The Lord has been revealing to us a pattern of the way He is working here in our area. Over the past month, we have had numerous experiences where our intentions on helping specific people have been augmented by our Heavenly Father's greater vision and we have been recognizing that process. For example, one night we planned on seeing a couple who are struggling with their activity in the Gospel. We had knocked a few doors in the area and said hello from a distance to a guy walking his dog. We didn't see much success and started heading over to this couple's home. We didn't feel good about actually going and visiting with them. Then the guy with the dog came by again and we started talking to him. Elder Ainsworth recognized him from another family in the area that we have had no success in contacting and discerning their interest in the Gospel. As we talked, the Spirit brought out a work connection between this man, nicknamed "Newt", and a recent convert in that ward. We had also been praying about how to help this recent convert. The Lord made the connection. Newt isn't a member of the Church, but will be reading the Book of Mormon on a business trip and rooming with other people who are members of the Church. The Lord's work is His own.
The Lord has been teaching me a lot about charity. You could say that was the trial of this week. My planning for a district meeting had not gone well and the only thing that was really sticking out like a laser beam in the eye was the topic of charity. In my mind, the topic was finding new people to teach. The meeting began and went well and another missionary gave a magnificent training on charity. I stood up and tied charity to finding and the meeting progressively got more and more chaotic. When the meeting ended, I realized that charity should have been the main topic. That's what everyone was needing. I learned a lot from the Spirit at that point.
The experiences and internal conflicts I experienced throughout this past week could be boiled down to one simple, but incredibly difficult admonition: "love the people". Charity, the pure love of Christ, was the test and I can honestly say that I didn't do well it. It is interesting how things you succeed in at times on your mission suddenly appear to be your greatest weakness. I know the Lord is building me. He wrapped His arms around me this past week and the sweet comfort of the Holy Spirit lifted me. I love Jesus Christ and how He saves me from myself. I know He is my Savior and Redeemer.
I am grateful for the prayers you send my way. They mean a lot more than either of us realize, but I do know that they work.