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!

Faith Precedes the Miracle

“For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.” (2 Nephi 27:23)

This week I have been focusing a lot on faith and how I can be a more faith-filled disciple of Christ.  Throughout the past couple days, I have really come to understand that faith does precede the miracle!  As I’ve worked hard to dispel doubt or negativity and increase my faith, I have truly seen more miracles than ever.  All I can say is… God is GOOD and His word is never failing.  Trust Him and let your faith guide you!

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!

IMG_3127(2)

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)

Expect Miracles

As a missionary, you expect miracles.  You know that no day is going to be a normal day.  You know that the work of the Lord Jesus Christ is the work of salvation and that something amazing is bound to happen each time you walk out of your apartment.  And so, as a sister missionary in the New York Rochester Mission, I think it’s about time I started sharing those miracles!

For those who don’t know, the purpose of a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  Those are the basic principles of the Gospel and, put simply, the steps to lasting happiness!  And so, with these steps engraved in our hearts, we go forth on our journey each day to find those souls who are searching.

One day, Sister Roberts and I were planning to go knock on some doors.  Like we always do, we prayed to be directed by the Spirit which street we should go to.  Once we had decided, we went about the daily teaching and giving service.  We ended up meeting some members of our ward who gave us a referral in Shortsville!  That evening we went to contact their friends, who ended up not being home at the time.  As we walked off the porch, Sister Roberts asked if we should go to the street we had originally prayed about or if we should just stay where we were and tract those streets.  It wasn’t a moment later when we turned around and saw the street sign–it was the same street that we had originally planned on going to!  Coincidence?  I think not!

The people living in the first few houses were nice but not interested.  Eventually we came to a cute purple home.  We knocked on the door and a woman answered with a 2 year old boy hovering around her legs.  The conversation unfolded and it turned out that her child’s father, Michael, had been interested in learning more about the Mormon Church and had been hoping that missionaries would just show up on his door one day!

Miracles really are everywhere.  Yes, there will always be people that aren’t interested.  But you never know if the person behind that door is someone who has been hoping that missionaries will show up on their doorstep!  And if we are faithful and diligent, God will place us in the right place at the right time in order to find these people.

 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith. 2 Nephi 27:23