The Lord knows each and every one of us. Our thoughts and worries and struggles…He has felt them too. More and more I realize that God cares about the one and will stop at nothing to help them get back on track if they have been lost. That is why He came to this world.
From time to time, I have fallen into a common trap that Satan has for missionaries. When missionaries see a convert that goes away from the fold, the enemy of all righteousness tells them that their service was in vain, that the person is doomed to an eternal destruction and all sorts of other nonsense. Honestly, it is pretty tough when we see a child of God who has made covenants go astray. One almost falls into the trap. It has happened a few times in the mission for me. But I have seen so many examples that are contrary. This week I received an answer to my prayer, a prayer I have had in my heart since about a year ago.
When word had gotten to me that my converts Carlos and Fatima had moved from La Borgoña about a year ago, I was worried for them. They moved to Pochomil where there is no church and barely any members for over an hour and a half in bus. Apparently they had been meeting with a few other members in a makeshift nucleus. That at least comforted me for a while until about 8 months ago when I heard that the nucleus was abandoned. The only way that people could go to church was in bus and the trip would be both costly and long. The family had nothing they could do. I have thought about them weekly since then and prayed that they might be strong and that they might keep the faith. They are special to me and I know that the Lord has something really special prepared for them. Since my time in the office I have tried to contact them and there was no luck. I had no phone number, no direction, no member that could talk to them and I certainly couldn’t go look for them. I was stuck. The only thing I could do was pray. But the Lord was preparing the way for them to come back, little did I know.
In my normal routine of coiffure duty in the office, I took the AP to La Borgona for the District Meeting they were having since he didn’t know how to get there. I began talking with one of the members that I always worked with there and it was amazing to feel of her faith again. I suddenly felt prompted to ask her about Carlos and Fatima. Perhaps she would have heard something…it turns out that she did. They had returned to La Borgoña for a few days to see how things were with their house and she had seen them that day. They were right there! I was so excited. She we took a quick detour and went to see them.
I can’t adequately express the feelings I had when I saw them from about 30 feet away. Fatima did a double take and she beamed from ear to ear. Then Carlos walked around the corner and gave me a big hug. I didn’t want to let go. I had had to let go for so long from them and they had been left out to dry. I just wanted to protect them and help them and make sure that all was okay. We entered the small house like I had done so many times over a year and half ago. The house almost looked the same, it just didn’t have their possessions inside. But the spirit was there. That I can say.
They began to relate the long, sad story and history of their struggles in Pochomil. The families who had participated were overtaken by pride and worldly desires and shortly after they had moved there the nucleus was nonexistent. They explained to me that they always read the scriptures and that they had all of the manuals but that it just wasn’t the same. They had been trying to find a way to make things work out but their faith was hurt by their circumstances. They shared with me how the Lord had been blessing them with work and how they were now expecting a baby and how so many things were going well. Then Carlos´ mom died. They were looking into how they could make things work. In that moment, I asked them to bare their testimonies. It was an amazing experience to hear of their conversion stories from their own mouths. They both know it is true! We read 1 Nephi 3:7 and Fatima remember the scripture and she testified that the Lord would help them go to church, even if it were only from time to time as circumstances permitted. They committed to go to the temple and resume church activity. We said a sacred closing prayer.
I walked out of the lesson in awe. How did the Lord know? How does He make things work out like that? I too can sing the song ´´I stand all amazed.´´ He knows them. He heard my prayer. He helped me be there at the right time in the right place. I was so thankful. I said a silent prayer.
God will never abandon us. Our trials will be but for a small moment and then we will be rewarded for our sacrifice. The family will come back. I will be in their sealing. I know it. Satan´s traps never work out.
May we be in the right place at the right time, always!
Elder Grant Russell