This week I had a touching experience with Hermana C. As you have probably realized, we have been working hard and seeing very few results of our efforts in the past weeks. But, after the trial of your faith comes the miracle... This Sunday we passed for about ten investigators and no one wanted to come to church, so we went by ourselves to go take the sacrament. When we got there, there was a 15 year old kid sitting there in the congregation in his blue jeans and tee shirt. When we talked to him he explained to us that his name is D and that a few years ago he listened to the elders, but later had to move away. He still had his Book of Mormon and told us that he was faithfully reading and wanted to be baptized now that he lives here again.
So obviously we went looking for him that same day. When we got to his house, he wasn't there. But, his older brother M received us. There wasn't a woman in the house so we couldn't go in. Instead we huddled together in the cold rainy street and began teaching him the first lesson. When we got to the first vision his eyes welled up with tears and he looked at us and said
"I felt something really good in my chest when I heard that.... I really want to know if what you are telling me is true. But I think God is trying to tell me that it is."
We testified of the truthfulness of the restoration and then asked him to say the prayer to finish the lesson. He was a little nervous and explained that he had never prayed before but agreed to give it a try. This was his prayer..
"God, thank you for sending me these sisters to teach me about the truth. I really want to know if what they told me is true, but I felt in my heart that it is. Please let me know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. I want to be baptized on the 17th, please help me prepare, I am ready to change my life."
The Spirit was so strong, and I just felt incredibly grateful that I have this opportunity to be here and bring the truth to the people of Guatemala. It is moments like this that I am reminded of all of the anxiety and fear that I felt before coming out on the mission. Honestly, there was a while there when I didn't want to come, but I am grateful that I did. This is the best decision that I ever made in my life.
I know some people started reading my letters from my blog post "You Don't Have to Freak Out" and now that I have a year in the field I testify that really, there is no need to fear. When we live righteously and follow the guidance we receive from God, we really do see miracles. This decade of decision thing truly is terrifying, but I know that as we seek the guidance of our Heavenly Father, he will direct our paths. There is a scripture in Jacob that I absolutely love reading with investigators who are beginning to doubt the answers they have received to their prayers. It reads...
"The Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be, wherefore these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls."
The Spirit does not and cannot lie. Thus, when we live righteously, we qualify ourselves to receive personal revelation from our Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit. We won't receive this guidance all at once, but it will come. I think that a lot of times as humans we want God to hand us a detailed instruction book or a blueprint of everything we need to do, but God doesn't work like that. He requires our faith. He will grant us the guidance we need line upon line and precept upon precept.
Personally, I love the example of the Brother of Jared. When The Lord was going to destroy his people, he cried unto the Lord to save them. For his diligence and his faith, The Lord granted to him according to his desires. In the first chapter of Ether we read the instructions that God gave to him
"Go at the head of them down into the valley which is northward. And there I will meet thee."
The Lord didn't promise to walk with the brother of Jared down into the valley, but He did promise to meet him there. Likewise, God always requires action on our part before we can see His direction. Frequently we must make those first few steps into the darkness before we can be further illuminated by the Holy Spirit.
God has found me in my valley. He has met me there. Those who have been reading my letters know that my mission has not been easy. I have battled parasites, dengue, falling in holes, trips to the hospital and many disappointments. But, the mission is an experience of joy. The mission truly is those best 18 months. It isn't the best because it is the easiest or that it is always the most fun. But it is the best because it draws us closer to The Lord. It teaches us who He is and helps us become like Him. The mission doesn't change us, the atonement does. But being here has helped shape me into the person who God wants me to be.
But I first had to go into the valley. The Lord requires ACTION. But when we act righteously, He will always guide us. So really, there is no need to fear.
I am glad I came.
I testify that God will meet us in the valley when we move forward with faith.
Just like he is going to meet Hermana C.... Who received the call to train this next change....
I am going to be a grandma, people!
But I will be staying here in SE. Pray for M and D!
Love you guys!
Until next week!