"Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away." Ether 13:8
Happy Fourth of July! Using my favorite treat (only 45 calories), I send you some red, white, and blue (as close as I can get to a flag today). It seemed very strange not seeing flags flying everywhere. I should have had Elder Blain take my picture in the outfit I wore to church. I'd never worn my red coat with the black, white, and blue flowered skirt, but it worked for today. With my cheap, but sparkly, crystal bead bracelets, I looked properly American. Maybe a bit of a tacky American, but American.
"And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14
I was literally pushed from my seat by the Spirit to stand and bear my testimony in the Stoke Ward today. It takes something like that to get me to walk to the pulpit and stand in front of people due to my lack of courage and dread of having attention focused upon me alone. You'd think I would have outgrown that after all these years in the Church and having done thousands of presentations in the public sector, but the basic shyness came with me and shows no indication of ever leaving. Only those who are introverts and suffer from shyness can understand this curse fully. Yet, the fact we can conquer the fear with the Lord's help and function in the world is a testimony to me that prayers are answered and He does help us when there are purposes to be accomplished. We have to go forth in faith and just do the thing we most fear and then we grow.
Just because I can get up doesn't mean things come out as expected. While standing in front of the congregation, I announced that I was celebrating my independence from them. At least everyone laughed. One never knows here in England. I did acknowledge my thankfulness for England as the mother land and for the fact a strong foundation was built for the newly restored Church when the Lord sent British and Danish saints to America. They were the backbone of the strong pioneers who made the trip to the Salt Lake Valley to build up Zion there.
Today, I was most thankful for our investigator from Angola (by way of Portugal). He has been quite ill and we weren't sure he'd show today. As we waited for our investigator to show, we saw the young Elders standing out on the steps in the front of the building waiting for investigators they expected that never showed. They worked so hard during the week. We were all praying for each one individually to be there and then only the one showed. I knew how deeply disappointed they were, but I know they won't lose faith. They'll just keep working with all of their heart, might, mind, and strength.
Our hearts leaped with joy when we saw our investigator coming down the hall. He came into the building looking like a royal prince, carrying himself beautifully. His regal look was enhanced by a brand new suit, white shirt, matching tie, and shiny shoes, with his waist-long dreadlocks tied neatly at the back of his head with multiple twists of his own hair. It was easy to imagine his ancestors in Africa as chiefs and leaders in the tribes. Aside from his appearance, there is a spiritual maturity about him that is unusual. He has had a very, very difficult life thus far, yet he has faith. This person humbles us. I spoke of him in an earlier blog, but we are so in awe of this man being sent to us to teach and he is teaching us. I am grateful beyond words to know this person, to see his soul, to hear him pray, and to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a very choice son sent from Heavenly Father for greater purposes than we know. What a blessing to associate with persons such as he.
This experience in Stoke Ward, having four investigators the Zone Leaders are teaching show up to Newcastle Ward, hearing a new investigator bear her testimony that she'd read the Book of Mormon in three days and had to leave the church she loves because she knows it is right to join Christ's Church, and hearing so many heartfelt testimonies of members in two fast and testimony meetings today filled us over the brim. Our Sabbath couldn't have been better!