Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lander, WY: Prayer of the Children

Lander, of the best places on this earth. I couldn't have started out in a better area, and I couldn't have had better companions there (Elder Goff and Elder Catron). The people I met were incredible. I learned so much from my ward leaders and from the people we taught.

Upon getting to my first area, I discovered quickly that a  mission was much different than what I thought it would be. On my first day, we knocked on a door where an older lady answered and immediately said, "I don't want any." We tried to inform her we weren't selling anything, but she proceeded to yell "I DON'T WANT ANY!", "I DON'T WANT ANY!" repeatedly...She really didn't want any...yet!

As missionaries, we can easily spend 13-16 hours a day doing some of the hardest work possible. I started to really work hard in Lander, and we had a lot of fun doing it most of the time. We labored diligently in an attempt to share the incredible message of the restored gospel, but we seemed to gain very little footing. Some days, it seemed that no matter what we would do, it was never enough. Some days I felt like giving up. Some days, I asked myself "what on Earth am I doing here?" Some days, even now, when the going gets tough, I may falter and ask myself that question again. But, whenever I do, I recall an incredible experience that happened on a cool and rainy spring morning in Lander. I remember what I refer to as: The day I felt the 'Prayer of the Children'.

After weeks of disappointment and struggles, the Lord let me know why I was out here. On this particular morning, I was really down. I was having my personal study, and I found myself praying silently, pleading for help, while some music played in the background. The song changed, and I felt a shift in the room. I listened up and heard these words beautifully sung: 

Can you hear the prayer of the children on bended knee, in the shadow of an unknown room? Empty eyes with no more tears to cry turning heavenward toward the light. Crying," Jesus, help me to see the morning light of one more day, but if I should die before I wake, I pray my soul to take."
My first thoughts turned selfishly inward. I thought, "'s talking about me." But then I felt the distinct impression that I needed to really listen (Mark 7:16). The song continued...
 Can you feel the hearts of the children aching for home, for something of their very own. Reaching hands with nothing to hold onto but hope for a better day, a better day. Crying," Jesus, help me to feel the love again in my own land, but if unknown roads lead away from home, give me loving arms, away from harm."
At this moment, I felt, just as it said, the hearts of Gods children, in Lander, WY and in the Montana Billings Mission aching for something more. They want to get back home, to God. It reminded me how I felt on that fateful night I finally cried out for help a few years prior. I heard the cries, and I wanted so much to answer their call. I realized I possessed for what these people yearned. I had the Gospel in it's fullness, and they needed me to find them and share it.
Can you hear the voice of the children softly pleading for silence in their shattered world? Angry guns preach a gospel full of hate, blood of the innocent on their hands. Crying," Jesus, help me to feel the sun again upon my face? For when darkness clears, I know you're near, bringing peace again."
 I realized how this Gospel gives peace in this hostile world. I knew that what I had was a gift from God. I needed to share it, at all costs, because it is the only thing that brings "peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come" (D&C 59:23). I felt something grow inside of me. I felt the most sincere desire to do all I could, even if it seemed like everyone was going to say, "I don't want any!" I was going to give it my best, and do what I could to invite others to Christ. That's what I have sought to do each day since that misty morning, and I have experienced so much joy and happiness (D&C 18:16). Can you hear the prayer of the children?

Coming soon! Lewistown, MT: Late Night in Zion...

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