Well... I'm officially the worst blogger ever.
In light of coming home in just 3 short weeks, I need to "get the show on the road" here.
There's a lot of things I will really miss about missionary work. MANY THINGS. More than I can count. But I think perhaps most of all is meeting so many people from so many walks of life. Now, I know I can still meet/get to know people without being a missionary, but it's different out here in the mission field. Trust me.
My companion and I have been
able to meet so many people and hear each story. We wanted to record
these stores in the hopes that they might inspire others as much as they
have inspired us.
Everyone has a unique experience with God. Here is just one of the many sacred experiences someone has shared with me:
(Para leer esta historia en español ve a hermanaporternysouth.blogspot.com )
The missionaries knocked on ____'s door when she was ten years old. Her
family quickly accepted the gospel and she was baptized not too long
after. In the years that followed she continued to faithfully attend
church and youth activities.
Shortly after she graduated from high school she married her sweetheart
in the Manhattan temple for time and all eternity. It was then that her
life's journey would take an unexpected turn. Not too long after her
marriage she began questioning the testimony she had gained in her
childhood. "Who am I? What am I doing here? Do I only live this way
because my parents forced this on me?" She decided she needed to explore
her desires and make a change. Leaving the church seemed to be the only
way she could find her "true" identity.
Weeks turned into months, and months turned into years.
The occasional family event would bring her to the church building, but
because of her decision to resist the gospel she felt only anxiety and
discomfort any time she was there. It was no longer her "home" as it had
Over the next five years she lived day to day. Wake up, go to work, pay
the bills, rinse, repeat. She had good days and bad days like everyone
does. But, was this really it? She couldn't help but feel that her life
lacked meaning and purpose.
On one occasion the missionaries serving in the Brentwood ward were
visiting her family. One of them looked her in the eye and asked a very
simple, direct question.
"Why don't you come to church?"
She had no answer.
This question wouldn't leave her mind.
"Why don't I go? What have I gained by leaving?" She discovered then
that in leaving the church to search for control and independence she
found only loneliness and emptiness. She had become a spectator in her
own life... going through the motions and never actually getting
She had enough. There was again need for change.
"But how? After all these years? How can I possibly go back now?"
She related the following experience:
"I'll never forget the day I went back to church for the first time. My
husband drove us to church. As we neared the building I felt a panic
attack coming on. I could hardly breathe and all I wanted to do was turn
around and go back.
By the time I got myself under control and walked into the chapel the
meeting had already begun. The congregation was singing the opening
hymn. I still to this day, can't remember what the hymn was but in that
moment the words spoke so strongly to my heart. I knew I was finally
Going back to church after five years of inactivity was anything but
easy and it required complete humility. Although she had made the
decision to go back, doubt still crept in. There were moments of
frustration for her. "Do I know for sure if the church is true? Why
don't I feel as sure as others?" She so badly wanted an unwavering
conviction that what she was doing was right, but still felt unsure of
this step in her life.
When the frustration overwhelmed her and she felt her new found faith
crumbling, she decided to go to the only place in her house where she
could be alone: the bathroom. As she closed the door she dropped onto
her knees and poured her heart out to God. She asked Him for a
confirmation of the decision she had taken to return to church. She
wanted to feel that what she was doing was right for her. As her prayer
ended, she waited for a wave of peace and comfort. But there was
nothing. As tears came to her eyes she noticed something; her thoughts
were telling her exactly what she wanted to know. The answers she had so
earnestly sought after had been in her mind all along. God had answered
her in a way she could understand.
A week ago, my companion and I were in a lesson. One of the members
teaching with us shared her testimony with such power that the Spirit
bore witness to all who were there that what spoke was truth. That
member was THIS dear friend, who made the challenging but eternally
rewarding journey back into the fold of God.
All of us have had moments of doubt and struggle that we can overcome.
Know that you are NOT alone in questioning or doubting the faith you
have come to love. We all experience trials but when we trust in the
Lord He will guide us safely home.