Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Moments in Time

It wasn't what I expected, and I'm still not sure that I'm used to it, but this is His work, and the little moments in time are the ones that matter most. From not knowing what to do, to unplanned, unexpected highlights of note. In the end, the Lord speaks, "Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation." (D&C 58:3)

It started on Monday, at the mission home with President and Sister Zackrison, and an on-the-spot Family Home Evening message for the Newcombe-Bond family. He looked at me, and I at him, What are we going to teach this family? We need to make this count. And, as a tender mercy, the idea came to me an the verse to him - inspired by the Spirit. We grabbed their attention, and even got the kids to think.

"Can I even do it for my sister?" Katrina asked, as we extended the invitation.

On Tuesday we offered service to the Holtzhausen family, hauling out branches coated in thorns, offering the same for their neighbours at a later date. Afterwhich, we went to McDonalds for lunch before our first long list of appointments in the area. Another blessing from the Lord, out of nowhere. We met a guy named David, for the second time that week, and after a long chat with him and his family he invited us to scouts that Friday evening (he's the assistant scoutmaster).

The day continued as we got to know a few less active members, witness the dedication of a home, and end with a powerful lesson on prophets with our, then, only investigator. Developing a relationship of trust is one of the most important things we can do, after helping them develop that relationship with God. Still, I am surprised at and grateful for what they're willing to share.

Wednesday came and we were able to sign up to volunteer at the local hospital, being assigned to the Occupational Health Department (another tender mercy of the Lord). We were able to meet a couple of people who knew a little bit about Latter-day Saints and offered the opportunity to assist with spiritual upliftment between and after therapy sessions, in addition to our assistance with patients and other activities around the hospital. We even had a good conversation with a local Jehovah's Witness couple proselyting in the parking lot.

On Friday we ran into a wall, with service in the morning and attempted tracting in the area later that day. Suffice to say that we should've just listened to our local Bishopric and Stake Presidency when they said "You shouldn't have even tried."

On Friday we had our first lesson with a new investigator who shared with us much of her current trials and challenges. Following the Spirit, we were able to speak the words she needed to hear and share with her a portion from the Book of Mormon which led her to say, "I needed to hear that." She took a copy of the Book of Mormon after we closed in prayer, along with a pamphlet of the Restoration.

That night was scouts and, to be absolutely honest, I had no idea how that was going to be of any benefit to us and our purpose as missionaries. However, as we arrived, David (the assistant scoutmaster) introduced us as "The Americans volunteering for their Church as missionaries." We were able to speak to many that night as the activities went on, and have others see who we are. David was really impressed that we showed up, even offering an extended invitation for the Friday nights to follow, and the scouts were more than excited to talk to us about absolutely everything. We were even able to meet the kids of a less-active family we'd been trying to get a hold of. We planted a garden that night, more than just a few seeds.

Then was Saturday. A day I won't likely forget, but an experience I probably needed. We met a man a the Shongweni Market who vehemently opposed LDS theology - in fact, he outright opposed all forms of organised religion, excluding his own, nameless, underground group of true disciples. As I found the first opportunity to begin speaking, he immediately cut me off and began his attempt to tear down every foundation of my belief and testimony. He told me that God was testing me, and that I failed. "You didn't have anyone to talk to. If I was there, I would've stopped you from making this grievous error." Even that God did not love all His children.

His opposition just reminded me of how important, and dear, my testimony is, and the words of a hymn came to mind (The Time is Far Spent).

"Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you;
The weight of your calling he perfectly knows.
Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you;
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose."

I left him with a thought as we shook hands to say goodbye, "If we don't ask Go, how can we really know?" And his absolute refusal to ask God (as he never had) set in stone that his words couldn't be true. God loves us. I know this. He answers prayers. I know that too. I am where He has purposed me to be. That I know without a shadow of doubt.

We had a lesson with the Duma family that evening that granted me the opportunity to answer questions they had about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Restoration thereof. Questions to which I had answers. Things which I knew and felt to be true. We ended with bearing our testimonies, each of us smiling and committed to work harder at finding people to share this beautiful gospel with.

On Sunday we received a phone call from the new investigator we met with on Friday. The joy expressed over the phone was more infectious than anything I know. She said that after our lesson everything changed. She read the pamphlet cover to cover, reads the Book of Mormon every opportunity she finds, that the joy she felt was like nothing else, and that everything was going so much better than before. "I am a witness," she said.

It was a great week. Next week I'll tell you about how I took my companion to visit at Hillcrest Family Church, and the phenomenal encounters we had there. Apparently one of the ladies I was talking to was flirting with me like nobodies business. But that's a story for another time.

God loves you. Remember that. Never doubt that. He knows you and cares for you more than you could ever imagine.

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