Tuesday, 7 July 2015

God Moves in Mysterious Ways...

I remember the nonchalant chatter that took place only moments before - only twenty three minutes before curfew. My companion, Elder Bryan, and I were only supposed to be passing by - ready to leave any minute. Elder Bonner spoke on, I listened gleefully, and Elder Bryan approached through the gate just ahead.

That was when I heard it. Fear struck my core. Anxiety began to build up. My fingers gripped my scalp. And my skin began to crawl.

"No!" I exclaimed. "This doesn't affect us, Elder Bryan. Come! We're leaving!"

Again, our Zone Leader's voice broke through, uttering the most sinister, and terrifying wail; "What?!"

"Don't say that, Elder Klingler! Don't you dare say that!" my voice erupted.

After every attempt to flee, the district gathered together in the Family History Center, and he began calling out the names. I, I was wracked. I could feel it coming. We didn't need to be there.
"Elder Klingler, staying."
"Elder Nkomo, leaving. He'll be replaced by Elder Duffy."
"Elder Chitati, staying."
"Elder Allen, leaving. He'll be replaced by Elder Brown."
"Elder Sibeko, staying."
"Elder Bryan-"
"I just got here. Don't-"
"Staying. Elder Smith, leaving."
The ground below felt as if to cease. My strength gave in. And I, almost, fell to my knees. The room went silent. After a moment allowed to grab hold of myself, I walked. I left the room and made my pace, only to return a little while later. Nobody saw it coming.

Let me explain. Elder Bryan and I arrived in the Hillcrest area six weeks ago - both of us new to the area. Elder Bryan only has one month left on mission. I'm only four and a half months on mission (I should only be leaving my first area 'round about now). And the two of us had only begun, pouring our sweat and blood into every inch of the work this side.

I took a breath. A deep breath. "Not my will, but thine be done."

I called Bishop Bann, of the Hillcrest Ward, who was just as surprised as the rest of us. And that was when Elder Bryan said, "This is not going to go down well with the members."

That night, Saturday 4 July 2015, I went down on my knees, not wanting to go. "Why? Why did you bring me here, and then take me out so quickly? What did I do?" A tear went down my cheek. It was like I was leaving home all over again. And-- the answer didn't come.

The following day came and we prepared for Church, arriving early to follow up on the commitments we'd extended throughout the week. An investigator we'd been teaching came for the first time - and my companion and I sat next to a recently married part-member family.

It was then I realized how quickly news traveled as Haley Clark, a child from Primary, came up to hug me, not saying a word. Even still, there were many who did not know.

Then, President Zackrison walked into the room. "What is the Mission President doing here?"

My companion and I were asked to bless the sacrament, as if nothing was happening, and the fast and testimony meeting was opened. "But before we start, we'd like to call Elder Smith up to give us a few parting words. Apparently, after such a short time, he'll be leaving us."

I stood at the pulpit, for the second time - only one fast Sunday later, and began to bear my testimony. As I looked over, I saw tears veil the sudden shock. Even I began to choke up towards the end.

The members then went up one by one, each bearing their testimonies, with a common theme - missionary work. At the end, President Zackrison went up, mainly to ease the members' concerns, and as if to answer my prayer the night before. "I, too, am sad to see Elder Smith leave. ... I predict that Elder Smith will be in many areas for very short periods of time."

With the common mention, and whisperings of the Spirit, that I need to be in all those places, I was eased. Heavenly Father needs me to meet a number of His children who just so happen to be spread apart, from place to place.

I don't know how I feel about knowing this, but I trust in His plan. I'm glad to have met the people I've met, and to have been a part of the journey others are taking. On the 15th of July, Johann Van Wyk plans on being baptized here, in the Hillcrest Ward. May the Lord bless him and his wife, in our short journeys apart, as He continues to prepare the others we've met and taught.

Yes, God moves in mysterious ways. But His plans are perfect. He's using us and preparing us in ways we could never imagine. Never lose hope. Never give up. And never forget, God loves you more than you could ever imagine.

I look forward to what He has waiting in Kroonstad.

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