This morning I arose early to walk Murphy up our quiet country road by the lakeside. A summer paradise indeed. I was on my way to finish what I started last evening.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) has in its service at any one time 60,000 to 80,000 young men and women mostly ages 18-22, called to serve the world over. They accept wherever they are called to go and serve at their own or their families' expense for a span of two years. My own call was to France and Switzerland from 1969-1971. My brothers also served in France and Belgium and one of our sons as well, and another served in Norway. Here in Hamilton, we have two 'sister' missionaries as we call them, Sister Loveland and Sister Rodriguez, whose homes are in Utah and Idaho. Last night at 8 or so, they called me in a panic. This little kitten had walked into a barn fan at the home they were visiting and been knocked unconscious and was bleeding. They were distraught. The folks they were visiting were destitute and without a car. "Brother Gilchrist, do you think you could drive over here and look at this kitten. There's blood everywhere and the family is panicking." They tearfully told me, trying to hold back the panic in their own voices. There was only one answer and so I donned my shoes and headed into the dark (and stormy night). Using my now beloved GPS system I easily found the home on a backroad some 10 miles from us and 20 miles from the clinic. The home was in very tough shape and the residents were trying to cool themselves with a barn fan placed in the rear door way and aimed into the living room. One of the sisters was trying to console the family and the other was cutting some old wire mesh with tin snips in an attempt to improvise a guard for the fan that was almost the demise of this cute black and white kitten. Almost. It occurred to me that these two sheltered young women had probably never seen such a scene of poverty. And yet, here they were with rolled up sleeves doing their best to help and calling on all the resources at their disposal, for help. I examined the cat and drove her back to the clinic where Jean, a kind hearted animal loving technician, helped me arrange a comfortable cage and warming towel for her while I gave her medication for her bleeding and congestion and shock. This morning she was much better and I was able to safely anesthetize her, suture the cut lip, both inside the mouth and then the outer skin layer. By the time I returned her to her owners she was waking up. Our payment was the privilege of serving together, each in our own capacity, and being useful members in the brotherhood/sisterhood of humanity. If you see these sisters around, invite them in. If you don't see them, call them to invite them into your homes. They will bring with them such a good spirit you will hate to see them leave. Their message may not be what you seek but I guarantee their goodly countenance, goodwill and charity toward all, is a blessing to all. This is the America I know and the one I sing without reserve "God Bless America, land that I love"