Companion: Sister Melissa Rowley
It's been a great week. The other day I was pondering about an experience I had years ago. It was when Jason, Chris, Lorielle and I stayed with our cousins in California for three weeks. I was about 10 or 11. We were at a day camp in a park doing some activities, when a couple of LDS missionaries sat down on a bench a little ways away from the table I was at. My two younger cousins ran over to hug and greet them. I stayed behind. The leader of our group didn't know a whole lot about our church and had some misconceptions. She began telling the girls all the weird things about Mormons that weren't true. [Apparently the leader's remarks were prompted by the Missionaries sitting down at the park.] Things like, their not allowed to watch TV, or drink soda, etc. I wanted to badly to tell her that those things weren't true and that I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was so close to opening my mouth, but I was too scared to stand and defend my beliefs. I was a little shy, and I held back. I had always regretted doing that. This experience has been one that has shaped my life and taught me to always stand up for the truth. A profound thought came to me the other day about this experience. I would not have had that learning opportunity if it weren't for the missionaries being in the park that day, at that moment. They may or may not have had a chance to share the gospel with anyone in that park. Maybe the only people who welcomed them were two young children, my cousins. But because they were there, I had an experience that changed my life. I would not be as bold as I am, or have the the testimony I have if it weren't for those two missionaries. We never know what kind of impact we're making. And the person who was impacted may never realize they were impacted until years down the road.
We had the wonderful opportunity to watch the general womens meeting on Saturday. What a spiritual feast! I can't wait for general conference this weekend. :D I loved President Eyring's talk about comforting those who stand in need of comfort. I have found great joy in fulfilling my baptismal covenant to bear one anothers burdens, and comforting those who need it. I feel like this is an important message that Heavenly Father is teaching me. Isaiah 35:3-5 comes to mind. "Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped." That is the scripture on my plaque at home.
We had a powerful experience with a less active man. He lives with his parents who are very active and faithful, but he has fallen away. We were having dinner at their house and amazingly he joined us on his own. For our dinner message we taught the message of the Restoration. He brought up some doubts. The spirit helped us know exactly how to address it. I felt impressed to ask him directly if he believes that God is his eternal Father. To which he replied, "I can't answer that right now, because I don't know." I told him that is the perfect answer. It's okay not to know. I then asked him if he wants to believe, or even if he wants to want to believe. He thought about it for a moment and said yes. I read Alma 32:27 which says, "...even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let that desire work in you. Even until ye can give place for a portion of my words." I told him that God has said that if we want to believe, that is enough. We must let that desire work in us. I could tell the spirit was working in him, and I pointed that out to him. I then asked him, "Will you pray to know if God is there? And if he loves you?" After some thought he said he would. I promised him that if he does so with a sincere heart, that God would manifest himself to him and he would receive an answer. Sister Rowley also bore powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. It's amazing how the Lord speaks through us, because I know that those were not my own words. It was completely inspired by the spirit. When the parents saw us in sacrament meeting, they thanked us and said that we touched him. They've been praying for him to be touched for a long time.
There is a talk by President Erying called "Rise to Your Call". It's really good. One thing he talked about really stuck out to me. "The Lord will magnify the words you speak in the eyes of the people you serve." How true that is, if we are living worthy of his spirit. I am quite aware of my own inadequacies, but those don't matter if we hand them over to the Lord and allow him to work in us in bringing about his eternal purposes. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have each day to serve, learn, and stretch.
Yesterday we got to talking to a man on his doorstep and came to find out he was Atheist. We asked if we could pray with him, which he reluctantly allowed us to do. He talked and talked about some of his thoughts and opinions, all of which we know can be answered with the message of the restoration and God's plan for us. It was so interesting to be talking to him, because I felt such tremendous love for him. Even though he wouldn't let us get a word in and wasn't open at all to anything we had to offer, I felt so much love for this man. I felt as though God was helping me see him how he sees him. There are certain absolute truths that exist in the universe. One of those is the law of gravity. Someone can be completely and totally convinced that the law of gravity is not true. They can do everything in their power to try and defy the law of gravity. But even then, it still stands. When we drop a pen, it falls to the ground. When we walk, we don't float. In the same way, God's eternal truths are absolute and cannot be changed. One of those truths is that He is our Father, and we are his children, and he loves us. Even though this man didn't believe in God, I felt within my heart how much God loves him. I felt true and genuine love for him. That is the gift of charity, and I am so grateful for these opportunities to feel that gift. Gifts are not something we already have, but something given dependent on our asking and our worthiness.
I have an absolute sure testimony that God is our loving Father in Heaven. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Joseph Smith was and is the prophet of the restoration, called of God to lead and guide his church in the last days. Our current prophet is President Thomas S. Monson, who holds all the keys of the priesthood, just as each prophet before has. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lords kingdom on the Earth. It is true and it is living. Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Without him, there would be no hope, no peace, no point. Through him, is life eternal. In his name, amen.