retell in a story I've already told, but it's worth it.
When I was in my second transfer, a woman named Y. called
us and demanded to meet immediately. In that moment it was dumping
rain and as a fresh missionary I did not want to go out to meet her.
But we went and stood outside a convenience store that she designated
and slowly got drenched. My fingers were beginning to wrinkle when a
twenty something with hair down to her waist approached us.
Why did she want to meet so badly, so suddenly?
All she wanted to do was prepare for the Second Coming of Christ.
Y. became a good friend and listened up to the second discussion. At
the end of our last lesson (at the time I didn't know it would be our
last) I led the way to our church by bike. Finally FINALLY we had
earned her trust enough that we didn't have to meet in broad daylight
in the middle of some public square to talk to her. When we arrived at
get church the outright friendliness of the members and sheer spirit
was enough to back her into a wall.
"I feel so good!" She kept telling me over and over again.
Well transfers happened and when a person is as deathly shy as Y.
new people are game changers. My new companion scared her off. Soon
after that I transferred and I thought Y's chance for baptism were
hopeless. I kept up with the list of friends getting baptized all over
the mission and never saw Y's name pop up. I prayed like mad but
once the companion I had in that area returned to America I thought the
chances were slim. When sisters were removed entirely from that area I
lost all hope.
But then, of all the areas in the mission, of all the Mormons across
the world, of all the last names in the whole universe, an Elder named
Elder Goldsberry gets called to the Japan Tokyo Mission and is sent to
this area. His third transfer in, he gets a phone call from this very same
Y. Who knows how she got the number of the elders but who cares
because she asked if there was someone named "Goldsberry" and the
person on the other line was able to say yes. I know Y, and I know
she's strange. She is so painfully shy, it literally paralyzes her.
She's so eccentric, it's an obstacle. I know for a fact that if any
other elder had been on the other line she would have simply hung up.
That would have been the end of her progress in the gospel. Maybe
after another year she would have worked up the nerve to call again
but after another year. She agreed to meet with the elders, solely
because this elder's name was Goldsberry. She was really confused when
two young men showed up instead of a loud Latina and to this day she
thinks this elder is my brother, but what a break through!
I don't know anything about this elder, but If this Elder Goldsberry
were to go on to never serve in any other area but my second area, if he was
never let in another home, if he never saw another baptism, (don't
worry, many major successes will indeed come, I'm writing
theoretically) even if he went home tomorrow I will always believe he
is the most accomplished missionary in all of Japan. God used him to
bring Y back. God had planned this all along, knew that Elder
Goldsberry had to be next to that phone that day. When I first met
Y this kid was still in high school. Even though he had no idea he
would end up in Japan, Tokyo, God knew, and found him worthy to be the
channel of salvation for my friend Y a year down the road. Elder
Goldsberry saw with his own eyes the Book of Mormon I gave Y all
that time ago and saw all the marks she had made in it. I'm sure she's
read the whole thing through. Maybe more than once. I know when he met
Y he felt a special spirit just like I did when I met with her.
Maybe it was the only miracle he saw that day or that week or that
transfer, but it's the miracle of my lifetime.
To me it's proof that God cares for and watches over His children. He
doesn't just give us one chance, but thousands. There are no strikes,
no cancellations, no last tries. God loves Y and wants her to be
baptized just as bad as I do, if not more. He has a vision of her in a
white dress, spending quality time with Him in the celestial room of a
temple. He knows her and loves her.
God took three transfers of my mission I've always looked back on with
regret and turned them on their heads. A lot of the success that I had
in my second area wasn't seen by me. God treasures each mission, each area, each
missionary, and each day served.
My number one fear after I finish my mission is comparison. Heaven
forbid I hear others' mission stories and begin to compare it to my
own mission and feel bad. I pray for a kind of confidence that isn't
shattered by anything someone could say. My favorite hymn lately has
become Rock of Ages:
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labors of my hands
Can fill all thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and thou alone.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown
And behold thee on thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.
My mission is only awesome because God made it that way. Even if I
gave it all I've got, spoke the language perfectly, and talked to
every single person in my area, if God's not in my mission that's a
pretty stinky mission.
Missions are more than preaching. Conversion is so much more than convincing.
A member yesterday shared with me at church this research project done
on missionaries. Nearly everyone could do things like teach correct
doctrine and recite the discussions, but those things didn't
necessarily bring conversion. Not many missionaries however could
teach by the Spirit and teach with love and determine needs and those
were the kinds of things that brought conversion. Those are all gifts
from God. Only God can accept my mission and only Christ can hide all
my short comings and mistakes made on my mission. Christ is who makes
me a successful missionary. I couldn't make myself a successful
missionary if I tried with all my might.
I love you all! Every missionary that includes God in the work is AMAZING!
See you soon,