Tuesday, October 9, 2012

EVERYONE A MISSIONARY


Jeremiah 16:15-17
15 But, the Lord lives, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, said the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
When I heard President Monson's talk about changing the ages, it took a few minutes for it to sink in.


So, when the Prophet made the announcement this past General Conference of the changes  made concerning Missionary Service, I was like “OK”, big deal. But as I listened more and as I saw the  camera’s pan out in the congregation and I saw the people’s reaction to that statement, I thought to myself: "This is Big”, you know the B to the I to the G; BIG."  My next thought was that the Lord has amped up the game; a pre-emptive strike has been shot across the bow of the forces of darkness in this world. And then later, during the press conference with Elder Holland, who was so excited, he said he was “Giddy”. He said that “The Lord’s work is hastening on.” At that moment, I wanted to be a missionary, I wished that I were a 19 year girl or at least I wished for a 19 year old daughter who would prepare to go.
But I also realized that this is more than raising the age bar so to speak, it is a line drawn in the sand. I realized that this should motivate everyone to step up their "Missionary A Game; I needed to step up my game. I made a short list; first I would like to do something to help those young men and women who would otherwise struggle financially, so I am going to give to that cause. Second, I am going to open my mouth and be a witness.

Earlier this year, I challenged myself to speak up about my faith, I considered that the ultimate test of my bravery, would be to offer a book of Mormon to someone; now that sounds easier said than done. I work at a Catholic Hospital, where proselytizing if off-limits. I can just barely manage a Temple screen saver on my computer. Sometimes it can be hard to talk about the Bible to people. Can you imagine a scenario; “Say I was reading in the book of Genesis the other night, and did you know that Moses had a short temper? Yeah, he had a short fuse, but the Lord chose him anyway, despite of that.” But believe it or not, I found myself in a conversation  just like that. The Lord is good and his mercy endures forever. 

For good or bad, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is having a moment. And I think that “moment” allows for “those people” who are searching, to become a little braver, and actually seek out their “local” Mormon’s and ask the hard questions. One question directed to me was, “Are you guys Amish”? I asked them why they thought that, they said;” "Well I see that the guys are always wearing white shirts and ties. Do you have to wear them all the time?” Wow, what a good lead in to talk about serving in our church.

One of my co-workers has been literally “investigating” the church in stages. I invited him and his wife to the visitor’s center for a "Why I Believe" program. I offered to connect him with Missionary’s; I even invited him to visit a local ward in his neighborhood. Nope, nope, and nope; so I backed off. But I prayed for him because I knew he was seeking.
One day he asked about Joseph Smith, he wondered why he was so controversial; Wow, what a talking point, I shared with him the verse in James 1:5-6 and how this verse helped to guide Joseph Smith to pray and ask Heavenly Father, the desire of his heart.  I gave him a link to Joseph Smith.org. I invited him to read my blog; it is not an official church blog, but it represents me as a Latter Day Saint and my testimony. I have invited many people to read it, because in it I share my faith.

So finally after almost a year of many questions and explanations, I am sure that I inadvertently taught some of the missionary lessons, I offered to give him a Book of Mormon. He said, “You are giving it to me, what if I pay you?” I told him it was free. So it took about 2 months for him to receive it, I had it in my desk. So earlier this week I got a call from him. He said, “You know, something told me to call you.” I said, I think you may want to come down and pick up your book of Mormon. He said, "Yeah, that’s right. I will be right down." He came and picked it up, and it was amazing how excited he was to start. 
Isaiah 60:1-3Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.   
       
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