By Leslie Smith (Mom):
We got a call from Elder Smith last night telling us the news that his doctor has finally been able to figure out what he has. It's called Functioning Abdominal Pain Syndrome. It's basically a neurological disorder that causes the nerves to malfunction and send pain signals to the brain, even though there is nothing physically causing the pain. It also causes headaches, nausea and fatigue.....every symptom that Jordan has had. It's not affected by eating certain foods, does not respond to pain medications and causes no problems with digestion, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation none of which he has had. Activity such as walking can exaggerate the pain as well.
Jordan has had a really good relationship with his dr. He feels he has been very extensive in his exams and evaluating his test results. The dr. was trained in the United States and has worked very hard to research and diagnose Jordan's condition. It is found mostly in children following a traumatic event, but adults can get it from extreme stress, change of culture, etc. It may have been building up for the last 17 months or it may have been triggered recently during some stressful times that he experienced about a month ago. Sometimes when a person is put in a different environment and adapting to a new situation they may not even feel the stress but the mind does and the body reacts.
The doctor's recommendation is that Jordan go home to a more relaxed life and society. He admits that life in Guatemala, no matter how good the situation, is really hard. He feels that if Jordan went home, he would feel perfectly fine in a day or two. However, Jordan and President Watts have felt prompted for him to continue forward with his mission. The doctor has perscribed some medication that has been approved by the president. Jordan will be under their care and guidance to do what he needs to do to manage this and hopefully overcome it altogether while still in Guatemala.
Today he will get to accompany President Watts, his wife, and the assistants up to his previously assigned zone in Coban. President will be meeting all of those missionaries and having a personal interview with them. Jordan has had the privilege of having several great personal discussions with the president. He loves and respects President Watts very much already. He has felt the spirit testify of this man's divine calling and power and has complete faith that the Lord's will will be carried out through the president's direction. President Watts has decided that Jordan will go back to his original assigned area in Tanchi to finish out the last week and a half of this change. New assignments will be given out for the whole mission on the 18th. Until then, President Watts will be praying for inspiration as to the best place for Jordan's needs as well as for the right place for him to be able to accomplish what the Lord needs from him. It may be in the mission office or it may be back in Jordan's beloved mountains of Polochic. As his parents, we have complete faith that the Lord is directing Jordan's life right now and that wherever he goes, it will be right for him.
Brendan, Jordan, and I have received countless thoughts, impressions, and dreams regarding this whole situation. The Lord works in mysterious ways. His wisdom is beyond anything we can even comprehend. As we have acted upon inspiration, we have all received answers. It's going to be ok.
We know that this isn't going to go away tomorrow. It's going to take some time and a lot more prayers. Jordan will get better, but it will be a painful process. He is willing to do what it takes to get through it and complete his mission. As we hung up, he said, "Well, I hope I won't have to talk to you guys now until Christmas, right?" Right!!! We loved hearing his voice and feeling of his missionary spirit, but are looking foward to his full recovery and return to missionary work in the sacred lands of Guatemala. We feel such peace and thank all of our family and friends and even strangers for your prayers, thoughts, and fasting. Jordan's little cousins fasted all day for him as they drove across the country to come to Utah for vacation. Heavenly Father has been very good to us and has answered our pleas. We are so grateful that it isn't something life threatening and even more grateful for the faith and determination of our missionary. I know the Lord will bless him forever for his efforts and sacrifice. What a blessing it is to have the knowledge of prayer and the gift of the scriptures. They have been our rock through this whole trial. We have come to rely on our Savior's Atonement more than ever and have received so much peace from applying it's principles.
We know that the Lord needs our son, and all of his missionaries, to carry on His word and His gospel to others so that they too may have the comfort and blessings we are fortunate to have in our lives. So as Elder Smith always asks us to do.....we will go forward, "Stay Strong," and "Keep the Faith."
Forget Me Nots
6 years ago