So! Elder Watkins has been transferred to Lancaster! And my new comp is Elder Jake Story! From Orem Utah.
He's been out for 17 months! He's super high energy and very friendly and optimistic! Okay. I know this is long, but I PROMISE it's worth reading!
So this Sunday at church there was a woman that came that I've never seen before. I greeted her and then didn't think anything of it. After sacrament I was headed toward the door to go to class, but the back area was too crowded, I ended up cutting through the middle section of benches and bumped into her again. I felt a prompting that I needed to speak with her. We talked a little and I asked her if she normally attended at this building. She told me that she hadn't been to church in a long time and was currently going through very difficult things.
It broke my heart to hear of the pain and burden she was carrying. I encouraged her and told her she could do it. She ended up coming into Sunday school with another woman, who I later discovered was her visiting teacher, who brought her to church. I'm confident that were it not for her visiting teacher this less active woman would not have chosen to come to church and ask for help. As we were walking to Gospel Principles the teacher came by and said they had to leave church, he asked me to teach......talk about being thrown under the bus! I silently prayed that the Spirit would guide me and teach those in the class what they needed to hear.
This less active woman and her visiting teach were already sitting in class and a few others as well. We began with a prayer and I started to read about final judgment. As I taught I felt impressed to share something and I somehow managed to connect it with judging haha so it was smoother but anywho. I said "It frightens me when people think they are not worthy to pray, or read, or go to church. It frightens me when they think they are not worthy to feel God's love or receive His blessings. Yes, there is a standard of worthiness, and we are oft interviewed for those purposes. the bishop, stake pres or whoever is ordained and given that authority to judge and determine our worthiness. He is also set apart to help us make correct choices. But it is all in love.
The bishop or whomever doesn't yell and scream at us that we're failures, rather he hugs us and encourages us to make correct choices and I'm confident that he too is praying for your success and for guidance of the Spirit to know how God would like us to receive help. That is Christ's way, and Christ is no different with what He thinks of us. He loves us perfectly, and He is ALWAYS encouraging, not discouraging. He is LOVE, and He invites us and directs us to follow Him. We do not need to be worthy to pray, or read, or go to church. It's the OPPOSITE. Those very things help us BECOME worthy.
As I said those words I felt the Spirit really strong dumping from me into her. After church I saw her sitting outside the bishops office, us 4 missionaries were close by so we decided to say hello and talk a bit. She told us she was getting her self back into gear and needed to stop being lazy about it, that salvation is in her hands. I encouraged her the best I could, while it is wonderful of her choices, it made me sad to see how harshly she was treating herself. That was something to be celebrated! Not something that we'd say "well it's about time you failure!" That is definitely NOT what Christ would do. He would celebrate. Anywho, as we spoke she was called into a room and left for a few minutes. As we waited Sister Beutler, one of the sister missionaries leaned over and said "I think she could really use a blessing! Maybe you Elders could go over sometime and give her one?"
I agreed wholeheartedly! And I told her I'd ask her if she would like one. As we were speaking Bro Nelson called for Elder Story and I. He said "Elders I need you, could you help me give a blessing?"
We agreed. My jay dropped and I looked at the sister missionary who had a similar expression. We stepped into the room and there was this woman sitting. There was a beautiful Spirit in the room, it was precious. Bro Nelson offered a beautiful blessing. In tears she hugged him and thanked us for our time. It was a beautiful experience that I won't soon forget. I pray for her.
I definitely know that Christ is ever aware of us. God does know us! It would surprise you how well He knows you. He knows us better than we do. He also knows when someone is in need, and He knows how to help them. Oh how He loves us. This is just Elder Johnson's doctrine and I don't have scriptures for this, but my personal opinion, is the reason mortals can't bear the presences of God without being translated is because He loves us so much that if we were fully in its presence we'd be incinerated immediately. He DOES LOVE US.
I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.