D&C lesson 11: "The Field is White, Already to Harvest"
The manual covers the lesson fairly well. Here I want to invite all my readers to share one or two of the following:
1. Your Conversion Story
2. Your Experience opening your mission call
3. A neat experience from your mission
4. A missionary moment you have had with someone else.
Let me share three of my own experiences.
In the Spring of 1975, my high school in Montana suffered several big tragedies. Students died or were seriously injured over a 2 week period in about 1/2 dozen incidents. In one event, friends went 4-wheel driving and turned over their Jeep, with 2 dying. In another, 4 friends went up a canyon and drank rubbing alcohol, with 3 of them dying, and the girl who survived ending up shriveled up and in a wheelchair. Then some kids took cow tranquilizers and were found dead at the fairgrounds. Other events occurred. It shook up our school back in a time when counselors were not sent to schools to help the students.
That summer, my grandfather died. I remember being a pallbearer with my brother and cousins. As we sat in the back of the car carrying us, one cousin noted that there had to be a better way. I agreed. I was shell shocked from all the death I'd seen in just a few months. That Fall, I met some new friends at school. Most of them were Mormons, and one of them invited me to play basketball on his church team. I accepted. Prior to playing that Wednesday night, the bishop invited me into his office. He explained to me that to be able to play in the future, I would have to cut my long hair and attend church on Sundays. Normally I would have refused, as my Dad could never get me to cut my shoulder length hair. But something happened in that bishop's office to me, which I would not understand until much later. The Spirit of the Lord was thick in the room and moved me to change my life. As I attended and studied the Restored Gospel, I began to understand the Atonement of Christ, salvation, eternal families, and the hope of a glorious resurrection that I did not understand when my friends were dying. Since then, I've always been ever grateful to my friend who invited me to play Church basketball, and to the bishop who introduced me to the Spirit.
From 1978-1980, I served a mission in Bolivia. On the southern border is a small town, named Yacuiba. In 1970, when there were no missionaries in the region, the town drunk staggered home in the rain. Looking down, he found a pamphlet in a puddle of water. He picked it up, took it home, dried it off and read it. He then turned to his wife and said, "I don't know what Church this is, but when it gets here, w e're going to join it." The pamphlet was the Joseph Smith First Vision story. In 1979, the first missionaries were sent to Yacuiba. His was the fourth door they knocked on. By the time I arrived in Yacuiba a year later, he had gone from being the town drunk to a respected businessman with his own logging truck. Not long afterward, he was called to preside over the congregation as its branch president. While in Bolivia, I saw many such marvelous experiences of people being led to the LDS Church by the Lord.
Another experience came when the Air Force had me stationed in South Korea in 1985. A young man, who had a notoriety for being bad, was moved to my squad. Korea was very challenging for good people to live morally, as drinking and prostitution were a way of life outside of military bases. I avoided the scene directly outside the base, choosing to travel to other areas where I could get to really know the people. I knew the day would come when I would be assigned to work with this other young man, but did not look forward to it. When I saw we were being stationed together in a solitary post together, I prayed that I would survive what I expected to be an onslaught of obscenities and filthy talk, as this is how the man was described to me by others. Yet, when we arrived at our post, he said that he admired my standards and my life. He once had been active in a church and was happy, but fell far from his moral lifestyle. We spent the night talking about God and faith. By morning he wanted to talk with the missionaries. So, I contacted a missionary couple up in Seoul to come down once a week to teach my new friend. After a month, we took a trip to Seoul to see the temple, then under construction. As we walked around the temple, I showed him where the corner stone would be set on the first day of the dedication. He asked me if he could touch the sacred building, and I encouraged him to do so. "This is where I want to be married someday", he said. Within a few weeks, I baptized him in the base swimming pool, the temple being a key component in converting a man, whom I would never would have guessed to be wanting to change his life so drastically.
From these and hundreds of other experiences, my own testimony of Christ and his work have grown. It truly is a marvelous work. In the early 1830s, Joseph Smith told the few members of the fledgling Church that they were not to only be a congregation, but that someday the Church would fill both North and South America, indeed, it would fill the world. As people throughout the world find that the LDS Church has solutions to worldly problems and answers to spiritual questions, it will continue to grow, preparing the world for the 2nd Coming of Christ.
Please share your experiences in the comments....