A story for the first take-away: On Monday night last last week, we had come out of a lesson at the church at 8:20pm, which led up to us reaching home at 8:55pm. At that moment, as we were walking towards the door of our apartment building, as thought came to mind. Elder Coffee, one of the Assistants to the Mission Presidents (AP) who has long finished his mission, once said, “Always talk to one more person before going home.” So, with my companion, we heeded the thought and walked along the street around our place, talking to everyone around us, in the hope that our efforts would be fruitful. With no more than a minute to spare, we stopped a mother and her daughter who were coming back from their grocery shopping. We talked to them about their beliefs and before we knew it, we were sharing the message of the Restoration with her and gave her a Book of Mormon. She was really interested in the restoration, because she said that she always wondered if there was a living prophet today. We set another meeting with her and we will be seeing her today! I know that Heavenly Father blesses us as we continue to work in faith. Most of the time, we do not realise how far we have gone, and sometimes we are just at the brink of a breakthrough. Persevering to End is such an important principle. Also, this experience made me appreciate how wonderful it is that I can always tell people that they can ask from God for themselves if the Book of Mormon is true and whether Joseph Smith is a real prophet, because truly, our Heavenly Father will give the answers to all earnest seekers of truth.
For the second take-away: We have an amazing amie named ZhuYing. She had been meeting with the missionaries from time to time over the last year and a half, and only until recently really accepted the gospel with a desire to find out if it was true. She has gained a strong testimony of Jesus Christ through the restored gospel and has a great love for the Book of Mormon. It was during a lesson with her that she said something really profound. The previous commitment for her was to reflect on her life and to repent of the things that she had done wrong in her life and to pray for a desire to change. As she talked to us about her experience, she said, “As we pray for our needs, sometimes, comfort comes not because we know we will receive them, but because our hearts are changed because we know that in fact, we don’t really need them.” I had never thought about that before, and it struck me to the heart like a lightning bolt. Truly, pray helps us align our desires and our hearts to the will of our Heavenly Father. Today, she her desire to get baptized in 3 weeks remains strong.
This week, however, because most of our amis were away either busy with year-end examinations at university, or away with family for a vacation, or away for work, we did an incredible amount of street contacting, or talking to people on the street, to find those who were ready to receive the restored gospel. We spent more than 15 hours on the street talking to people and trying to find that one person. Our president, President Poznanski, gave each companionship in the mission a commitment to find one person during the month of June who would be ready to be baptized. I reflected on that commitment a lot this week and realised that President Poznanski set that goal because he knew that there were people in every one of our villes who were ready to be baptized. I received a spiritual confirmation that there was somebody out there waiting. Well, with that strong conviction I headed out with Elder Teh everyday to find that one person. And with the month of June drawing to a close in 2 weeks, it seemed almost impossible. Nevertheless, we knew that people who are ready do not need a lot of time, just like my very own dad, who met the missionaries and was baptized in 3 weeks!
Unfortunately, despite teaching several lessons to people that we met, and receiving some contacts, the people we met just did not seem like they would be ready by the end of the month. Well, yesterday, Elder Teh and I had the assignment to take care of the Visitor’s Centre. We decided to start the 4 hour shift with a prayer, telling Heavenly Father that we had really done all we could to find this person, and that if it be His will, someone would come into the Visitor’s Centre prepared to receive the gospel. About 20 minutes later, a Mauritian young man in his 20s came in. He said he came in because he really liked the paintings of Jesus Christ that were in the Visitor’s Centre. We talked to him and presented him the Book of Mormon and shared the first vision of Joseph Smith with him, and he was really interested to hear the message. We set a meeting for this morning, and gave him couple of chapters to read from the Book of Mormon. This morning, as we shared 3 Nephi 11 on Christ’s visit to the Americas after His resurrection, he said,” I want to be baptized and I know that the restoration is true, because I prayed yesterday and felt really good about it.” My companion and I almost could not believe what we heard, but we knew that what he said was really from his heart. We set a baptismal date with him for the 29th of June.
Miracles really do happen. And just as Mohandas K. Gandhi said, “It is for us to make the effort. The result is in God’s hand,” I know that Heavenly Father has always and will always provide a way for His work to be accomplished.
The Restored Gospel changes lives eternally. I see it happen everyday.
Bonne Semaine a tous!
(P.S. President Wilson, the Stake President from my ward back at Stanford came by church here yesterday! Life is full of great surprises.)