Monday, November 18, 2013

Faith and Hope

Another seemingly short week in Mississippi. The time flies - especially around the holiday season. Of course, as I previously lamented, it doesn't feel as if it's winter at all. But, when some of our members started playing Christmas music and it was dreary and raining outside? It certainly felt like Christmas time! It does make a little home sick to hear "I'll Be Home for Christmas" when I'm out and about - sorry, I won't be home for Christmas. Or the next one. But serving a mission during Christmas time is the best because you truly learn what Christmas is all about. I've started to see a difference in attitude in everyone as they realize the season for remember Christ's birth quickly approaches. It's lovely to see the difference, yet it's sad that I have seen one - we should be living the spirit of Christmas during the whole year, not just two months of it! 
Excuse me while I stand on my soapbox. I'll get off it now.
We were able to teach Evan earlier this week and it has topped off all the other lessons I've ever taught. Brother Oelke said that he'd be able to come and it was a perfect fit - they're both Sea-bees and are in the same unit so they had the chance to build on common ground and easily become friends. 
Sister Devenport and I walked in fully intending on teaching him the plan of happiness. Yet, when he expressed that he hadn't read Alma 32 (the chapter we left him to read previously), we completely threw our plans out the window and sat down and read it together. As we all read the verses, Evan would occasionally ask us to stop so that he could be sure that he was understanding what he was reading.
Then, we got to Alma 32:21 - "And now as I said concerning faith-faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." 
He turned to us and said, "There must've been something lost in translation here. It's basically saying that faith and hope are the same thing - I don't like that. Hope isn't good enough. Hope isn't strong enough."
We sat there for a moment, not exactly knowing what to say.
I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. But I opened up my mouth and began to just talk, letting the Spirit guide me. 
The Spirit (not me, let me reiterate that. Not at all me) said, "Remember a time when you were walking in the light of day? You could see every step in front of you - you knew the ground was there and that you were safe. Sometimes though, the light fails us and we can't see the ground. We walk to the edge of the light and stare at the darkness. We don't know that there's solid ground to stand on. We hope that there is but we don't know. That's where faith comes in - faith is taking that step into the darkness, having faith that either there is solid ground to step on, or that we will be taught how to fly in that moment. Hope is the feeling. Faith is the action."
As that was said, I saw a few tears fall down Evan's face. Here he was - a grown man, in military garb, tattoos up and down the arms, smoking a cigarette with a tin of chewing tobacco nearby. Being touched by the Spirit. That there is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Not being a respecter of persons. Touching the hearts of anyone who is willing to listen and humble enough to apply it.
When we left that evening, he said that he was going to start praying and reading more. He promised us that he'd do it because he truly needed it. 

Later this week, we had the chance to teach Nick. What a wonderful and amazing experience! Walking into that lesson, Sister Devenport and I both knew that he was ready for baptism - he was so very ready. We began by simply talking about baptism and the power of the Holy Ghost. Halfway through the lesson, we asked him what he thought about being baptized.
"Well. I know I'm going to be baptized. I know that."
Then, we began to address the when. He said that he wasn't sure when yet and we asked him, "Why delay the blessings you could be having now for later?"
Finally, Nick said that he would begin to pray about a date and would have one for us next Friday. The whole time, I was so thrilled to see his humble nodding as we talked to him about the sacred ordinance of baptism and the effect it would have on his life. 
Hopefully by Friday, Nick will have decided on a baptismal date and he will take his first step towards eternal life. I couldn't be more thrilled. 
I've loved watching his journey in the past few months and watching him grow in the spirit of truth. It's amazing to see the change that the gospel has on others and seeing the light come into their lives. 
The Spirit of the Lord is great. It truly is. I cannot deny that this is the true gospel. Just like Joseph Smith said, "I knew it, and I knew God knew it and I could not deny it nor dared I do it." 

All my love,

Sister Sarah Michéle Durrant

No comments:

Post a Comment