Every once in while, when I feel a need to remember, I sort through a box of mementos from my mission. I always see a beautiful scarf, which was a present from a dear friend, Galya.
My mind drifts back to the lessons learned from her, perhaps the greatest being how to live with the pure love of Christ and have it radiate through all you do.
Galya, like most members in Moscow, Russia, was a relatively new convert to the Church. Her sister lived in the branch in which I was serving. That's how I met Galya, who lived in another section of this expansive city.
Galya was in the last stages of breast cancer. Having fought a valiant battle, she was now resting at home until the end.
Through her last days, Galya exemplified Paul's definition of charity, which "suffereth long, and is kind."
Although the cancer ravaged her body and most days she was in excruciating pain, I never heard her utter a word of complaint. She held on despite her suffering and was willing to suffer for as long as the Lord saw fit.
Charity was an integral part of who she was. Her love of the Savior translated into her great love and concern for her family.
Her husband had never joined the Church, yet Galya spoke of her great hope that his heart would be softened and her little son would be given the chance to grow up knowing the truth of the restored gospel.
My companion and I had been asked by Galya's sister to help her. Our mission president granted us permission to travel to Galya's neighborhood every few days to assist her.
My companion had studied physical therapy in college and knew massage. She was able to offer comfort and significant pain relief. Meanwhile, I washed dishes, cleaned kitchen and bathroom sinks, swept and mopped floors.
Although we were there to serve and assist her, Galya was always kind, solicitous of our well-being.
On the very last day we were at her home, I was in a thin raincoat and didn't have a hat or a shawl to cover my head.
From her sick bed, Galya directed me to her box of scarves and had me pull out a beautiful off-white, flowered scarf, which she insisted I use to cover my head from the cold, and then keep so that I would remember her.
In the midst of her pain and her suffering, Galya showed me the true love of Christ by being kind and thoughtful of my simple needs.
In the end, the three of us had the opportunity to experience the true love of Christ.
From this precious time with Galya, I found that Christ shares His love with us so that we can share it with others.
Years later, as I wrap my beautiful Russian scarf around my head, I remember my friend Galya and the lesson she exemplified of our Savior's love.