Let me expound upon this week's heading. If you know me, you'll understand that I am the kind of person who can be pretty stalwart when it comes to having a "Someone's Got to Be the Strong One" attitude, and in so doing, have become a master of the so called "poker face" or that look, attitude, and demeanor that is put on to deceive anyone from believing that anything is wrong in one's own life. I have been doing this since I was given the stewardship over the Marion District- I was assigned to lead, not to display weakness when others needed strength.
But sometimes you've just got to be honest with those whom you love, and this district "feels like family" according to Sister Moss, so I decided to share my own continued Orange Zone with the district, only after being exhorted to by Elder Bush after I had a bit of a heart-to-heart with him. SO this is what I shared with them, and hopefully you will all get something out of it as well.
It may have beennight when I was sitting at my desk, my eyes bitterly glued to the Clarence Park area map. We had tracted. We had street contacted. We had noted the mass population zones and gone there at peak hour. We had asked the members for help in praying for us before we went finding as well as in keeping their own missionary efforts alive and active. We had sought counsel from all the other missionaries, gone on trade-off's, reviewed trainings, applied as we could, and prayed mightily for miracles... and yet nothing was happening. Nothing was happening.
I knew the Lord had not left us- He does not operate like that. But He was being very quiet about answering our pleas for something to happen in this area, and His silence made me mad, and bitter, and frustrated, and all other manner of lesser feelings. The previous week we had done some finding and a freak rainstorm swept out of nowhere, drenching us. It didn't last long, but it was a windy day, and it was very cold. Most other days were like unto this one, but we were lucky and only really got wet the one time (raincoats are the best). We had tracted and been mocked openly for our beliefs, and just the other night, I entered into a surprise mild Bible-Bash with three Christadelphians (never met any before). Only because my companion does not have the same scriptural knowledge, I was obligated to defend my faith largely on my own. The Lord kept bringing scriptures to mind to counter their points of incorrect doctrine in a teachable and loving way, but I found myself using not even a third of what I was given (bury your weapons, right?). My companion's testimony at the end, though, was the most powerful thing I've ever heard from him. I wish I could do this story more justice, because it really was a faith-building experience, but I'm short of time and want to share the most significant happening this week.
So as I was taking all of these thoughts into account, and feeding on the slowly building wrath of having tried so hard yet still gotten nowhere, I was alerted to my duties as a district leader when I received a phone call from the Glenelg Sisters. I love my sisters and have voted myself "that guy" to do anything and everything I can to make sure that my sisters are well looked after. So without a second thought I answered the phone (it was about). Sister Farr was on the other end and had something to follow up on, something I had asked them to report earlier that day, and for the life of me I can't remember what it was. But after that, I got to asking them how their day was, what was good and what was bad, how could I help, all the rest of it, when she more or less interrupted the flow of conversation and said, "Elders, I was thinking of you recently and your situation, and I just felt prompted to share some scriptures with you."
... what? Someone share scriptures with me? Someone in the mission, in the district, thinking of me and my companion and what we needed? And how did she find out about my situation? I'm so used to being the one who has to be the one for everyone that I was completely taken aback when she said these words. She shared Alma 26 with us, (I invite you all to read because of my lack of time) and just that act alone was an answer to a prayer I had been saying day in and day out. "Father, where art thou, and where is the pavilion that covers thy face?" has been my prayer for weeks now. These scriptures comforted my aching soul and waning strength, and through Sister Farr, I knew the Lord was saying, "I'm still here, son."
What a blessing that was. He is still there. He is always there, and of this I testify of in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, amen.
[I strongly encourage you to read the passages in Alma 26. The entire chapter is very powerful. The heading reads: The faithful are strengthened by the Lord and are given knowledge—By faith men may bring thousands of souls unto repentance—God has all power and comprehends all things. ]