31 JANUARY, 2016
Alma 26: 26 But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls.
27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.
I had the opportunity to plant many seeds throughout my mission and witness several powerful conversions. When I say conversion, I’m not just speaking of being dunked in the water, but applying the principles of the gospel to one’s life and rekindling the promises you made with God.
one experience was on OCTOBER 3, 2015 My trainer and I thought we’d visit a man that we door knocked a few weeks ago and had such a great experience with. He hadn’t requested a return appointment for us to teach him, but was super nice. We arrived at his doorstep and he was super excited to see us again (thank goodness- I thought we’d creep him out). I read him President Monson’s “Welcome to Conference” address from April, and invited him and his wife to watch it this weekend. He told us that after we had visited with him a few weeks ago, he went into his house and told his wife about who we were and what we talked about for those 15 precious minutes. His wife counseled him, saying “Why didn’t you direct them to Devin? He’s been looking for the answers to life since he’s been alive.”
Chris explained to us that “Devin is a night owl and lives in that small house in our backyard. It doesn’t have a driveway or anything.” Talk about sketchy. For those of you who know me, you know I have a wild imagination. That night, I laid in bed thinking of the worst possible outcome. We hardly knew Chris! And this kid conveniently is only awake after 7? Yeah right.
After conference the next day, we thought we’d go visit this young man that Chris had referred us. I was so nervous.
We walked into the backyard toward the shack that stood still. I took a deep breath and knocked on the paint peeling door. 5 seconds later, the door opened. A young man around 20 years old held the door open with one hand, balancing on his crutches. He was significantly shorter than my companion and I (although, we are above average), and had cerebral palsy from the waist down. He was overjoyed to see us and invited us in. I explained that we had some rules that would require us to stand outside, but invited him to grab a chair for himself. He insisted on standing. So stood and for 45 minutes, teaching him the Plan of Salvation about resurrection. The Spirit was so strong. It began pouring rain. I immediately thought of President Uchtdorf’s council in the most recent Women’s Conference.
“Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven… In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.”
How true that was. Devin thanked us over and over again, and invited us back.
A few weeks ago, we had a lesson with a woman named Joyce. She said she doesn’t need an organized religion because she’s her “own church.” The Spirit prompted me to ask her what she thought the purpose of church was. I was going to ignore the question, but ended up going for it and she said it was to fellowship and continue to learn more. I thought about how many members of the church think the same thing, and that’s why when they get offended, it’s so easy to leave. I’m not quite sure what I said after it, but it was purely the Spirit of the Lord. My companions told me later. “Christ did not build a building while he was here on the Earth,” I began. “He taught wherever he walked, whether by a river or on a mountain. The organization of the church is purely for our benefit- for each member to complete the things required to live with God again. We attend church to partake of the body and blood that was dripped for each of our sins, and to remember the sacrifice that He made so that we could be renewed and refreshed throughout the week as a better person. This is symbolized by bread and water. We have the opportunity to gather as brothers and sisters in Zion and worship the Almighty God of Israel!”
A few weeks ago, we had a lesson with an investigator named Joyce in the the hospital. She’s been fighting the gospel and I could totally relate. I gave her the example in the Bible where the father brought his possessed son to Jesus Christ for Him to heal. This man had hope, but he struggled with deep faith from within. Christ, knowing our hearts perfectly asked the father if he believed He could heal his son. Quick to respond on the impatience of his soul, the man replied “yes.” The Son of God looked into the eyes of the father with hope- hope that he’d humble himself and trust a little bit more. The man wept. “Help thou my unbelief.” I told Joyce it was okay to pray to our Father in Heaven for help. I told her that God hasn’t created strong minds and free spirits to mindlessly follow along. But he gives us gifts to be leaders and to make a difference. That was it. I remembered why I came on a mission. I had forgotten for 9 months. I smiled and said, “now isn’t that comforting? There is no reason to fight anymore.” She just cried. “I know what I need to do to change.” Later that night she texted us thanking us for the visit and said she felt like she was getting her feet washed by the Savior Himself. my companion Sister Foster had been rubbing her legs through the whole process because of her Mitchell’s Disease.
I learned so many things on my mission. One of my favorite parts was the relationships I was able to form with so many members. Though it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, it was also the most rewarding. I learned so much from so many different people!
I know that the church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints is the only true church on the earth and that the restoration the book of Mormon are golden signs of God’s love. There’s no need to fear for God’s plan for our happiness is perfect. This church is led by the Almighty Christ himself. We are not forgotten. We have a prophet on the earth to prove that to us. I love this gospel and I love this work. I am not ashamed – for I’ve kept the faith and find a good fight. ONCE YOU KNOW THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, THE NEXT THING IS TO BE TRUE TO THE GOSPEL. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.