Jan. 6, 2015 A biting breeze made me shift uncomfortably as we waited for someone to respond to our knock. There were no cars out front, and the newspaper was still in the driveway, but we’d try anyways. I was so sure no one was home, I’d suggested to Sister Pra____ while still in the car that she write on a sticky note that we’d come by so that we didn’t have to stand out in the cold any longer than necessary. Sister Min____ response was an unconscious reminder to have more faith, “We just write it at the door, if no one is home. Then Sister Min____ cheerfully said as she exited the car, “It’s not a cold as yesterday.” I wasn’t so sure about that.
There was someone home after all. Sister Min____ quickly got the man’s name and introduced us. The sisters talked and I prayed inside that he’d feel the spirit while they shared. Then out of a moment of selfishness I threw in the silent plea, “Please bless him to let us in.” No sooner had I uttered my silent prayer, that he invited us in. I couldn’t help but think, “The Lord did that so I’d know he was listening to my prayer that the Spirit would touch his heart.”
Two dog’s welcomed us, the way most dogs do -barking and a barrage of paws. Dog food littered the floor and couch. The work of a wispy, blond-haired 2-year-old who looked at us with examining eyes. Her mother soon entered the living room - eight months pregnant and waddling. She uncomfortably lowered herself into the recliner. Questions and conversation revealed a situation that only a saint could endure. The longer she shared, the sicker my soul felt. I desperately pled for the right thing to say - something that would make a difference in her life.
Finally, I asked her if she prayed very often. She then gave what I’d call a testimony of her hope in prayer. “What could I say that would help this situation?” I wondered. She then began to tell us how important her children were to her. Her expression of love for her children rivaled any I’d ever heard. “Are those feelings strong enough to move her to action, and what action would that be?” I wondered. No sooner had I thought that question than the scriptures from D&C 88 came to mind. “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.” I knew that was the correct course. I learned long ago that I cannot judge another. After all, the Lord says, “for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them.” (3 Nephi 18:32) So I will not judge her husband, but I will encourage her to connect with the Lord so that He can tell her what to do about her husband.
Many more minutes pass. As I listen to the Sisters share their message, I look into the eyes of our potential investigator. They have light in them, and I can see her in a very different setting. I can see her in white, baptized and enjoying the blessings of covenants. I do not know when or how, but I do know she will enter the water’s of baptism.
We then go to an apartment complex. The person we went to see was not there. But we decide to tract anyway. A few “no answers” and it is time for me to suggest “name that tune” while we are walking to the next door. The Sisters guess each others tunes immediately. Sister Pra___ exclaims, “Sister Min___ you always sing that song.” I enjoy their companionableness.
The next doors yield opportunities to bless. One woman is not interested, but she says we can leave with a prayer. I do not know her, but I feel a desire that the Lord would bless her with good things. Apparently so does Sister Min____ because her prayer is beautiful as she petitions the Lord in the woman's behalf. We go to the back of the building and a 20-something man opens the next door. Right inside the door are two posters of Steve Young. “You got to be kidding,” I think, “Do you know he’s a Mormon?” Ta___ ends up accepting a copy of the Book of Mormon and giving his number to the Sisters so they can come back and visit with him after he has read some. We talk about how the Book of Mormon is like a sequel in a series of books about the Savior. Sister Pra____ prays. As we walk to the front of the apartment building we see a lady smoking in her car. We begin a conversation with her. She tell us it has been a long day. We sing, “I am a child of God.” Her face softens. We have a brief conversation before leaving. Ten steps and I notice a neighbor at the mail box and begin visiting with her. It ends up she’s traveled a lot. Sister Min___ asks where she’s liked the best, “Salt Lake City” is her reply. “Really?” I think. Sister Pra___ pulls out a pass-a-long card of the Salt Lake Temple and we talk. We visit a little more and I ask her if she’d like us to visit with her about our religion. She responds with an excuse, and I wish that I’d not rushed that part of the conversation. But I did, and now all I can do is ask the Lord to go behind me.
I have only one regret from the day. We are at the gas station and I begin to talk with the lady standing ahead of me in line. When Sister Min___ comes over she says to her, “Haven’t I met you before.” Yep, sure enough Sister Min_____ had given her a Savior of the World video card. The lady reports that she loved it, and showed it to all her friends and family. I ask her several more questions, but not the right questions, “What did you think and would you like to know more?” Later as I review the experience I wonder, how can someone stand for several hours in the cold trying to share the gospel and then miss a perfect opportunity? I feel foolish, but I can not let it upset me. I ask forgiveness, commit to learn from the mistake, and move on.
Soon I am home. President and Neal are upstairs. I hear the ping, ping of the ball. They are enjoying a father-son moment. As they laugh, and I think to myself, “This is why am I a missionary. Because I want others to have what I’ve got."
I dawns on me that this is exactly how Heavenly Father and Jesus feel. They want us to have what they’ve got.