The Worth of a Soul - #EthansTransfer

One of the anticipated events in a young man's life, especially if he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is turning nineteen - that age, historically (at least for the past several decades), has always been the age when a young man was eligible to serve as a missionary.

Since Ethan was first diagnosed with Autism at the age of six, my wife and I had accepted the truth that there would most likely be many milestone events in Ethan's life that would either not occur on the same timeline as other young men, or realistically, not happen at all. Occasionally we have those back-of-the-mind pauses when those milestone moments come and go without their usual fanfare or recognition. To be honest, those pauses may sometimes linger, but they never stay too long. Because they are always followed up with bright flashes of his divine potential and identity.

A few years ago I shared the words of Ian Brown (The Worth of a Soul and The Worth of a Soul - Revisited), who wrote of coming to find the "redeeming value of his [son's] life." In finding that answer he wrote:
. . . The value of the human spirit, even at its subtlest and most obscure, is a question the whole world always needs to question, and answer.
Well, as you can guess, because I'm writing about it, one of those back-of-the-mind pauses happened this year, as Ethan turned nineteen. Well, in July it was ushered away by one of those bright flashes of his divine potential and identity.

It all started with an e-mail we received from a missionary serving on the other side of the world... 
With his permission I share it:
I will start off by saying God will humble us very quickly if we are not humble. This week I am glad I was taught this lesson because it has change my mission.
So this happened Thursday. The day of transfers. I wanted to be transferred kind of badly to experience a new area (he felt tired and the area, to him, was feeling mediocre). So I will ever be grateful to a young man I have never met. I will ever be grateful to a young man who has one of the greatest spirits I have ever felt. I was taught a lesson I will ever be thankful for in life and will never forget. 
I was sad I wasn't getting transferred. I wanted to meet new people and a new area. So Thursday for lunch we cleaned up the flat a little bit. I found some old Ensign magazines. I thought I could go through them and find a picture or quote to put on the front of my new planner. As I got home Thursday night I grabbed one of the Ensigns. It was in the middle of about six of them. I randomly opened to a page that said in big words.
I thought to myself, "No way." I immediately thought of Ethan Kornegay. I then saw it was written by Jeff Kornegay. Then it said he lives in Arizona. 
So, as I read the article I was taught a lesson. The lesson the Lord decided to teach me that day was: 
  1. I need to love everyone I come in contact with and continue to love my ward I serve in and my investigators.
  2. I need to remember the things that matter most in life. 
  3. Never let things get in our way. We are all the same. We are all daughters and sons of a King. 
I want to live my life like Ethan. Honest, innocent, kind, live a life of love, not judgmental, see everybody equally and render to help without hesitation. As I read the article I felt of his wonderful spirit. It was like he was right next to me.
My wife replied to this touching email:
Oh, Elder...we are speechless. Not sure how to respond to your email. How touching...and more than anything else, thank you for sharing your sacred experience with us. As you know, Ethan will not serve a normal mission - at least not like most other young men in the church. However, I do know that he does still have a mission on earth to fulfill, it's just a different kind of mission. A short statement from Ethan's patriarchal blessing says that through his actions and through him just being himself, he will touch lives. We have had a few people over the years express to us similar sentiments as you did. As his parents, we are thankful and humbled for these occasions shared with us. It is a confirmation that he is fulfilling his mission and his patriarchal blessing in his own sweet way.
Our Elder replied,
Well I want you all to know that he has touched me this week. I have never met Ethan before but I felt his spirit so strong when I read that article. I felt of a spirit of much much love. So I am just another example of him touching people's lives. Who knew he could touch my life as I am down under the earth right now...This will be a lesson I will never forget...Please tell him I say hi and send my love. 
...This transfer will be known as #EthansTransfer


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