Last Thursday we went on team ups with Bro Stapleton. The first person we tried wasn't home, but my companion suggested trying Bro E. We agreed and headed over. He's kind of a gruff man, he was in the military and is a little head strong, but very loving and kind. In the past I only met with him once, usually he says their busy and tells us to call first.
As we knocked on the door I was afraid he wasn't going to let us in again, but he greeted us warmly and invited us in.
As we chatted I prayed fervently to know what we might share to best help our brother come back into the church. I didn't feel any guidance. But I knew to still have faith. As we kept talking I kept worrying, how can we help him! And How do we get this conversation to get there! The opportunity arose and I seized it quickly. I began to share a wonderful and beautiful experience that I had a few months before.
We went and visited a less active woman Sis S, her sister J has severe Cerebral Palsy, so Sis S takes care of her constantly. J can't move very well and can't form words. But She smiles from ear to ear! and She is so happy and cheery. When we were visiting Sis S I thought of bringing my violin, but as the lesson ended it was time to start heading home, I didn't think we'd have time for me to play a song for Sis s and J. I kept thinking about how we needed to go, but for some reason I never brought up that we needed to leave. Neither did my companion.
Later when we left, he told me that he too was worrying about leaving, but while sitting into his mind he heard a voice quoting the Prophet. into his mind he heard
"Never let a problem to be fixed, be more important than a person to be Loved."
Soon enough, J who was sitting in her wheel chair wheeled herself down the hall to come and say Hi. She was smiling so big. She was so happy to see us. I asked if I could play a song for J. Sis S was thrilled as well as J. I pulled out my violin, I knew which song to play.
Before I play, I always have a buzz of anxiety and worry. What if I forget the notes! what If I mess up!
As I set the bow down on the string ready to play. I completely forgot how to play this song. My mind was blank, I forgot the notes. ....AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I said a prayer in my heart, asking for help. In response I remembered the first note is an F Sharp. I placed my finger down, and leapt forward in faith.
I played I Am a Child of God in perfection. Not a single note was out of tune or misplaced.
I looked at J. Tears, running down her cheeks.
She could not properly speak, but with the sounds she made I could tell what she was saying.
"Thank you, Thank you, Thank you."
I shared this story with Bro E. I could see the Spirit had touched his heart. The Spirit was very strong. I knew he could feel it. He said he knew he needed to come to church, and said himself he was unsure why he didn't go. It was a beautiful experience. I don't know if he really will come back in the immediate future, but this I know. God SENDS each of us to those that we can have the largest and deepest impact.
I ALSO know, that when the Spirit is the teacher....Miracles abound in great abundance. Were it not for the Spirit, I don't think Bro E would have come to that wondrous conclusion. But I know that the Spirit softened this man's heart, and God made His invitation clear, that His arms are "outstretched still". I know that God loves us. And It breaks His heart to see us hurt, in pain, or living contrary to His Gospel. Even when we slip into disobedience, God's arms are "Outstretched still" and He will always welcome the Repentant sinner. He did for me, and He will for all.
10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
I testify God welcomes all who repent. I testify there is NO place too far or dark, that the Savior cannot rescue you. I testify turning to Christ is the Greatest Joy in all this world, And I speak from my own life, that the Atonement is real, and is ever available.
The Atonement is INFINITE and never runs out. There is no limit upon the Atonement and how often we can use it. There is no meter that fills up saying we have run out of chances to repent. Never. The Atonement is Infinite and will help us overcome every weakness, as well as the weaknesses not related to sin.
I so Testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
with Love, Elder Johnson