Took a little 211 mile trip this past week.
In a little valley surrounded by mountains on all sides, Elder Knighton and I visited the town of Halfway. We had traveled through Hells Canyon in order to get there and it was a beautiful drive. We arrived and visited a few people and attended the Pioneer Day celebration that they put on at the church. Everybody loved seeing us, which was quite humbling. They don't get to see missionaries too often and so everyone wants to feed us and introduce us to their friends. I love branches in the Church!
Elder Knighton and I have been pondering quite a bit on faith and desire and how its tested in each of our lives every single day. In missionary work, it's especially true. We see how it is true in the lives of the missionaries that we help. In each district meeting that we attend we usually give announcements that pertain to logistical and administration stuff, but the best ones are those given to help inspire and provoke inspired thought and action. E. Knighton and I were praying to know what was needed to be brought up in the district meetings this past week and the Spirit directed our thoughts to the tests we receive in all their many forms (sickness, rejection, lack of motivation, death in a family, etc.) and how we overcome them. Currently, the missionaries are doing really well and increasing in so many areas of their work and their own personal lives. However, the Spirit helped us be aware that despite those successes, there were trials and tests which would try to undermine the missionaries' progress and bring them down.
So, we brought it up in district meetings and the responses validated the inspiration we believed that the Lord had given to us, only through us asking for it. Now, we are more prepared for and aware of those things that would oppose. Opposition is necessary and the only way true growth can occur. I am grateful that the Lord has provided a way for each of us to get through any trial and test that could come at us and that is revelation.
This past week, we had several experiences that humbled us and helped us learn even more that we must rely on God. We were able to get through only by seeking for and trusting that God would reveal His will to us through the Holy Spirit.
We met with Cindy again this past week. Her struggles have been in recognizing answers from God and thus, recognizing the Spirit working in her life. I realize now why I am one of those teaching her, because I have struggled in the same area throughout my life. This visit with her was nothing short of miraculous. She has many health struggles and is clinging to hope in a new medication that she is on which could help eliminate much of the painful symptoms she experiences. However, it won't be known until after two months if it will work long-term. At the same time, we have begun to witness a shift in her hope and faith in Jesus Christ. She has told us in the past that she can't prove that Christ died for her sins and pains and weaknesses. However, as she has been praying and reading the scriptures and coming to Church, she has noticed a difference in how she feels towards Christ, though she usually explains it away.
In this visit with her, we again were discussing Christ and His Atonement and how we remember Him through the sacrament. We told her how the sacrament blesses us with the Spirit and gives us strength for the week to come. Very quietly, as my companion spoke, I felt a prodding to promise a specific blessing to her. It was a very solemn, yet wonderful promise. I asked myself if I had enough faith to tell her and I prayed to know if what I was feeling was coming from God. The Spirit filled my heart, assuring me that what I could promise Cindy was indeed from God. As I began to speak, I felt the Spirit backing up every word I said. I promised Cindy that if she would show her faith and hope in Christ, whatever she had of it, and partook of the Sacrament each week over the next two months, the medicine would work. The Spirit which was there was overpowering.
I don't know medicine. I don't know Cindy's specific health problems. I don't know how the medicine will take care of those problems. I don't know much. But I do know that God is a God of miracles and that those are manifested both spiritually and physically. Miracles occur in response to faith and are meant to strengthen faith, but not be the sole foundation of faith. I have faith that God will work a miracle in Cindy's life and by the responses Cindy has been giving throughout the past week, I believe she has faith as well. I made that promise to her only by faith in God. I acted by faith in what the Spirit told me to tell Cindy. It is by that Spirit that I know God revealed His will to me. I'm so imperfect and there is no way that I, in my own power and intellect, could have done or thought of any of what I've just shared with you. God is in it. I know it.
I was getting sick and stressed this past week. Through the same Spirit of revelation, Elder Knighton gave me a blessing. It was very simple, not many words, but powerful. It helped me throughout the rest of the week.
I am so grateful for the examples that each of you have given me in unique and important ways. I have learned from them and I hope that I can continue to magnify the responsibility I have to continue to stay true to them.
I hope you each have a wonderful week!