This week was a little slower than usual but we had some very unusual experiences that we were able to be a part of. They put me a little out of my comfort zone, but it turned out to be an amazing spiritual experience.
So we had so many appointments this week that just completely fell through. It seemed like everything fell through that we had set...dinners, lessons, members etc. So we did a lot of walking and talking to people and just serving anyone we could see. We had some beautiful weather and so it was so fun to be out in the sun.
We got a call from the mission home wednesday about a lady that wanted to be visited and she had given an address and no information. Well we went to go see her afterwards and it was clear out in the middle of no-where and it turned out to be a mental hospital. We were a little nervous when we pulled up just because this was a whole new concept. We started walking and one of the nurses who turned out to be mormon walked us in and explained the situation. She told us that it was a lockdown mental hospital for suicidals and homicidals...but then she told us not to be worried. It was comforting to say the least. We walked in went by 2 sets of iron doors that were locked down and sat in a plain visitng room. We waited and after a while a little old frail lady walked in and sat down. We got to know her and shared a spiritual though. Turns out she was a member and was very lonley and so she wanted visitors and love. We were able to visit with her and she asked if we would bring the sacrament to her on sunday. Fast forward to yesterday. We got permission from Bishop and took the sacrament and two other elders so we wouldn't be alone in the room. We walked into the same room and her eyes lit up. She got so excited. She smiled from ear to ear. It was such a humbling experience. She recounted how lonely she gets and how much she appreciated us. As we knelt down and blessed the sacrament on the floor I felt that warm child-like Spirit come over me and envelope me with the love of God. As we watched her take the sacrament, I felt so close to God. She was so humble and meek and so grateful for that experience. This experience taught me a lesson I will never forget. Bringing others to Christ isn't always about teaching a lesson. It is about being a friend when people are in need. Its about visiting those who are lonley and having a good time with them. Its about taking time out of a busy schedule and giving little acts of service. It is about looking past the physical, emotional and mental imperfections people have and instead looking "deep into that persons eyes long enough to see the rudiments of a child of God in them".
That experience touched me deeply. I felt true happiness from it. It is experiences like those that help me remember my purpose here as a child of God.
And that is what I have been thinking about. The more and more I visit with people, the more and more I recognize the importance of building relationships and being a "friend". I love how Jesus refers to us as His friends. He is out greatest friend. More times than not, we need a friend rather than a sermon. More times than not we need a friend rather than an inspiring quote. There was a time in my life where I was struggling with alot of different things. I always knew deep down that the Gospel was true. I always knew deep down that I needed to be at church. I always knew that what my leaders were constantly nagging at in my life was true....but at the time, that was not what I needed. I dind't need someone telling me what I was doing wrong and how i could fix it. I didn't need someone criticizing me. In a time where I needed to feel Gods love the most, God put "friends" into my life that would help me feel that love. It was nothing that anyone ever said to me because I don't remember any words that people said. It was simply because someone decided to be a friend and reach out and look past themselves and be apart of my life. They loved me. That is true ministering. We cannot love someone if we do not first have a relationship. We need to know God's children. The best kind of missionary work is done not with our mouths, but through relationships. Elder Holland said "Preach the Gospel, use words if necessary". In other words, be social, reach out....go find the one. Be a friend. And if its hard to love someone, pray to God that He will give you the love that you need to lift that person and He will. I am a witness of that. I know He will. Go out and be a friend, be like Jesus. Light will flow into your lives and into the lives of others.
Jesus is real. He lives. I have felt His love the most through the love others have shown me and as I have shown my love for others. If you don't feel His love right now, go out and serve and you will feel close to Him. Go be a friend.