because her teeth were in such bad shape that she almost lost one as she was chewing her meat. She showed her almost falling tooth to my husband and our friend as she struggled to chew. Again my heart was broken. Then I wondered if she had any food for her little ones and I’m glad my hubby wondered about that too. She did have food for them and a friend was taking care of her little treasures, they had rice and beans, milk and everything they needed back home. She works collecting cans and selling them to be recycled and with the money she will pay for food. Mat said that this lady had some sort of sheet on top of her old-dirty-worn out clothes and that her palms had gauze wrapped around it because she was cutting wood to cook food to her children. He said she did not understand the importance of hygiene (as anyone in her situation probably wouldn’t) and they had to help her wash her hands. She also said that she knew how to read because she studied until 4th grade. Mathew gave her the name of the church and told her to look for two missionaries where she lived. She lived far away somewhere inland of Curitiba. I wish he had gotten her address so WE could send the missionaries in. I actually wish I was there so I would have taken her in and bathed her, taught her about very basic nutrition, hygiene, I wish I could have taken her to the dentist, bought her some clothes and helped her get a job. Even if she can work cleaning a house, she would be in a much better shape than she is. She can’t get a job the way she is. She couldn’t even get into the employment services building in her state. It just broke my heart. I cried and cried because of the injustice that is all around. I cried as I thought about this mother worried about not having enough food to feed her little ones and how much she probably worried about their future, or the lack thereof. I’ve decided that I need to do something. I cannot save every beggar or fix every social issue out there, but one by one I can help and I can make a difference. I can be more frugal and save money for times like this, where I find a lady in such need. I can be more grateful for what I have and NEVER complain, no matter how bad the situation gets. I can learn more to be able to build an institution to help people like her. I can share the gospel and help those people become self reliant. There’s so much I can do. The only thing I cannot do is stand still….because it breaks my heart, not only as a mother, but as a human being. I love this gospel and feel so immensely blessed and rich. I cannot get over it. I hope this has helped someone out there today, as it has helped me and I hope that in the future I can do much more than just sharing a story that touched my heart.