Heavenly Father speaks to His children in different ways and this week he spoke to me through the testimonies of others.
The Gospel truly changes lives. Sometimes it takes a humbling experience to remind you where you're at and where you want to be.
In church these past couple of weeks we changed up our regular routine and decided to go into Young Womens instead of Relief Society. When we walked in last week there was only one young women there. She has been absent for quite a long time and so the Young Womens teacher was actually unprepared with the lesson because she didn't think she was going to be there. The young girl was quite and unresponsive when the teacher was desperately trying to get her to participate. Sister Bennett and I did our best to try to help and teach and keep the lesson going but it's safe to say that the young girl didn't get much out of the lesson because she didn't really want to. The next week she had the opportunity of going to FSY (EFY for Albania). She seemed a little excited about it but you could still tell she wasn't sure about the whole thing. To our excitement this week she was in church again. We came to Young Womens again because we were excited to hear about her experience she had in FSY. We expected to hear that it was really good and there were lots of good talks and good people, but I didn't think what she would say would touch me as much as it did. She went on to talk about the literally life changing experience she had there. The whole first 15 minutes of class this young girl told us her conversion story. Not her conversion story of when she was baptized at eight into the church but her REAL conversion story that just started. She didn't go into detail about what she heard or learned but she told us the effect that it had on her. She told us she had been absent from the church for awhile with a little testimony and not a whole lot of desire to come to church. After her experience she came back and was able to take a whole other look at her life and where it was at and where she wanted to be, which was not where she was. She told us she dropped a lot of friends, she changed her thinking, her actions, the music she listened to, everything. The girl that was talking in church was not the same girl that was there last week. This girl now had the light of Christ. You could tell she was repenting and doing the best she could to change her life despite what was going around her. She lost her friends and her family didn't really understand why the sudden change and she told us she didn't really feel like she had anyone to talk to but she had Heavenly Father and it made all the difference. I guess her experience really touched me because I knew how she felt. I felt her happiness because I had been there. I was never able to see my change personally but seeing her change put things into perspective and I was able to see things more clearly. It strengthened my testimony even more. You could tell it was still hard for her even though she was now on the right track. Things don't automatically get easier and all of our struggles don't disappear, but one thing I do know is that we are happier when were doing the right thing. Like Henry B. Eyring says "If you're on the right path, it will ALWAYS be uphill."
To start off our week we got a call from one of our faithful members telling us that she has someone that wants to have a lesson with us. We immediately went over to her house to meet with this lady and had an awesome lesson about the Restoration and Heavenly Fathers plan for us. She found a lot of comfort in our lesson and was excited to have us back again. The amazing part of this story though is about the member. This particular member started doing service for the people that live around her. She started to clean the neighborhood, without getting paid and without being told to. She did it faithfully because of her desire to serve others and her family so that they could have a nice environment to live in. The people around her started to notice and they thanked her regularly, every time they would see her. She told us that she saw this as a way to share the Gospel. As people saw her service and invited her over for lunch she decided to talk about the Gospel with them. About why she does what she does and why she is as happy as she is. She had gotten to know the people around her and through her service they were more open to hearing about the Gospel. It doesn't end there though... This lady has started taking lessons, but the member hasn't stopped serving her. The woman takes care of her Mother who is getting very old and she cant be left alone for very long. The member generously offered to help her out. It started with just a few hours of going over to help her out but has turned into staying the night some nights to help out her friend. Her service didn't stop because she did her job in inviting her to learn, it continued and still continues. I learned a lot from her example of selfless service and I'm just so grateful to the fact that I have such amazing people and examples around me.
As a missionary people think that we know everything and we just teach people but really, its God who teaches us through other people and I really saw that this week. There is not a week that has passed on my mission that I haven't learned something new. My testimony is strengthened every day and week by my experiences, the people I meet, and the things I go through. I guess all I really have left to say is that I love my Heavenly Father so much. I cant imagine my life without communication with Him.