Thursday, August 1, 2013

Purpose to Everything

The purpose of a missionary is incredibly significant - to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentence, baptism by immersion, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end.  Yet, there are times, when all your appointments fall through, few people are on the streets, and the few that are there don't want to listen, and no one answers their doors; that you feel like you are doing nothing as a missionary, just wandering the streets without purpose or direction.  However, I have come to learn that whenever we are on the Lord's mission, we always have purpose and direction, we just might not recognize it until afterwards.  For example, one day a member in our ward gave us a bunch of corn.  My companion and I knew that we wouldn't be able to eat it all, so we decided to take some to our investigator.  We both thought that corn was a strange gift to give, but figured that it couldn't hurt.  When we handed our investigator the bag of corn, she looked at us a little astonished and said, "How did you guys know that I love corn?!"  Another time, an investigator that had committed to be baptized needed to travel to the 'interior' to visit her brother that had become suddenly ill.  She told us that she didn't know when she would return, but that she would call us as soon as she got back.  During the week, we tried calling her, but the call kept falling through.  Without even putting much thought into it, my companion and I decided to pass by on a certain day that week to talk with her sister to see if she knew when she would return.  When we arrived at her home, there was our investigator sitting on the couch.  She had arrived the night before, and had tried to get in contact with us, but hadn't been able to.  Once more, we received the astonished question, "How did you know that I got back last night?"  The Lord is aware of every one of His children and their needs.  It doesn't matter if it is a simple act of kindness, or a small teaching or testimony that we share with someone on the street, Heavenly Father has a purpose for everything.  Sometimes, we are the only people that can pass a certain message for someone in the exact moment when they need it.  Perhaps that person will never visit the church, or accept our visits, but because we stopped to talk to them and share with them our testimonies, we had the opportunity to be the Lord's mouth and hands to bless the life of one of His children.
Yesterday, Sister Wofley and Sister De Paula (the two other sisters that live with Sister Meireles and I in Bessa) went to the chapel in Manaira to receive training and then to pick up their 'daughters' (new missionaries that were entering the field).  However, Sister Wofley and Sister De Paula had marked a baptism for that very night.  Not only would they be in Bessa to make sure that the baptism actually took place, but they hadn't been able to get the signature of the mother of the young woman that would be baptized.  Sister Wofley asked Sister Meireles and I if we could just pass by the home of this young woman and try and get the mother to sign and remark the baptism for Sunday.  When Sister Meireles and I passed by, the mother received us well, but told us that it was much to early for her daughter to be baptized, and that she wanted her daughter to continue to visit the church and in about 6 months or a year, then she could be baptized.  I began to talk with her, asking questions, and teaching her about the importance of baptism, all with the hope that she would have a change of heart and give her permission for her daughter to be baptized.  After we conversed, I asked her, "if your daughter expresses her desire to be baptized and shares with you that she truly received an answer to her prayer that this was the right path to follow, will you give your permission for her to be baptized?"  The mother replied that she would.  I didn't want to leave the house without the mother's signature because I knew how much Sister Wofley and Sister De Paula had gone through to get to this point, and I knew that it would be much easier for Sister Wofley and her new companion to return with everything resolved.  Yet, after waiting, and waiting, the daughter never showed up.  We ended up asking the mother if we could return at around 8:30 at night to see what they had decided and to get her signature.  She replied that we could.  At 8:30, we returned, this time it was the daughter who had some doubts and concerns about her baptism.  With a lot of silent prayers, and questions, we were able to reanimate this young woman about her baptism and resolve her doubts.  Even though we had to walk to whole way home in rain, we walked with smiles on our faces and the mother's signature safely in my bag!  This night happened to be the night of transfers.  Sister Meireles and I both figured that nothing would happen, so you can imagine our surprise with the phone rang and the Elder said, "There will be only a small change in Bessa.  You and Sister Meireles are working in Bessa 1, right?  Well, President wants you and Sister Meireles to switch with Sister Wofley and her companion."  As I hung up the phone, I began to think, 'imagine if Sister Meireles and I hadn't fought for Sister Wofley's baptism.  Imagine if we had selfishly shrugged it off and said, 'it's not our area, not our baptism; we'll just let Sister Wofley worry about it!"  Last night I learned an important lesson, the Lord's work is a group effort!  The success of one companionship is the success of all!  We are all in this together!  When we put aside our selfishness and do everything we can to build and lift others, helping them to have success and reach their potential, everyone is blessed!  I love this Gospel!  I know that our Heavenly Father is aware of each one of us and that He loves us more than we know!

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