I didn’t immediately turn around to look; I was privy to know he was there. What I watched, however, was a powerful display of excitement from the congregation as a wave of rotating heads, in a sea of smiling faces, shot glances of love and heartfelt welcome as Bishop Nelson announced Gates’ attendance, in the back overflow, at sacrament meeting. It was Gates’ first time back in the Foothill Ward.
Etched into my mind is the image of two young siblings, one searching the crowd for Gates, while the other, hand on her sister’s shoulder, relayed direction to his location. As this young lady’s eyes landed on the target, her grin turned into an open-mouth smile, her eyebrows raised so high her forehead wrinkled and she literally stopped herself from the urges to stand on the bench for a better view; Gates’ presence brought a very welcome spirit this past Sunday.
Gates works out in rehab every day, various times throughout the day. His strength has improved and his balance and movements have steadied. He works himself to exhaustion every single day, so a fieldtrip to the Gateway to see a movie, last Saturday night, was a well deserved reward.
Gates’ neck is no longer augmented by the brace which supported his head. It’s left him with “very soar” muscles, he tells me, but it also gives him more motion and rotation.
I let too much time pass between entries. My goal was to write at least every Sunday to share stories of a distinctive group of people who have experienced similar challenges as Gates, their battles and triumphs. I communicated the story of Julie Jorgensen two weeks ago and look forward to imparting of the history of others such as: Sabrina Glade, Tanner Godfrey, Emily Wallace and others as they care to express.
Tonight, as Gates has just learned of this young lady, we ask… as you pray for Gates, keep in your prayers Kendra, who suffered a similar injury just a few weeks ago.
“I have cherished from childhood the truth that God is a personal being, and is, indeed, our Father whom we can approach in prayer... I cherish, as one of the dearest experiences of life, the knowledge that God hears the prayer of faith. It is true that the answers to our prayers may not always come as direct and at the time, nor in the manner, we anticipate; but they do come, and at a time and in a manner best for the interests of [those] who offer the supplication.” – President David O. McKay