It was a really awesome week here. There are two things in particular that I'd like to share from this week. It's not something you've never heard before...but it's something that has been so re-occurring on my mission, that I think the Lord is really trying to tell me something. He's made a few particular messages very clear to me, because I think He never wants me to forget them. For this week, it is these two principles: 1) hard work and trust in the Lord brings miracles and 2) this work can not be done successfully without the help of members!
So, I just wanted to share some cool stories to illustrate. So we had planned to go have a FHE with a sister in the ward, but unfortunately she cancelled right before we left. So, we did our back-up plan instead, which was to try to go find a potential ami that was referred to us. Well, we get to her apartment, and after getting through the front door, there's another door that is locked that has no way of opening unless you're a resident with a key. So, we just said a prayer that someone would come in or out the door so we could slip in. As soon as I had said the words "amen" a lady came through the door, allowing us access. God is so cool! But, it gets better. We then knock on the ami's door, but there was no response. So, even though it's not super enjoyable, we decided to knock the door's of the apartment residents there. That usually doesn't turn out well, as people don't like being disturbed.
We knock a few doors, getting a few "not interested" responses. One really sweet lady opened it and then sadly gave us the same answer, and so we started down the stairs as she closed the door. Half way down, she opens the door back up and yells out, "wait! Ok, ok, come on in." So we go in, and end up teaching this lady for a good while. She was extremely curious and open to all we taught her. She kept telling us that she felt a "light and peace" with us, and she wanted us to come back. She even made out a little snack bar for us after a while because she didn't want us to leave. It was pretty cool to see how and why God puts us in the places He does at the very moments He does. Every little action throughout the day is done by His hand, so that we're working on His timing, in His way, with those He has prepared for us. When we think all is going wrong, or the future prospects don't look to be the most favorable, that is when He is setting us up to receive the "witness of our faith." If there were no test, there could be no reward.
A million more cool things happened this week, but the last one I'd like to share is the wonderful work of a family who really understands what it means that "every member is a missionary." Their name is the family Orieux, and they are some of the most jovial Africans I've ever met. Out of the goodness of their own heart, they invited us over with our ami Veronique and her children. We taught the Tree of Life vision to help Veronique see that it is through following the gospel path that she will find true and lasting happiness. This lesson wouldn't have been nearly as powerful without the Orieux's help. The dad drew out the whole vision and explained it step by step. They related personal stories, analogies, and taught her in a manner that I couldn't have. They could see things from her perspective as fellow parents, and since they come from the same culture. They related with her family in ways that I can't. Especially important, they opened their hearts and home and made her feel loved and important. They became genuine friends.
I'll let everyone in on a missionary secret...We are instructed in Preach My Gospel to teach with members in every single lesson if possible. We also keep numerical record and report to our president how many times in a week we taught with a member. Why do we care so much about this? Because every single person who has entered the waters of baptism has also entered the ranks of the Lord's army! The Lord's army needs people of every walk of life and every background, because they will be able to relate to someone who is searching for the gospel in ways that others cannot. The Lord knows that. Yes, as His full-time representatives, we the missionaries are set apart to be able to teach with power and authority. But God also gives us instruction as to how we will teach with this power and authority, which is why He asks us to teach with members. You are the key! You are set apart with power and authority to teach too! And you stay! Eventually, we will leave, and these amis need a friend they can continuously turn to when they are in need. Please be that person to the investigators in your ward! I must admit, I prefer the French word for investigators--"ami." That means friend. Look at these children of God as your friends, and I promise you'll be able to make a difference in their lives. We often say that a missionary is called to a specific area to meet certain people. This is true. But have you ever thought about the fact that you are in the specific area that you're in because the missionaries have a certain someone who needs you? I promise you this is how the Lord works. This is the way! Join the ranks.
Have a great week, and a very Happy Halloween! Go do some work for the dead ;)
Soeur Shields 🎃