Able to Serve

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“Able to Serve,” New Era, Aug. 2011, 47

Able to Serve

Chris L., Colorado, USA

The members of our ward in the Grand Junction Colorado Stake were taught the true meaning of service as we witnessed a new deacon pass the sacrament for the first time. I never thought I would be a witness to such a humbling event that had most of the members shedding a tear or two.

Brother Braden Anderson bowed his head during the sacrament prayer then looked up to get ready to pass the bread to his section of the ward. He was helped by Brother Renner as he reached to take the tray of bread. You see, Braden Anderson has cerebral palsy, which makes it difficult for him to move, talk, or reach for a tray.

As I saw a big smile cross his face, I looked immediately to our good bishop, Braden’s father. I saw the face of Bishop Anderson turn from anxiety to gratitude that his son could fulfill his duties as a new deacon.

I heard some members whisper to each other, “Look at Braden. He’s smiling, wow! He’s fulfilling his duties.” I saw some other members take off their glasses to wipe away the tears caused by understanding the important lesson that unfolded before our eyes.

For me, Braden’s strength lifted me up so much that there was not room for tears—just the excitement of knowing that he was doing something others would have deemed impossible. Though he had help from Brother Renner, it was Braden who was doing his duties as a deacon.

There was another first in the meeting. After the second counselor bore his testimony, I wheeled myself up in my wheelchair to express my gratitude to Heavenly Father for letting Braden do his duties. Though my speech is always slurred and not easily understood, I didn’t care, because Braden Anderson lifted me up more than anyone could have done.