You know when you get a feeling you should do something, and you do it, and it turns out to be a miracle of great success?
That happens to me all the time.
The England Leeds Mission was graced (or dismayed) with my humble presence in May 2013 until I returned home to Australia last December, on completion of 18 months’ service as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Volunteering for 18 months of your life is a big undertaking, especially at 20 years old. I had the world at my fingertips – I was at university studying Design, I was travelling in between, I had a good job, I was on track to reach fitness goals.
Things were great.
But I either gave it up or put it on hold in exchange for living a gruelling, daily schedule full of guidelines and rules including strict dress, language, music, and decorum standards. Then there was the rejection, and frequent disrespect and rudeness from random strangers.
Do I regret it? Most definitely not. Why, you ask? Let me tell you.
That feeling you get to do something or say something or go somewhere (sometimes very out of the blue) is what I believe and know to be from God. The more you listen to that voice or feeling, the clearer it gets.
Now, some of us may think, ‘well, maybe that’s just me – maybe I’m making myself feel or think these things, maybe I came up with these ideas all on my own’. Good point. I had similar thoughts growing up, but then my mission and other experiences taught me the truth.
I have learned that a higher power, our Heavenly Father, knows us perfectly. He knows what will make us most happy, He knows exactly how to communicate to us (His children), and He trusts us to obey him.I have also learnt to trust that inner voice: the feeling that encourages us to do good and to be good.
Obeying it can be really hard some times, but the more we listen and obey, the stronger the prompting will become and the easier it will be to hear.
As missionaries, we were paired with a companion (another full-time missionary of the same gender whom we serve with for different periods of time). On one occasion, my companion and I were walking to visit a woman we had met the previous week. We were living in a beautiful town in the Yorkshire Dales called Skipton. It was like walking through a painting – breathtaking scenery dotted with sheep, picturesque cottages and terrace houses all stacked up next to each other, and painted baby blue, white, or pale pink.
Suddenly, a street sign for a lane full of quaint, two-storey terrace houses caught my attention. I had a flashback to a training meeting during which one of the missionaries said we should write down street names that stand out to us, making sure we visited there. Belgrave Street stuck out to me – I felt really strongly that we should go back, so we returned the next day.
We knocked on doors. And knocked on doors. The response we got was either a) Not Interested or b) None (because no-one was home).
We were about half way up the steep incline when I thought, ‘why the heck did I feel inspired about this street?’ At that moment, when I was showing weakness and my faith was wavering, we knocked on a large, dark wooden door. A Polish lady opened, speaking next to no English. She saw our badges, turned around, yelled something in Polish to whoever was in the house, and rushed out of the door and down the steep steps to the road, saying, ‘Tesco’ – the name of a UK supermarket.
She beckoned us to walk with her to Tesco. Her name was Magdalena. Within 10 minutes, through her halting English, we found out some of the hardships and trials she had suffered, and those she was currently enduring.
My companion and I taught Magda the Gospel of Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost which is received after baptism by immersion; we taught her that when you are baptised by the proper authority, you will have all your guilt and sorrow and pains washed away, bringing a fresh start.
We taught about forgiveness, the Plan of Salvation and its promise of something more after this life, with the peace and joy that comes from living the way Jesus Christ taught.
We invited Magda to experience this happiness and peace for herself.
We taught her all of that on Google translator! I kid you not. And you know what? Over the two or three months of meeting with her, her English improved dramatically, especially as she read the Book of Mormon in English.
Over time, we used Google Translator less and less. Magda was visibly happier. We were like her adopted daughters. I love her. She is a very special lady. She has had more trials than a lot of people I have met in my life, but she is so strong.
Magda was baptised on 2 November 2013. She was glowing. Her life had been changed for the better because of some small inkling or feeling of a young, inexperienced young woman who acted on that prompting.
Magda was able to gain hope, peace, and a desire to grow closer to our Heavenly Father because she knew and experienced for herself, that it was the thing that would make her most happy in her life.
I had many, many similar experiences when I was serving as a full-time missionary for Jesus Christ. It was the hardest, most testing and trying 18 months of my life, but it has made me a better person, it has taught me a lot, and I am stronger and happier as a result.
That little voice you say? It’s inspired. It’s from God. Listen to it. You will see miracles.
“Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God…” (Moroni 7:12)