"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the coming of Jesus Christ" - 1 Peter 1:7
In past weeks I wrote a little about the trials we have been facing here. For about 2 weeks me and my companion have had some extremely difficult trials in the work where we didn't know why things weren't working out or what was going on. But now I see that those trials truly have become one of the most precious gifts of my entire mission.
Nearing the end of those two weeks me and my companion Elder Redd realized we were at a wall and didn't know where to go or what we needed to reach for. We prayed and pondered and we felt like if we could just reach for our mission president's standards of excellence then that would be what we needed. So we decided to reach the best we could.
But then we realized how far we were away, how much there was to do. And I realized, not for the first time, but maybe most powerfully I had ever realized on my mission, how incredibly much we needed to rely on Heavenly Father and how much we needed His help and His power. It became not just a catchphrase or something we say in our head, but don't understand in our hearts.
It sunk to the depths of my soul.
I started praying like I haven't really before for His help and guidance, putting my heart and soul on the line. And I feel like I finally am coming to understand not just in my head, but truly in my heart how weak I am, and how much I am dependant on Him.
And since then in the last few weeks I feel like my heart and soul has changed unbelievable amounts. I have felt the gospel enter into me deeper than ever before. The most fundamental gospel truths have become more important to me than ever before. Me and my companion together have started to understand what this work is all about more than ever before. And it has been amazing.
I have come to feel and see more and more what it really means to be a disciple of Christ, to be His soldier, His servant here. And frequently that feeling overwhelms so much that I almost weep at the gratitude I have to be out here. At night or while I bike I have been overwhelmed with emotion at how amazing it is that He lets us be part of this work.
Like this last week. Me and my companion were biking, but got lost. So we, at a decision point, prayed where to go. We felt like we should go a certain direction and set off. Then partway there we saw a neighborhood and I felt strongly "We need to house there" So we stopped and started housing. After getting off our bikes we saw a staircase and also felt, "We need to go up that staircase" And so we did, not sure where we were going or why we were here.
We started housing and the third door a man came out.
"I know you. You are mormon!" He said. (in english)
"Yeah we are we!"
Turns out this Japanese man had met the missionaries 40 years ago and taken the lessons and gone to church then stopped there. He then moved to america and didn't have contact with the missionaries after that.
Until 40 years later, his dad passes away. He comes back to Japan for the funeral. He sees the body and wonders "Where did my fathers spirit go?" And within a few days missionaries show up at his door.
"I don't really believe in God, but you showing up at my door right now, even I think it's kind of weird" He told us.
At first he didn't seem like he really was ready to hear our message saying "Oh I have your book I don't need it. I'm okay"
But we testified to him of the plan of salvation sharing Alma 40:11 from the book of Mormon and the spirit came. We felt it right there. And we asked if we could come back to meet again. To our suprise he said,
"Yes come back. Here's my number call me." and again as we left, "Don't forget to call me!"
And we are going back tomorrow.
After we left we felt like we were on clouds. Wow. God truly guided these two young kids. Isn't He amazing?
We still have trials, we still struggles, but I now know. He is there. And this truly is His work and we truly are his servants.
And I am overwhelmed with gratitude.