My sister, Andrea, wrote to me this week about 3 levels of faith:
The first level is the faith that God exists. Over the past few weeks, Elder Kwang and I have been eagerly trying to find people who are ready to receive the gospel. With Easter that just passed a few weeks ago, we were able to use the special ocassion to talk to people about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what it means for us. During our street contacting over the last few weeks, we sure talked to a lot of people, and I mean, A LOT. We definitely learnt a lot about the different perspectives that people have about their lives. In fact, the question, “What is our purpose in Life?” is a great one, because it gives us a wealth of information about the character of a person, and the way they view their life and their current situations. Many people often responded that they did not know and that they did not care to know why they were here. They said that they were satisfied by living day to day and enjoying the happiness that comes from their achievements at work or school. But, after there is no more school or no more work, what is left? I have found great comfort in the fact that I know, through the many experiences in my life, that there truly is a God, not a God who is a stranger, but a God is our Heavenly Father, who wants us to progress in this life so that we can learn to become better. Knowing that my Heavenly Father loves me means that I have a divine worth, that I am somebody important to God, and that when death comes, I will not just be a memory. I will be able to live with my family again. Everyday is full of purpose simply because of this simple yet important knowledge. I try harder to be better, I aspire to greater things, and I know that with Heavenly Father, I can reach the potential that He has given me.
The second level of faith is faith in God’s plan. Last week, I had an exchange with Elder Cottle. I love exchanges, because miracles always happen. Although we had planned to meet one of the amis that we are currently teaching, it turned out to be an entire day of contacting because the ami had ended up having to postpone his meeting with us. Well, as with all things in life, there is always a reason for everything. Elder Cottle and I knelt down and prayed before we headed out that day, asking Heavenly Father to guide us to the places that we needed to be in order for us to work effectively and find the people that we were supposed to find that day. Without prayer, finding a person is really like looking for a needle in a haystack. We tried to envision the places that we needed to be that day. Elder Cottle said that he saw a 5 in his head, and all that came to mind were 2 train stations. We departed from the apartment and headed out, contacted the first person. Rejected (it is funny how rejection is really an everyday thing that it really does not feel bad at all. haha). Then I had the impression to head to the 18th secteur of Paris. Looking at the map, we saw that there was only one metro stop in the 18th secteur which had the Metro line 5 – Stalingrad. So we headed there. We got there, and within 5 minutes of contacting people on the street, we ended up talking to a person who readily accepted the message. As we talked to him about the resurrection as well as the Restoration of the gospel, tears started to well up in his eyes. We left him with a prayer and I am sure that he felt the Spirit in those short minutes. We stopped to say a prayer again (because we planned to say a prayer every 30 minutes) and before we opened our eyes, a man ran up to us saying that he was a member of the church in Portugal who had lived here for 12 years but never went to church. He said that he had really wanted to come back to church. We gave him the address, shared a small spiritual thought, and yesterday, he came to church! Anyway, to cut the long story short, later that night, we found a family who we fixed another appointment with and found another new ami. It was really great to see that as we tried to listen to the spirit, and as we prayed, we were led to the people that we needed to find that day. 7 hours of contacting was long, but it sure was worthwhile. So, just like that, God truly does have a specific plan for each and every one of us. The goal is always the same – for us to return to live with Him one day, but with the gospel, we find far greater joy than if we were without it.
The third level of faith is the faith in God’s timing. Soon, in this mission, we will be having a new mission president – President Babin, whose ward I served in during my first 3 transfers here in Paris. President Poznanski told us that he felt impressed that we should raise our sights and that as a mission, we should set a goal of having 125 baptisms before July 1. This is definitely an achievable goal. After all, each missionary in Paris is here for a special purpose. Each missionary is called to serve specifically in Paris because there is work here that only they can do. Well, as a district, we decided to pray together this past Tuesday during district meeting and set a district goal for the number of baptisms. We strongly felt that 9 baptisms in the next month was the goal that we should set. Of course, this would require a huge effort on our part to raise our sights and to work more effectively and follow the spirit more. As district leader, I knew that we were going to be able to achieve this goal if we were going to work the best we could to do all we possibly could. We decided to fast every week on Sunday for this goal, and the ward here fasted with us for this goal yesterday. I know that God inspired our President because it was something that we could do and it was according to His timing. I know that as we have strived this week, we have seen the miracles unfold. Currently, we have 6 running baptismal dates before the end of this month, and Roger, the retired philosophy professor who one of our amis, has his baptism next week. Roger is a great example of faith and diligence. He has kept every commitment we have given him over the last 2 months. 2 weeks ago, after receiving a lesson on the Word of Wisdom, he told us that he had tried to stop smoking for many years but could not. We gave him a priesthood blessing and told him that we would pray for him everyday. Since that time, he has not smoked. He said to me yesterday, “I know that God lives and that the authority of God is restored because it has changed me.” Although the 125 baptisms is a number, each person is a valuable son and daughter of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not easy to live, but God blesses us as we strive to do what is right. Life truly becomes better.
I know that Heavenly Father has placed me in this part of His vineyard for a special purpose. I am grateful for every minute, and most of all grateful for the chance that I have to be a part of this work. I know God lives. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church with the fulness of the gospel restored, and with the Authority of God. I know these things because I live the gospel and have seen it change my life and the lives of others.
Have a great week ahead! One more week till I get to Skype with my family!
Bon Continuation à Tous