June 25, 2013

Love. Desire. Courage. Faith.

"What parent would postpone looking for the child until a handbook was written?" ~ Russell M. Nelson

This past Sunday I watched one of the most inspirational broadcasts put forth by leaders of the church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; also known as “Mormons”). In a nutshell, the worldwide broadcast was about missionary work, and how every (church) member should do their part in sharing the gospel with their non-Mormon friends and family. As I listened to the speakers, I kept thinking about the biblical commandment that says “…Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39).

To me, the two hour long program was more than about church leaders urging us to share the gospel with our non-Mormon friends and family. To me, there’s a deeper meaning. To me, the messages were about love, desire, courage and faith.  LOVE for all mankind; without prejudice. With LOVE, comes the DESIRE to share the things that we feel are precious to us; which, in this case, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Next on the list would be COURAGE. It takes COURAGE to speak up about our religious beliefs. And it takes COURAGE to extend invitations to our non-Mormon friends and family (and to complete strangers). It's not easy to ask someone if they would be interested in learning about the "Mormon" faith and to attend church meetings/activities/functions.  Finally, to have enough FAITH that positive things can and will transpire as a result of our efforts.  

With that said, aside from the time when I was a full-time missionary (many moons ago) where I actually enjoyed knocking on doors and invited strangers to hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ, I think I can essentially count on one hand the number of times when I truly conversed with my non-Mormon friends and family about my religion. My first “missionary” experience was when I was 16 years old. I don’t remember how the conversation got started. But I do, however, vividly recall the part where I was talking to my friend on the phone and read a few verses from The Book of Mormon.  
As I read the scripture, I could feel the Holy Ghost; that warm and calm feeling inside my heart. The most amazing part was that my friend felt the same thing. We continued talking for a while (about the church, Joseph Smith, the scriptures, and life in general). I invited him to attend church with me. And I am most certain he said he’ll attend. But as the days drew nearer to the weekend, something came up and he wasn’t able to make it to church. I was sad, of course.  However, I also understood that sometime things don't always go the way I had hoped.  And I was okay with it because I knew that things will work out in the end. After all, the Lord has a plan for each of us. We just need to have faith and continue on with purpose in our lives.