I don't really know how to describe this week. It was incredible, yes, but also crazy! But I guess those are both good things...
This week was AMAZING!
We had an incredible zone meeting and had the opportunity to learn at the feet of prophets, seers, and revelators on Wednesday during a world wide missionary broadcast. I have learned so much in so little time!
Also on Wednesday, I had the opportunity to learn from Sister Reece. She is a powerful missionary with an incredible testimony of this gospel. I learned so much!
Early Thursday morning, though, we got a call from President Slaughter, informing us that Sister Johnson would be leaving the area immediately and I would be receiving a new companion. We were not expecting an emergency transfer, and after a whirlwind of packing, I found myself in the driver's seat of our Ford Fusion with a new companion, Sister Kirkman. She will be my companion for the rest of the transfer and I will be finishing her training. This was not something I expected to happen ever. It has taken a lot of prayer, but we're working together and the Lord is with us every step of the way! I am humbled by this sacred trust from the Lord, and I can feel His hand guiding me.
Our first night together, we received a phone call from the man I talked about last week (the one who lived in the less active member's apartment and allowed us back to teach his family the Restoration). He asked us if we could come over that night, one night before our scheduled return appointment. We went by and taught them and they committed to be baptized on February 13! Sister Kirkman bore powerful testimony! It was great! We went by again on Saturday to teach them the Plan of Salvation and they loved it. They have wonderful questions and I can hardly wait for their baptism. At church yesterday, Sister Stephens (the mom of the family) told us that she has been looking for something all of her life and has finally found it. THEY LOVE THE GOSPEL AND IT'S ONLY BEEN ONE WEEK! The Lord is preparing the hearts of His people!
We were part of a small gathering recently in which subjects for sacrament meeting talks were being discussed. Each member of the group gave suggestions, and eventually it was my turn. Without having to stop and consider my response, I answered: "The Restoration." Almost immediately the group was in a quiet uproar. "Do you think there's something we're not teaching our classes?" "Is someone struggling in their testimony?" "Why would you make that suggestion?" I waited for the group to get over their initial shock before I responded. As members of the church, especially if we grew up in member families, we are taught the Plan of Salvation so often that we can almost mouth the words our teacher is saying when we are taught about it yet again. We are taught that we must have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end almost before we can walk! But how many times do we just glaze over the Restoration, making it seem as though it is just another event in church history, instead of the reason FOR church history. How often do we forget that the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the second greatest thing to ever happen on the earth? If we can come to understand that, and help others understand, our testimonies will be built on the solid bedrock of truth!
The blood of the Restoration flows in my veins.
The fire of the Restoration burns deep within my bones.
As a missionary, I have come to know my loving Heavenly Father, who has taught His children His gospel since the very beginning. I have come to know my Father who chose Adam to teach his children the gospel. In like manner, He chose Noah, Abraham, and Moses to lead mankind and teach repentance.I know our loving Heavenly Father who sent His Only Begotten Son to not only lead us and teach us repentance, but to make repentance possible. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can be saved (see Mosiah 3:17).
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul talks of a 'falling away' that must happen before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This falling away happened, and we call it the Great Apostasy.
I have come to know my Father who, after the foretold falling away, has called prophets today to lead us and teach us repentance.
President James E. Faust said:
"What has happened to David’s living God? It is the greatest insult to reason to suggest that God, who spoke so freely to the prophets of the Old Testament including Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and the other prophets, now stands mute, uncommunicative, and silent.
We may well ask, Does God love us less than those led by the ancient prophets? Do we need his guidance and instruction less? Reason suggests that this cannot be. Does he not care? Has he lost his voice? Has he gone on a permanent vacation? Does he sleep? The unreasonableness of each of these proposals is self-evident."
God does not sleep.
He has not left us alone.
He will never leave us alone.
Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ when they appeared to him in a grove of trees near his home. They did indeed call him to be the Prophet of the Restoration. Through him, Christ restored His gospel. We can learn of it's fulness today.
After enduring ridicule for his testimony, the Prophet Joseph said:
"...I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it..."
Joseph knows it. God knows it. And I know it. And I will never deny it.