Guess what I’m going to start my email with.
That’s right. The good old weather report.
This weekend had some of the most beautiful days of my entire life. It was just warm and fabulous.
Sorry. It's just something I've learned on my mission. Everything is better when it starts with the weather.
Right before I got to Cardiff, the sisters met a man named Mike. He is probably the most kind and gentle man I know. He looks like a pretty rough character, but he has such a strong relationship with God.
We lost touch with him for about a month. (Anyone who was a missionary knows what that actually means: we were faithfully calling and contacting all the time. HE lost contact with US.)
We got back in touch with him, and his dad passed away and he’s kind of had a hard time with it. On our way to the lesson, I was doing what I kind of always do…map out the lesson in my mind, trying to figure out what way it will go. I had imagined that when we followed up on his reading, he would say he was too busy to read, and I knew that I would have a hard time arguing with that, given the circumstances.
But when we got there, I saw that his Book of Mormon was right next to his chair where it always was. I have never seen an investigator with such a lovingly worn copy of the Book of Mormon, which really touched me. I had the passing thought that he was going to tell us something special about it.
When we asked how his reading had gone, he kind of smiled. He said he was finished.
Which was the saddest thing ever. Why had he stopped? What was wrong?
And then I realized what he’d actually meant.
He was finished. Mike finished reading the Book of Mormon!!
I’ve never had an investigator who finished reading the whole thing before their baptism. I never expected to. I had never prepared my self for the complete joy and excitement that comes with that announcement.
So I got to ask him one of my favourite questions of all time. “Mike, do you believe it is the word of God?”
And he said (OH MAN. I still get shivers from this part) : “Well, love, I don’t know what else it could be. There’s no way that boy wrote it. Pretty much everything I’ve wondered about my whole life was answered in that book. This is God’s book.”
“Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, then?”
“We still need prophets, love. This church is the only one that has helped my faith feel complete and that has answered all my questions.”
I was SO happy. I just sat there trying not to cry from happiness. I couldn’t even speak for most of the lesson because my heart was in my throat. Even now I feel the same.
Mike just gets it. He still needs a lot of prayer. But he gets it.
I think that’s why I love being a missionary. I get to see people discover so much joy. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Nothing besides the Restoration makes sense. I have lived and breathed it, all day every day, for fifteen months now. And I cannot imagine life without that security and knowledge.
It just makes sense. It’s not a “crazy story”. It’s a story of God’s consistent love for us. And it’s true. I’ve received that witness a thousand times in a hundred different ways since I’ve been a missionary. It is the truth, and it entails so much joy. It applies to everyone.
Have I mentioned Fergal? He’s an “eternal investigator” we work with. He’s Irish Catholic, so being a Catholic is pretty much in his blood. But, since he met the sisters, he’s started to change. He knows that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church, and he’s just working through his own personal fears. He said something that I love:
“It’s not that you are just another ‘break-off’. You’re not Protestant. In fact, what you teach makes all of the quarrels and squabbles of European history completely irrelevant. That’s it, it’s over. It’s Christ. It’s His doctrine, it’s His way, it’s His authority, it’s His church. And that’s what you preach.”
It’s true. He is what we preach.