A warm gentle wind kisses my face. My hands grip lightly the rubber handlebars as my bike wheels softly click. The sky is hugging our Earth with gold and hazy blue as the sun nearly sets. I breathe deeply the air from the grassy plains surrounding me. My thoughts are slow, taking in the precious moment God gave to finish a perfectly difficult day, laboring in His field. I smile. I feel so so grateful to have visited such noble people, such people that have experienced horrors and fought through such difficulties, and now cling to our visits from the Spirit to learn just a little more about their meager faith, a mere seedling. I say to myself, peacefully, "I am about the greatest work bestowed from God to mankind!"
In Ballard's words, "On the sea of Galilee, Jesus asked Peter three times, 'Lovest thou me?' Each time Peter's reply was the same: 'Thou knowest that I love thee.' And each time the Savior instructed Peter: 'Feed my lambs...Feed my sheep...Feed my sheep.' ...In revelation to the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord puts it in very simple terms: 'It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.'" (D&C 88:81 and John 21:15-17)
Saturday morning we had the brilliant idea (thanks, Holy Ghost!!) to ambush Laura to come to a church tour. She has been making excuses to dodge church for months now. Arvin and Linda Field, her neighbors that referred us to her, had a simple two-board ramp to load her motor wheelchair. So we set it up in her driveway and knocked on her door with grins on our faces. We invited her to put on some shoes becuase we were taking her to church.
Sister Blood and I had spent an hour prior cleaning up the church, regulating the temperature, turning lights on and setting up the baptismal font. Once we all arrived, the Spirit Sister Blood and I had felt in those empty hallways had grown even stronger. Laura was quietly excited as she drank our church in. After touring classrooms we approached the font. Laura rolled up to the edge of it, her eyes welled up (the first of many more times that hour), and she asked simple questions about the process. She confessed, "I thought I had to be perfectly clean in order to be baptized. Now I understand I can't even BE clean UNTIL I am baptized. That's what baptism is for!"
At last! Haha. After we watched the 20 minute restoration DVD, eyes wet, sweet Arvin who had reactivated just recently after decades of inactivity bore his simple and powerful testimony. Linda also shared her personal experience in the Sacred Grove. Laura said again she now understood so much more the significance of the Restoration, and was so happy to be learning it's truth.
Finally, we entered the chapel. I'm crying now just thinking about it. "Can I go up to see the podium?" Laura asked. It was completely quiet. She was speechless, reverantly taking in the modest splendor, commenting on the strong Spirit, imagining the sacrament blessing. We sat down to bear final testimony of church and this glorious gospel, and our love for Laura. She said she finally found a skirt the other day that would fit her thinning skin and bones without falling down. She happily agreed to come to church next week, and set her official baptismal date for July 12th. She was delighted to hear it will be on a Saturday, her daughter is only off work then and expressed really wanting to come. Oh how joyful!! It was a most perfect day. We couldn't believe it's success, it was absolutly the miracle of our Heavenly Father, and we know it never could have happened were it not for the marvelous assistance of the Field family, the help of active members.
I love being a missionary!! But we just CANNOT do it without our members! I have seen convert baptisms found by tracting and they often fall away because they lack the friendship and support that an actively involved member needs to provide, not missionaries. I hope so badly that all of you are assisting your full-time missionaries in this divine work, above all they need you to do as President Monson declared this past April, is to truly love and reach out to your neighbors and those the missionaries are bringing in, just as Jesus taught.
I love you all! Thank you so much for your prayers and support, I know this week might not have been what it was if I hadn't received the blessings of strength from my fam and friends back home. I really cannot thank you all enough. I feel so honored to have you all. I LOVE YOU!!
Sister Murphy Senior