Have you all seen The Lion King? That’s the song I’m referring to. Google the lyrics real quick and then you can read the rest of this e-mail.
The highlight of my mission happened on Tuesday. I don’t care if I’ve ever said before. We went to go have lunch with our recent convert, Anne, and wanted to get her thoughts on what happened on Sunday. A little background information: Anne was very nervous about the act of being baptized itself; she’s about 6’1″ and was worried she wouldn’t be able to bring herself back up after she went down in the water. Anyway, as we walked in she said, “Oh, girls! I forgot to tell you something about my baptism! I can’t believe I forgot!” So of course, we sat down pretty quick. Anne very quitely explained, “When I was getting up out of the water, I felt lots of arms on my back pushing me up, and people saying, ‘Help her up! Quick, help her up!’ and it was like I didn’t have to do anything. It was so easy!” We had to pick our jaws back up off the floor before we could respond. I finally said, “Do you know who they were?!”…”Um, the Holy Spirit, I think?”…”Those were your ancestors who have been waiting for hundreds of years for you to be baptized for them.” Her eyes got real big and immediately she asked what she had to do for them to feel the same way she felt. (Yes! It takes action on our part! She gets it!) We explained baptisms of the dead and how she could do that. We told her that her parents and grandparents have been talking to the missionaries, just like she has, but in the spirit world. But instead of setting a date to be baptized, they had to wait for who knows how many years. You could see the sense of urgency in her face and said, “We have to get this done right now!” We explained even more of our purpose as missionaries, and how she could do exactly the same thing that we are doing, but for her ancestors. It was an extremely eye-opening experience for me, especially since I realized that I didn’t just help Anne get to the Christ, I helped hundreds of other people get to Christ–through one person. Family History is serious business.
Back to the lyrics–now did that make sense? Our ancestors are literally living vicariously through us. That is the importance of getting a body. That is the importance of temples. That day got even better when immediately after we went to Anne’s home, we all went to her cousin’s home (who isn’t a member) and talked to him and his less-active wife about Anne’s journey to the Church. The less-active wife re-committed herself to come to church, and together, they’ve been studying three chapters a day in Gospel Principles. Their ancestors have obviously been working really hard.
On the way home, Sister Torres and I were still soaking up what we just heard. She pointed out the scripture in D&C 84:88–“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” This is coming from a woman who, before this experience, knew little to nothing about the spirit world…and now she knows more about it than I do. We just had scripture and revelation to back it up. But what we didn’t have, was the experience. Experience is the true teacher. I am now constantly praying for experiences that will keep me close to our Heavenly Father.
So obviously, spiritually–I’m doing great. Why am I doing great? Because I’m challenging every question that comes to mind. Everything I hear (like that) I ask Him about it. At the perfect time, He answers them for me. (For example, “Heavenly Father, is this whole thing true? Then turning straight to D&C 18:2, “Behold I have manifested unto you by my Spirit in many instances…wherefore you know that they are true.” Oh, duh. Thanks.) I’ve noticed that most of the time however, He answers them through other people. I got probably the best letter yet on my mission from a family member. She obviously put a lot of prayer and thought into it, because she directly answered my question and helped me realize that I wasn’t only blessing the lives of the people in my area, but I was also helping the people outside New York, just by recording my everyday life. It was a huge confindence bootser–being confident in the fact that Heavenly Father doesn’t waste His time, and that I’m doing the right thing. He is going to inspire little old me to say something that might let that person think of what the Spirit needs to teach them–regardless of if that’s exactly what I said or not. Everything we do needs to strengthen someone around us, even if it is through something as seemingly insignificant as an e-mail. In D&C 108:7, “Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings.” Remember: it’s not me, it’s the Spirit. I just do what I’m told.
I noticed that I haven’t said anything about Steph lately…she’s on fire. I wish I could just bottle up every single thing I hear and tell it to you. My favorite recent quote from her: “I contacted the Spirit and said, ‘Hey, if you’re not busy, can you come and just comfort me for a sec?’ And He DID! How doesn’t everyone know about this?” Yep, Steph, we’re all wondering the same thing too.
Anyway, the week has been great. Definitely the most spiritually eventful weeks I’ve had out here. Just yesterday we got another phone call from Anne asking the details of how to pay her tithing, and then at the end of the conversation said, “I am just so ecstatic! I just can’t thank you enough for helping me find the truth! I’m just hungry to read my scriptures every night.” If you’ve noticed, those are almost the exact words Christ used. Hungry. Anne was hungry. She now has a backbone, a rock, to base the rest of her life on. She’s so much more put together than she was when I first met her nine weeks ago. Especially from all the past trauma she’s been through in her life…the fact that she can say, “I’m just so tounge-twisted, I can’t put into words the happiness I feel,” is one big fat miracle. THIS IS THE TRUTH YOU GUYS.
Please keep your prayers open for missionary experiences. The missionaries in your area don’t know the community like you do. All you have to do is pray about and introduce your friends to go to a fireside, mutual, Family Home Evening, anything…and we will do the rest. And one more thing, can we commit ourselves to go to the temple on a regular schedule? Once a week, once a month, once a quarter…anything. Immortal missionary work is just as important as mortal missionary work. Because then, they live with you.