Far Rockaway: Home Away From Home

Reading Elder McConkie’s email this week, my thoughts reflected on a sweet passage in the scriptures which tells us how, even though life provided many challenges for people seeking God’s peace and joy, the place they received their conversion and entered into their covenants was a holy place to them: “…how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever.” (Mosiah 18:30)

christmas-skype2     This last week was a crazy one, though despite all the craziness, the ultimate climax was getting to call the family yesterday!

     First, wow, was that weird: As we talked, I realized just how much I have changed since I left home. Perhaps it’s not as noticeable to others, however as I bore my testimony, shared missionary experiences, talked about those we are working with, and all that good stuff, I definitely felt the personal conversion that had taken root.

christmas-skype1     I never imagined just how real the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. The Book of Mormon is not just a good book. It’s not even just inspired. It “contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel” (Introduction, Book of Mormon). When we invite those we teach to read from it, I feel so much urgency that when we are told “no,” I feel sincere disappointment. Not because we didn’t get someone to read the Book. But because they don’t understand what they are turning down. Basically, moral of the story is read the book and in accordance with the promise found in the last chapter of the book, ask God if it’s true. This has changed, does change, and will change so many lives.

     This last week was quite an adventure. There are miracles that come in this work. This last week, time after time we were finding people that have potential. There are two people of mention. First, after getting a return appointment with an older lady and her son, we returned to find her with a different son. This son was quiet most of the appointment as we opened the Book of Mormon and taught. We made sure to ask him questions specifically, which he answered timidly. During our visit, we’d watched him look through the Book of Mormon, turning the pages carefully. When we would ask him to read a scripture, he would take time after reading before he would respond.

     After the lesson finished, he followed us out. He told us he was 24 and had converted from Hindu to Christianity 10 years earlier; he’d been the only one in his family to make this change. He shared how over the years he felt that what had been taught in different churches had lacked a clarity of truth. He’d decided to give it a break. He shared how this had reawakened the desire to know God and that he wanted to give it another try.

     On Christmas, we went over to a member’s house. Her sister-in-law was there. Actually, she had had lessons before, but due to a larger focus on Joseph Smith than Christ, she became disinterested. We asked if we could open the scriptures with her a bit. After explaining that Joseph was a prophet, a calling that was given to turn God’s children to God the Father and Christ and His Atonement, she became interested and willing to learn more. She really is incredible.

     The Lord provides miracles. This is the work of the Lord. He knows what He is doing. I am so grateful to be out here. It has strengthened my testimony that no matter what, there is always at least one person in our life that God is preparing to hear, from us specifically, the incredible message of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon.

God bless you all! Love ya! 

Elder McConkie

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