These past few days have been… eventful. But so wonderful! And testimony-building. I have never had such a determination to follow Jesus Christ and to serve my Heavenly Father. I have no doubt in my mind that this is His work, this is His church, and this is His gospel. It’s so beautiful.
I never thought it would rain in the desert, but when it does rain here, it is devastating! Last night we weren’t sure if we’d be able to get home. Even though it didn’t rain as much as it would back home, the Las Vegas area is shaped like a bowl, so the rain drains down to the lowest point. There’s only one main road to our neighborhood, and it was literally like a river of muddy water. It was so strange! I’ve never experienced anything like it. The other sisters in our zone have a car that’s trapped in one of the neighborhoods; we passed by that road and it is STILL blocked off because the water’s moving too fast. Everyone’s safe though, which is what matters!
Last week we must have tracted at least 8 hours, and we had about as many lesson cancellations with members or potential investigators. Though somewhat fruitful, it was quite an exhausting method, and we were starting to get discouraged. Nevertheless, we pressed on, determined to follow Heavenly Father’s will for us. I think that was the key – that in our prayers we’ve been changing from “please help us do this” to “help us to know and act upon Thy will”. Saturday made all the difference.
Though we were absolutely exhausted Saturday, and hadn’t eaten much all day, we found ourselves out trying to visit PI’s around 1:30. We were about to return home, when we stopped at a member’s home to follow up on his contact with an investigator of ours. Upon leaving, we prayed in the car that we would be able to do what He would have us to do. Sister K suggested we go visit one last PI. As we pulled up and parked across the street, we noticed there was an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair sitting in the open garage of the same house. Mustering all our courage and faith, we walked to the edge of the driveway. We introduced ourselves, and asked if there was anything we could do for him that day. He shook his head. About to walk away, I found myself instead walking a little closer, asking him again if there was any service, any words of comfort we could offer. At that, he nodded his head. We walked up and spoke to him words of comfort and peace – true peace. We bore our testimonies of the Savior and the peace He brings to our lives. The Spirit was so thick, President. We ended up teaching him about the Restoration, because we relied on Heavenly Father to know what he needed to hear. We left him with a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet, a commitment to pray to have that comfort and know that what we were saying was true, and an appointment for next Wednesday evening. He accepted everything, except for an invitation to church the next day, which was okay by us because his reasoning was “he wanted to read more first”. We left him looking through the Book of Mormon as we walked away. When I think about this experience with James, I can’t help but remember the preaching among the Zoramites, how there was no success with the proud and the rich, but when the poor were humbled and in need of comfort, they sought after the Word being preached to them. I am so grateful to have had that experience, and so humbled.
The spiritual high we received after this lesson was so phenomenal. We stopped a little ways down the road to say a prayer of thanks. And as we left to drive home for lunch, I was seeking for the Spirit to guide me, should there be anything else He would want me to do. We turned into another neighborhood, where another PI lived. Thinking this was why He sent us there, we stopped and tried to visit, a pamphlet in hand. She wasn’t there, but her husband accepted the pamphlet with our phone number. Thinking our work there was done, we got in the car again. A burning feeling that we needed to do something else kept us in the neighborhood. (Sister K later said she had no idea what I was doing, but felt prompted to trust whatever it was I did. How interesting!)
We went on a road with no houses, to get to another side of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, I did not stop and park next to the brick wall to walk, not knowing where I was going. I decided we could just go down that road I felt pulled towards, and see where it was He wanted us to go. In my pride, I couldn’t tell where it was to go, so we looped around, and we ended up going down the same street as before. This time I literally HAD to stop. I parked, and looked, and had the strongest feeling about a certain house. I humbled myself enough to follow this prompting, thankfully. We prayed, and walked to the door, excited that we might have that same experience. At the last moment, Sister K noticed a BYU sticker on the van in the garage.
Some little boys opened the door, and we asked for their mother. She let us in, and we chatted for a little. Then I admitted to her that we had no idea why we were there, but we knew we were in the right house. She almost teared up when she said, “I know why you’re here. I needed a little uplifting today.” Feeling her loneliness, even with a smile on her face, we offered to share a scripture. As we sat down at the table and started with a prayer, I still didn’t know what we were going to share. I turned a few pages in the scriptures, and stopped when it felt right, as I often do. With a prayer in my heart that I would be able to say what she needed to hear, I turned to Mosiah 12:21-23. Though the only reason it connected and was what she needed to hear was because of the Spirit that permeated the room, I felt so strongly that Heavenly Father really, truly loves His daughters. He knew she was having a hard time, and that she needed to know that He was truly watching out for her. So He sent His trusted servants, however young and inexperienced, to show her that He does indeed see her pain.
I am so grateful for this experience as well. I don’t know if this is how it should be, but I believe this was the most influential experience I’ve ever had on my mission so far. To know that in the future, or even now, Heavenly Father is watching over me just as much as this sister, is absolutely astounding to me.
I have a great testimony of Heavenly Father’s love for me. I know that He will always do what’s best for us, and if we submit ourselves to His will, and His way, we can find greater peace and joy than we can ever imagine.
Called to virtue, Called to serve.
Sister Kayla A McDonald