Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Finally Home Again"

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 espaƱol 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 once been.
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 anywhere.
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 home again."

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment