Friday, November 28, 2008


My message today is of thanksgiving! I can't tell you how grateful I am to have been born in America - in this time and dispensation - and into the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those are the most incredible blessings in the world. (And to have good health and a wonderful family is the cherry on top of the sundae!)

After being in five different countries and seeing how people are living today, and how they have lived for millennia, there is, in my mind, no greater blessing. Noting of course that Anna and Sian were privileged to have been born in Great Britain which is our Mother country - so that counts!

We saw literally millions of Chinese, Thai and Cambodians living in the same type of home, eking out a living the very same way their ancestors have done for centuries. Though the Thai and Cambodians' situation is slightly different, the Chinese have always been an oppressed people. First their emperors used them as slave labor, granting them no rights at all, then the Communists have continued that oppression. They know nothing of freedom. They know nothing of making meaningful decisions to improve their lives. If they are of the Han ethnic Chinese (95% of the population in China is Han) they are only allowed one child. The other 5% are divided into 57 ethnic groups, and they are allowed as many children as they want. The government dictates everything, every aspect of their lives: what they study in school, what job they have.

They dictate where you live. If you were forced to move when the Three Gorges Dam was built on the Yangtze River, you were not allowed to choose where you would be relocated. They built relocation villages, but you couldn't choose the one that was near your home. Many were sent to live in cities. They had never lived in cities before. They only knew farming. They were not allowed the choice. In Beijing, the Hutang villages that have been there for 100-200 years are being destroyed to make room for high rise housing. The people being dislocated will not be given a choice. They must move and most will be told where.

The privilege of choice is a blessing to be savored and used well. In this time of economic meltdown, the choices we make will be very important to our economic survival. But the ultimate choice will be how we respond to the counsel of the Brethren. We do have that knowledge and privilege and that choice. So many people do not.

In Armenia they did not. In the Soviet Union, they did not. It is not much different in Russia today, and in those satellite countries that are trying to recover from 70 years of Soviet oppression. Throughout history, few peoples have had the tremendous opportunities of choice we enjoy. For the privilege of being one of them, I am truly grateful - grateful the Lord placed me in this time, in this dispensation, and in this place and gave me the opportunity to choose.
--Lynn Gardener


Jennie said...

Lynn, I went ahead and posted this for you. Great post and thought provoking observations.

Julie Wright said...

I love all that you're grateful for. i agree one hundred percent!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Wonderful blog, Lynn, and very true. This is indeed a blessed nation, despite all of our troubles.