I’m a great believer in the adage that whatever good we do comes back to us over and over again.  I am also a believer that God manifests himself in the little things. Two days ago, I got to see these principles revealed in my own life.  It was incredible!


We had seen a few bees flying around the top corner of our new, recently finished, vacation river home.  They were so high it was almost impossible to tell that they were actually bees.  We only tentatively determined that it had to be bees when we saw several dead ones on the ground beneath the corner.


We dutifully called our extermination company and told them we might have a bee infestation in that top corner of the house.  They were quick  to inform us that they could do nothing about it, as it was against the law to kill bees, since they were pollinators.  Instead, they advised us to call a bee specialist for help.  They gave us the number of the one local bee specialist.


We called.  He promised to help; said he would get back to us.  The only problem was that he never got back to us.  Subsequent attempts to contact him were met with radio silence.  It was easy to kick this problem to the back of our consciousness because we really had no idea what to do next.  The home is in a very rural area.  My guess was, there weren’t a lot of other “bee specialists” around.


About that time both my husband, John, and I embarked on a series of out-of-town trips.  John went to several different cities within the U.S.  I did the same and eventually ended up in India for a couple more weeks.


When we returned, we decided to take a quick trip up to this home to decompress for a day.  This is where the backstory comes into play:  a few months ago, we got a call asking us if we could host another Ukrainian refugee family.  They arrived as quite an interesting lot: the father, Andrii, is Ukrainian.  His beautiful wife, Marguerite, is actually from the Dominican Republic.


Naturally, we were curious how a Dominican met a Ukrainian and eventually ended up on a refugee list?  Turns out that they met in Spain, where Marguerite was a model.  They got married and had been together for over a year.  They brought with them a beautiful little 3-month-old baby, named Fortuna.  They also brought with them a delightful teenage daughter from Andrii’s former marriage, along with Andrii’s mother and two dogs.  So, it was quite a diverse group!


As time went on, Andrii asked if they could come with us to Church.  I was a bit surprised because I knew they were Catholic.  But of course, we were happy to oblige!  They loved the Church service and began coming every Sunday; often beating me to the Church and claiming the back bench for all of us.  They expressed a desire to meet with the missionaries.  To this request, the missionaries were happy to oblige!


We had mentioned the bees to Andrii a month earlier.  As we left to go to the river house, Andrii announced that he and his family would also be coming, “to take care of the bees.”  I wasn’t quite sure what he meant but assured him they were welcome to come.  However, I didn’t quite see how they could come, given that they had announced that very day that they had procured an apartment in Florida and would be leaving in two days to go pursue a job opportunity in Ft. Lauderdale.  Surely, they should stay home and pack and prepare for the move, I thought.


But Andrii insisted they come.  John and I left  for the river house.  A couple of hours after we arrived, Andrii and his family arrived.  We were so surprised to watch as he hauled out of his car a large beekeeper’s box, a complete beekeeper’s suit, and other sundry supplies.  It was amazing!  He told us that he had kept bees in Ukraine and that he had managed to bring his beekeeping suit with him—which was remarkable, given that the refugees usually arrive with essentially only the clothes on their backs.


On the way up to the river house, Andrii had apparently stopped at a bee store and purchased the bee box and the other tools of the trade.  He donned his beekeeping suit and headed up to the attic.  He came back announcing that he needed an electric saw to cut through the insulation, as he had decided the bees were between the insulation and the outer wall of the house.


He called our contractor to make sure there were no electric lines in the way and then began to cut through the insulation.  Panicked, our contractor immediately drove up to the house just in time to see Andrii emerge from the attic with a big cooler full of hundreds of bees and stacks of honeycomb.  He took them outside and we watched through the window as Andrii went through the entire cooler full of honeycomb and bees, looking for the queen bee.  He was covered with angry bees.

It was absolutely stunning to see hundreds and hundreds of bees fighting him as he transferred the honeycomb to the shelves in the bee box.  It was a HUGE amount of honeycomb!  Then he went back up to the attic.


This scene was repeated again and again as he discovered more and more panels infested with the bees.  We realized that we had not hundreds—but thousands of honeybees.  By now we had every bowl in the house stacked with honeycomb, and there was no end in sight.  Honey was dripping down the big picture windows and down the rock side of the house.  It was all over the patio.  I’m sure every bear within a five-mile-radius had their nose turned up in the air!


This went on for hours!  We were beginning to fear that the entire circumference of the roof was infested.  Our contractor was more than happy to assist in any way Andrii needed. He was so grateful that Andrii was there and knew what he was doing.  The grandmother was busy at work, brushing the honey from the honeycomb.  She was a pro at it.  She told me that she was descended from five generations of beekeepers.  Incredible!


There were bees everywhere!


It finally dawned on us that our entire recently-finished house was at risk.  Our contractor looked pale as he told us about the extent of the infestation.  He expressed how grateful he was that Andrii was there and could help.  He couldn’t imagine finding a local beekeeper who would have been able to tackle this job.


Finally, in the evening, John and I left as we had to attend a function in Atlanta.  Andrii and his family remained working.  At 11:00 that night, Andrii showed up at our Atlanta house with the bee box full of a beehive, with shelves and shelves of honeycomb.  He put it in our back yard, and then returned to the river house where he spent the night.




The following day he and our contractor worked the entire day finishing up with cleaning out the bees and tons and tons of honeycomb.  The rest of Andrii’s family worked harvesting the honey and filling many, many glass jars with the honey and honeycomb.


Scaffolding was rented so they could reach the top corner of the house.  They spent hours patching up the entrance point of the bees.  At some point, we were informed, Andrii hung off the scaffolding, with our contractor holding onto his legs, in order to make the necessary repairs.  It gave me chills.  They saved our home!


We were incredibly grateful!  We’d had no idea of the extent of the infestation, nor were we aware of how much damage bees can cause.  In fact, we were planning on leaving the next day for a 9-day trip to Canada, and then a few days later, I was headed back to India again for a couple of weeks.  It would have been more than a month before we would have addressed the bee issue.  By then, I’m not sure we would have had much of a home left.  I got shivers, realizing that  we had dodged a bullet we didn’t even know had been fired!


I couldn’t help but ask myself, What are the chances?  What are the chances that of all the Ukrainian refugees in Atlanta, the one family that came to our home were beekeepers? It was a miracle!  It was absolutely a miracle!


 The small service we gave to this family of providing a place to live for a few months, paled in comparison to the gift that they had given our family.


I give lectures all over America where I state that those who serve are always more blessed than those who receive the service.  All kinds of studies have shown this to be true.  They’ve also shown that rendering service can help bring happiness to a person suffering with depression  As Mission Leaders, we had found that struggling missionaries began to love their missions as they began to serve.  There is something beautiful to this formula!


I do, however, need to add a note that I believe that God often “plays the long-game”.  Some service requires much personal sacrifice.  It is often through the most difficult thing we do that we receive the greatest blessings.  There are times when it seems like our efforts to serve another, backfire.

I have to admit that there are many times during my work in India with the leprosy-affected that I have felt discouraged, disappointed, crushed and even fearful for my life.  There have been times that I have felt that my efforts were not producing expected and anticipated results.  Yet, I also believe that, in spite of these discouraging times, God plays the Long-game.  He knows that in spite of setbacks, in the long run, my meager efforts will produce benefits to the leprosy-affected beyond my wildest dreams.


This was recently experienced by my son, Alex.  He was teaching in a public school in an area that was quite economically depressed.  He had a number of students who clearly had tremendous emotional problems.  One girl in particular, seemed to never respond to anything he was trying to teach. He tried vainly to get her involved in any class discussion.  He once told me, “this girl looks at me daily with actual hatred in her eyes. It’s eerie.  I can feel it to my bones.”  But he continued to try to encourage and engage her.


When Alex decided midyear to transfer and teach at a private school, this girl wrote him a short note.  It said, “You are the only reason I come to school.”  He told me, “You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I couldn’t have been more stunned!”  While he had felt daily rejection by this young lady, apparently, God plays the long-game.  Somehow the Spirit was communicating to her that Alex genuinely cared.


In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord states: And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled save those who confess not his hand in all things.  (D&C 59?) I am not a believer in coincidence.  For example, what are the chances that when the deadly Covid pandemic appeared, our prophet happened to be a medical doctor?  Was it a coincidence?  I don’t think so!


What were the chances that the mummies from Egypt would end up in Joseph Smith’s possession, prompting the Book of Abraham?  Coincidence?  I think not!  Over and over again in our own lives, we come to realize that God is in charge of this very complicated universe and is personally engaged in each of our lives.  Even in what sometimes seem to be the smallest details.


My bee saga was a real-life example of that true principle.  Yet, it was so amazing It nearly took my breath away.  How grateful I am that God knew the bees needed to be dealt with, in spite of our nonchalance.  He knew in time to send us beekeepers from Ukraine.  It’s  mind-boggling.


I suspect that in the next life when we learn of all the ways the Lord is directing our lives we will be astounded.  I also believe that one way we activate that power is when we reach out to help others in need.  The Lord responds by blessing us in ways that only He knows we need!  What a remarkable gift. Who knows what blessings await all of us as we reach out to serve our fellowman!  Yes, there will likely be challenges along the way—sometimes severe challenges.  But It’s truly a beautiful way to invite God’s participation in our lives.