Monday, July 7, 2014

Champion for the Cause: The Art of the Master

Sorry for not having a post last week. We were working on a video with our members that you can watch right here if you'd like before you read this weeks update. I think you will giggle a little bit. 

We love going to see our members. They have been such a blessing to us. They have been giving Elder Mac good opportunities to share the gospel in an environment where he feels comfortable. It’s been special to watch the spirit come in and touch the members.

One of the biggest parts of a missionary experience, however, is watching someone who is seeking truth and being blessed to give that truth to them. Then watching them grow closer to God because of it. I was feeling a little down, because we haven’t hit that point yet and we are halfway done. I really wanted Elder Mac to have one of those experiences. I got on my knees. I pleaded with the Lord. I asked him for ONE person. That’s it. One person that Elder Mac could teach and watch come to Christ through baptism. I prayed that we would have ONE special soul that really needed the gospel.

Fourth of July a little after one o’clock we get a call from the Assistants. They said Joanne wanted to meet us today. Joanne is a sweet 90-year-old lady that has known missionaries for the past 30 years. She loves her “boys”. She calls the missionaries in the Tulsa area EVERY morning, minus Sunday, to give them a weather report.  She also gives them anything they need! She has even given them her garage door code to come in and get snacks out of her freezer in the garage if they are passing by. For Christmas the mission President gave missionaries permission to go and visit her whenever. She was SOOOO happy for that gift. Now missionaries literally come in and out of her home as they please.

We arrived and she lit up when she found out we were “the brothers”. She has been dying to meet us since we got here. Finally after a month of being here that day came for her. She fed us some homemade apple pie. We sat around the table as she joked with the other missionaries and was just the sweetest. 

She wanted to go into the living room. So she got up and grabbed the leg of her chair to turn her fragile body and waddled over to her chair in the living room. It really was the cutest thing. We talked a little bit more then I asked if we could share a message with her. She said, “Well sure”.  I asked her if I could ask her three question and then share a scripture. She told me I could, but that she might not answer all the questions.

Me: “How old are you?”
Joanne: “90”

Me: “Why has God kept you alive this long?”

She told me about some of her ailments and the blessing it has been to recover from those and still have good health.

Me: “Why haven’t you joined the church yet?”

Joanne then told me that I needed to know that she didn’t talk about religion with her “boys”. She said she was always afraid that there might be an argument. She respected our religion and asked that we would respect hers. I was ok with that answer, however I wasn’t done.

I then opened the scriptures and read Jeremiah 1:5-“Before I formed thee in the belly I knee thee; and before thou camest forth out fo the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained the a prophet unto the nations. ”

Me: “Joanne, before we were all born we lived with God. He was our Father. He loved us and knew us. We also knew him and loved him. There my little brother…(chocked up) was told of the challenges he would face and he gladly accepted. You were also there. You promised God you would do everything to find his gospel and return back to him.”

I saw tears swell in her eyes and followed up by asking her, “Will you let us come and teach you the gospel of Jesus Christ?” I have never looked more directly into someone’s eyes then in that moment. She looked right back at me and responded.

Joanne: “No.”

I was very surprised at her response. I was disappointed, but not taken out. I was ready to be a little persistent. As I was finishing up my remarks I saw in the corner of my eye Elder Holyoak lean forward in his chair and turn his body toward our conversation. I could tell he had something to say. He did. So I sat back and listened.

Elder Holyoak: “Joanne, hold on. Don’t you realize that God is answering their prayers? They asked for someone to teach last night and this morning you called us and told us to invite them for pie. Joanne they aren’t even going to be here very long. They will be leaving pretty soon. I think you should give them a chance. “

There was a little pause then Joanne spoke up.

Joanne: “Alright, I’ll consider. What would I have to do?”

Me: “Will you give us 5 times to come and teach for 20-30 minutes?”

Joanne: “NO! NO! NO! You get 1 chance for 30 minutes. That’s it.”

That was it, 1 chance to share the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ in 30 minutes. Are we up for the challenge? You bet. We know God has come before our face and will lead us as we sound his trumpet of truth. He has been preparing and softening this lady’s heart for this special time. There is something she needs to hear and we will bring the message the Lord would have her hear.

She needs your fasting and prayers. We will be fasting and praying that for her as well, but also that we will know what she needs to hear. We have an appointment set up for Thursday. Please raise your voices with us to the Almighty God that she will be able to hear with her heart the message of the restored gospel.

God knows each of us. He listens to our prayers. That I am sure of.  I have been on my knees however and got up and received no response for months and even years. Does that mean he didn’t care then? Absolutely not. Did it mean I needed to grow more and learn to rely on him on a daily basis. Yes. No matter what we pray for He listens and teaches us through His timing. This time it happened to be quick. There was more answers to my prayer than just Joanne.

Our members have also been doing some great missionary work. There are at least 8 members that have someone by name that they have told us that they have contacted about the gospel. We received our first referral that we taught on Sunday and we have a dinner with a member and their friend this week. It’s truly a miracle. This is the work of the salvation. What a beautiful thing it is to see the art of the Masters hand.  

1 comment:

  1. I loved this story, it reminded me of my 93 year-old grandmother. What a great example you guys are, not only to Joanne, but also to the rest of the world. It's obvious she can feel the Spirit of the Elders who have come and gone in her life. Some people are closer to the Spirit than they realize. Perhaps that's because they are close to remembering the gospel from their First Estate. Everyone we meet kept their First Estate, that means they knew and understood Heavenly Father's plan. Our job is to help them remember something they already know. You are doing that well, keep going Elders!