Small and Simple Things

It’s a Thursday afternoon.  The view out of the bus window is surprisingly sunny for Buffalo, NY, even though there are layers of freshly settled snow covering what seems like endless crunchy gray piles of ice.  The constant lull of the bus is calming, and aside from the occasional bump in the road I sit quite still, observing those around me.  Besides three of my fellow missionaries, the bus is relatively unoccupied–a few people sitting here or there, involved in their own lives, living their own realities. Anyone else might see these people as typical, ordinary people riding a bus.  I?  I look at these people and see divine children of God.  I see people who Jesus Christ suffered infinitely for.  I see people of value who each have strengths and weaknesses, trials and triumphs, and who would be blessed immensely by knowing that Christ Himself still lives and has a plan for their individual happiness and exaltation.

Kind of a big deal!

How much is one soul worth? (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10)  Is anyone, then, simply ordinary?

Do you start to understand now why as missionaries we talk to everyone, wherever we go?

Out of the corner of my ear I hear one of the Elders we are with talking to the man next to him, teaching him about the Restoration of Jesus Christ’s Gospel on the earth today.  I smile, thinking how amazing it is that God trusts us, these 18-25 year old kids, to declare His truth to the world.  As I observe the older gentleman listening to Elder Klumker, I notice another man covered in tattoos and piercings a few seats away in the corner by himself, quietly looking out of the window.  Hmm.  I wonder what his story is.

I tune in to the former conversation more intently. The man who had been listening declines the invitation to learn more; Elder Klumker just smiles at him and turns back to us.  No defeat, I think.  At least he gave him the chance. The bus ride continues.  The older gentleman comes to his stop and steps off to go about the rest of his day.  Moments pass, and the man in the corner turns to the four of us to ask, “Do you put on some kind of Bible study or something?”

Aha! I smile in my head.  I knew there was a reason we were on this bus today.

As Elder Klumker spoke with him, it turns out that he had been tuning in the whole time to their conversation.  He opened up about how he loves God and loves reading the Bible.  He has been going to a few different churches for awhile and was quite interested in learning about what we had to teach!  Without any of us asking, he wrote his number down, and later that day the two Elders met with him in his home, sharing with him perhaps the greatest message this world could ever hear: that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to a young boy prophet and restored Their church once again to the earth in it’s un-corrupted form.

I KNOW THAT NO DAY IS ORDINARY.  I know that each and every one of us are precious in God’s eyes.  I know that more often than not, our miraculous experiences will begin with small and simple things–like a typical bus ride home on a Thursday afternoon.

So the next time you see an opportunity that may seem small and simple–take it!  You never know, it may just change someones life forever!

When We Get Lost, Others Get Found!

It’s late morning on a Thursday.  We’re driving from downtown Buffalo, New York, to a park in Tonawanda where a man we met last week was holding a vigil service for a dear relative.

We’re completely lost.  We have no idea where the park is.   We ‘re 20 minutes late for the vigil service already.  On top of that, we’re short on mile-age this month so we shouldn’t even be driving around.

For some people, getting lost in this situation might be very frustrating.

For me, getting lost means that Heavenly Father simply has someone else He needed us to run into today.

So, we continue searching.

It’s near a street called Elmwood, so we find the nearest Elmwood Avenue and come to a park!  Looking, looking….nope, it’s completely empty.  Hmmm.

We park on the side of the road and I’m thinking, we have to ask someone where this park is.  I look to the left and see a green shingled house with a steep wooden porch.  Let’s knock there and ask, I think.  So we get out of the car, knock on the door, and a woman answers whose name is Kellie.  She knew exactly where we needed to go!  After pointing us in the right direction, she squints at our name-tags and says, “Oh let’s see..the Church of Jesus Christ of…oh, yeah!  My mom used to be Mormon.”   It turns out she had grown up in the Church but hasn’t been since she was a little girl.  She gave us her number and said if we could come back in the morning next week she would like to listen to us.

Moral of the story:  when life takes you on its twists and turns, instead of getting frustrated, think: where is God trying to lead me?

It turns out the park was actually in Kenmore, along a different Elmwood street about 15 minutes away from where we were.  What are the odds that we happened to get lost around another Elmwood street where Kellie happened to be living and we happened to park directly across from her and she happened to be the one to answer the door and recognize us?

No odds.  No “just happened.”  God is in the details, and everything happens for a reason.  BELIEVE IT!

This whole experience may seem like such a simple thing.  There were no grand blinking signs, no mind-blowing miracles, no people running out of the house saying “Come over here, I’ve been searching for eternal truth!”  But there was a simple confirmation that God is leading us where He needs us to be.

So next time life doesn’t seem to be going your way, just remember that you are in His hands.  Trust in His plan, and keep moving forward!