Happy–late–fourth of July! This Saturday will be France’s independence day. For the fourth we just made hamburgers and went out to work. It was sort of a crumby day to be honest. My companion and I were both super tired and just not feeling very good at all. Some of our rendez-vous that we had set up fell through and so that meant that we’d spend our time finding.
Well, the night before Elder Andrus had taken a look at our map and pointed to a ville not too far from Mantes, Gargenville. He suggested porting there. I knew that one of the families in the ward lived there and I figured we could port in their neighborhood. So we did that.
When we got there we drove around the neighborhood looking for a good place to start. I realized that I had actually already done half of the neighborhood just a couple months before, so we were having difficulty finding a good spot. We finally reached the end of the road and decided that it would be the place.
The third house that we knocked on was newly built. The driveway hadn’t yet been finished. When we knocked on it, we were answered by a woman in a wheelchair. Her hair was slightly tangled and she was dressed all in pink.
“Hello, we’re missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ,” we said.
“I know. Me too!”
I immediately took her comment to mean, I’m a missionary too. I’ve gotten this from some people before on the streets. You tell them that you’re a missionary and then they tell you that they’re missionaries too and that everyone who is Christian is a missionary. And sometimes, if they’re in a grumpy mood, they like to be sassy about it.
But then she said something else, “You’re Mormon, right?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Me too! I was baptized in 1994 in Le Havre,” she said.
I was a bit surprised and I think Elder Andrus was too. She let us inside and led us to a table.
“I’m surprised to see you,” she said. “I had no idea that the church was here in Mantes.” She went on to tell us about herself. She’s inactive and has been for a very long time. She left the church after a series of health problems. She couldn’t understand why God would let her suffer so much. Over the years she’s convinced herself that there is no God. “Yet at the same time, deep down, I’ve always known that there is. I’m just angry.”
Since leaving the church, she’s been divorced but a few years ago remarried another man. Her husband and his children are completely atheist. In fact, in the middle of our discussion, her step son ran down the stairs with no shirt, a knife in his hand and the word SATAN written over his chest.
“We’re going to have a ritual, do you want to come?” he asked.
We didn’t really respond. It was pretty dirty of him. The second he left, she broke into tears.
We talked to her for a long time, sharing a couple scriptures and reassuring her. In the end, she decided that she wants to come back to Church. She wants a little bit of time to prepare herself and her family. It looks like there’ll be a lot of opposition from that family. But we know that the Lord will be by her side as she makes the effort.
“You know,” she said, “It doesn’t matter where I’ve gone. The missionaries have always found me wherever I’ve been.”
Clearly the Lord has been given her chance after chance. She says that she’s going to take it this time. We hope she does.
The Lord looks over his children and he sends help when they need it. We only have to be willing to accept it when it comes. And then we should always been alert to the promptings of the Spirit, because sometimes we’re the ones who are being sent to lift up each other’s burdens.
We left her house and Elder Andrus asked, “How did we even get here?”
Elder Saul Marquez