Time is short, but there is just enough time for me to share an experience with you that Elder Kwang and I had this past week. Often times, when one hears the term missionary work in the context of the church, an immediate image of 2 Elders in white shirts, ties and tags comes to mind, in other words, 2 missionaries doing street contacting. But there is an important aspect that is commonly overlooked – the necessity of missionaries in fortifying a ward of already-members, and the great efforts that missionaries place in heping those who have lost their faith in Christ come back to the gospel. That was one thing that we discussed as a district a couple of weeks ago, that we have begun focusing on in greater depth.
Elder Kwang and I decided to do some less-active finding one evening. We did not have much time because of an upcoming appointment, but we went to find out if some of the people whose names were on the wardlist but had not come to church for years were still living at the addresses that were recorded. One of them was a sister member who had not come to church in the last 7 years. We went past her building but did not see her name on any of the letter boxes. We called the number once but nobody picked up the phone. So we decided to pray and ask Heavenly Father for help on what we should do next since there was just 20mins remaining before we had to return to the Visitor’s Centre. The though came to call her one more time. She picked up. After speaking to her for a while, she began telling me about how she had lost all faith in God simply because her life was terrible. She had a terrible job, had not been able to return to her home Bulgaria because she was always working, and just did not feel like there was any hope in her life. She also said that she was sick for the last 2 weeks, so I asked her if she would like us to giver her a blessing, which she agreed to.
The next day, we met her at the Visitor’s centre as we had scheduled the previous day, and after giving her a blessing, we began talking to her about her life. She recounted how she had graduated 7 years ago with a PhD in Comparative literature, wrote several books and publications, and despite all that, had been trying for years to get a job as a professor. She was working as a substitute teacher in not a very good highschool, and simply hated the life that she was living. She said that she had felt alone and stopped praying and reading the scriptures because she did not feel like anything helped. It was incredible because I was able to share my experience about how I had tried for 3 years to try to improve in my swimming, and yet only saw myself getting slower and more frustrated each time I was unable to see the results that I had worked for. I was able to share a scripture with her that really helped me during the times of difficulty and at the end of the short but spiritual lesson, there was light and a glimmer of hope in her eyes once more. She said that for the first time in a long time, she was able to feel peace and hope despite her lonely and defeating situation. She said to us, “Thank you for calling me yesterday, I am really grateful that I could talk to somebody who could understand, and find my faith in Heavenly Father again.”
Yesterday, she came to church again for the first time in 7 years and ate with us at the Covert’s home, where Brother Covert was able to share a powerful testimony of how he too had difficulties early on in his career before becoming a professor at Stanford. She thanked us all for the wonderful weekend and said that she had felt the love and the warmth that she had been missing for a long time. She had a smile on her face once more.
The gospel really brings hope. And through this experience, I have learnt how my mission is really divinely inspired. I am being led everyday to meet the people who were specially prepared for my companion and I at this very exact moment. What are the chances that I would have an experience relevant to this sister’s difficulty, and that there would be a member, Brother Covert, who has been through the exact same trial. I know that the gospel is true, and that there are really no coincidences.
Till next week,