Who Are You Passing By?

Here are some conversations Sister Newson and I have had with people on the street lately:

Sister Newson, holding out a card: Hello!  Would you like some Christmas cheer?

Man walking by: NO.

Sister Newson: Are you sure?

Man: Yes.

*keeps walking*


Me: Hello!  We would love to share this short video with you about Jesus Christ and the peace we can find from Him this Christmas season!  Would you say that He has played a role in your life?

Man: Nope.  Not whatsoever.  And I’m not interested.


Sister Newson: Hello!  How are you doing?

Man in his yard: Fine, thank you.  What are you two doing out today, going for a walk?

Sister Newson: We are!  And we are spreading the Christmas spirit about Jesus Christ!  We have this card that will lead you to a great little video about how He is the true gift of Christm–

Man: *walking away* I don’t have time, sorry.

Haha!  And there are more where those came from!  Seems like Rochester needs a little bit more of the magic of Christmas, wouldn’t you say?

As I’ve had many experiences like this lately, my heart has been hit with a kind of sadness I can’t really explain.  Not because people are rejecting me, but because ultimately they are rejecting Christ.

As missionaries for His church, we are literally called by a prophet of God to represent the Savior Himself.  And I just think, how would these people’s responses be different if Jesus Christ was literally right there asking them the same questions?

What would your response be?  Are you passing by Him without a second thought?  Are you too busy for Him?  Are you simply not interested in Him?  If He were here on the street, would you care to stop and hear His message?

I can’t imagine how the Savior feels, having literally suffered the pains, sorrows, sins, and afflictions of all humankind (2 Nephi 9:21, Alma 7:11-12) and having so many people simply not even care.

And the amazing thing?  Despite how many people reject Him, deny Him, ignore Him, mock Him, disregard Him, or think He simply doesn’t matter, His arm of mercy is still extended to ALL of them.  (Alma 5:33).  Every single one of them.  No matter what they have done, He still reaches out to every individual soul on this earth and offers them His healing hand if they will but repent and turn unto Him. (3 Nephi 9:14)

Isn’t that the most beautiful thing you have ever heard?!  I know it is for me!  I have felt His healing hand in my life and I know that His love is the BEST GIFT I have ever received.  It’s for that reason that we keep spreading His name.

So for those of you who already know and love Jesus Christ all the way to those who don’t care one bit about Him: Learn of Him.  Put in the time for Him.  I promise you, He is there.

This Christmas season, don’t pass Him by!

How Great Shall Be Your Joy

This past weekend I was blessed to witness one of the biggest miracles I’ve ever seen!

It all begins with Anne, and oh does she come with a back story.

Anne is a 60 year old Italian lady who is 4’11” and has more spunk than anyone I know!  She was born and raised in Philly and has lived a life of tragedy and horror, experiencing every kind of abuse you could imagine and seeing more death than I can keep track of.  Through near death experiences, a violent mobster husband, a broken family situation, addictions, suicide attempts, betrayals, trauma, and the sudden death of her second husband (the first person whom she had ever felt unconditionally loved by) her life spun her into a long search for the love of the Lord.  After years of hating God due to the bitterness and tragedy life had given her, her journey toward Him began at last.

This journey led her to a variety of different churches, each slowly building her faith but not fully satisfying her spiritual hunger.

Through a miraculous turn of events, one day she was driving home from her bible study with tears streaming down her face, hurt and confused by the words someone had said in her study group.  Desperate for someone to turn to, she drove past the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center and saw the Christus statue through the windows and the words “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” along the building.  Making an unplanned U-turn into the parking lot, she walked in and was greeted by missionaries with open arms.  Little did she know that this was exactly where God had been leading her all along.

Fast forward to a week later, when my missionary companion and I show up on her doorstep to begin teaching her about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ–“the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30).  A few months of teaching led us to last weekend, where with tears filling her eyes and the joyous light of Christ shining in her countenance, she entered the waters of baptism performed by the proper Priesthood authority of God!

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For someone who was led through a life of tragedy, abuse, and horror, she has come out refined, fortified, loved, and redeemed.  She has given me a whole new understanding of amazing grace— “I once was lost but now am found; I was blind, but now I see.”  She has found God, and He has truly found her.

One of my favorite things that she often says is that “God has been wanting me for a LONG time!”  She looks back in her life and sees how much He was fighting for her all along, trying to bring her into His loving arms.  “Well, He’s finally got me!” she exclaims.

We are ALL God’s children, and He wants ALL of us.  Every single one of us.

So…does He have you?  Are you willing to let Him into your life?

Think about that.

And never forget these two things: Miracles happen and THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!

Ann

“But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15)