The Book of Mormon tells of many wars and how the righteous endured through and overcame them.
Here is the story that inspired this:
We recently had Elder Jacob Gould in our ward. He had been through infantry training as a ranger. He was airborne trained. He spent 15 months in Afghanistan. He is 24 years old. Here is his story. I was not active in the church at the time I left for training. Brother Gallenger, who had been a Vietnam medic and also had priorly ordained me to the priesthood, gave me a pocket sized Book of Mormon. He said, ” I know you may not think of it now but in your time of need know you may pray to Him and read…” My thought at the time was, “Yah….yah… yah…” But, I took it.
One day I woke up early and could not go back to sleep, so I decided to read. Had I not read that day, early in the morning, I would not have been awake for the ambush that was about to take place!
Where was he? (He was in one of the worst valleys of Afghanistan! 127 men were sent there and only 84 came back. He saw a lot more die as there were neighboring companies. He sought for comfort and peace from the Book of Mormon and prayer. When he came back he fell away in the 3 months since his return. Seeing all that death was hard.) After crying one day, I spent 45 minutes praying to be free of the pain and wishing to repent for I had been doing everything (turning from God) I could to chase away what I had seen. A soldier’s wife of a friend (Nancy) opened up the idea of going on a mission. I gave God this last chance to heal me of what I had been struggling with. Nancy showed me love and patience as for a time I was very far away spiritually and doing wrong. In the end, I chose a mission and here I am and she is paying for it!
I was promised Heavenly Father will help me deal with my suffering due to Afghanistan. Here is one way I am healing today: It has to do with temple work. Military gear is hot, heavy, and cumbersome. It is awkward and my friend chose to not wear his helmet. I felt an impression to tell him he really needed to wear it, but I found that “awkward” and was unsure how he would receive it. It was my birthday. He was shot in the head the wound was significant. I held him in my arms. He later was pronounced brain dead. I had to let him go… With the help of Nancy I am working on that. My love of the gospel failed him here but I have contacted his family and will soon do his temple work!
On one particular mission 77 men went out. 16 died. It was my job to “pick up what was left” literally pieces… Everything was blood stained. I told God, “I can’t do this anymore!” “Why not me next time? I am tired!” I looked around. All the buildings were destroyed except for ours. There, inside, was a little box of little New Testaments. I opened one to Timothy 2:3-4
Those verses were about enduring hardness. We are all called to be that soldier. Spread love. He lives. Prayer works. Read the scriptures. Go to church. Do temple work. If you do, you will be able to endure through any obstacle you may face!
We pick up the pieces
And begin again
There’s hope as one faces
Jesus our friend
Slowly knowing what would soon pass
He entered Gethsemane
For our sins and pains, He would ask
He trembled. We’ve so many!
Off a ways. He prayed and knelt there.
Feeling utterly alone
He was pressed with every man’s care
Sin, like venom, was made known
Hardness pressed. How long could this last?
There, He fell upon His face
Could the Father let this cup pass?
He, the lamb, who’d take His place?
Then Satan, knowing his low place
Filled the cup to press Him more
Hell was shown, this was man’s fate
Drops of blood sweat out, to pour
But Jesus became yet more pure
He, the lamb, grew white like snow
This gave Him the strength to endure
Our sentence for sin to know
Like unraveled thread
Grief grew in my heart
And filled me with dread
Which tore me apart
My daughter would soon leave
And cross the ocean deep
Then a thought began to weave
A strand of hope to keep
I took a great ball of yarn
My bon voyage gift to send
To teach no matter how far
A mother’s love will not end
“Don’t forget us,” I said
And placed the ball in her hand
“Let it unravel as you sail ahead”
While I hold the trailing strand
For as long as I could see
Her tear filled eyes never left mine
Others waved, but no, not me
I held on still with all my might
And then, I saw the last
As her arms waved up high
I became but the past
And let go… whispering, “Good-bye”