Several years ago while serving as a young missionary, with an even younger companion, I studied for days and searched my soul to have hope in my ministry. “Hope is the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting something will occur.” (Preach My Gospel pg. 117) Reciting this passage in my mind over and over, I pressed forward running from house to house on Peliso Avenue.
While talking on a doorstep one day, our phone rang and my companion went to the street to talk to a part member family who needed some service. I said to my trainee that we would go after we finished the street we were on (with three doors left my OCD on finishing streets kicked in). But as we were about to knock on the next door the Spirit whispered that we needed to leave right then. We left to go help the family, fully expecting a miracle to be waiting for us when we arrived at their house. We got there, moved some furniture, and shared a scripture – but nothing out of the ordinary occured. For two weeks I wrote “Peliso Avenue” in my back-up plans in my planner but we never quite had time to go back there.
Finally we returned to the very doorstep where the Spirit had previously directed us to leave and we knocked. A Columbian woman came to the door, looked us in the eyes and started to cry. “Mormons? Are the Mormons really knocking on my door today?” she asked as she looked heaven bound in gratitude.
After a few questions, the lady, who introduced herself as Piedad, went on to tell us about how several years before she had had a dream at her house in Florida of two young men, dressed in white shirts and ties, knocking on her door to teach her truths that would bring her happiness. When she woke up from that dream she described it to her husband and he told her about the LDS Church, which she had never before heard of. Several weeks later, her husband tragically died and it left her with several soul wrenching questions. A few days after his funeral, the dream of two young men came to be when two young missionaries knocked on her door. She let them in and they taught her of the Plan of Salvation and Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. After investigating the church for a while, she had to move away and lost contact with the missionaries.
She then told us with tears in her eyes that today was her deceased husband’s birthday! It was the first time she was not working at her job in weeks because she was simply too sad to go to work. She said to us, “God and my husband sent you here for my family again!” After searching the events of the past week, I looked her in the eye and with a surety could say, “Yes they did.” It was a miracle we had returned and found her at home. We were grateful she had taken the day off.
Something had changed in her family since the original set of missionaries came to teach them. They had started to search for what God would have them do. Their hearts had been softened enough that they knew they needed to be baptized. Heavenly Father introduces Jesus Christ after his baptism in Matthew as “my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” “I want God to be pleased about me,” Piedad would often say.
So after a few more weeks of teaching the family, Piedad was baptized, along with her 16 year old daughter Priscilla and 12 year old son Frank. They have now gone to the temple for their husband and father. The Lord fulfills his promises to us. We can have confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patiently persevere.
I testify that we can have hope in the gospel and hope in Jesus Christ. This is his work, he leads it through the proper Priesthood lines of authority. The gospel and church are truly restored. Through trials and difficulties, temptations and hardships, living the gospel is the one sure way to bring peace, happiness, and unity. I testify that there is a God in Heaven who knows and loves us. His son, Jesus Christ, came to the earth to live a perfect life and offer a perfect sacrifice. He lives and is my best friend. Through the Holy Ghost I have come to know them and the truthfulness of this gospel. I love the Lord with all my heart. The gospel is here to change lives, ours and all those we serve. I am so grateful the Spirit prompted us to leave that home the moment we did, otherwise the missionaries may not have returned and found her home for months or even years to come.
Sincerely, Kyle Gifford