The Lord taught me a couple of things this week.
First, I surprised myself on Friday. Months ago when they said that J.K. Rowling was releasing her new book, I said, “I will not read it, but I will buy it the day it comes out! I always buy her books on the first day!” That Tuesday I saw the signs. Bright red and yellow. There are several book stores in Valenciennes that we pass by often and so I couldn’t miss it. Une Place a Prendre is the name in French. And, of course, my initial thought was, “Yup. I won’t read it or anything, but I will buy it!” Even if it was in French. It’d be cool to read in French after the mission.
Well, Friday came and there it was. I saw that book everywhere. Every book store had it in its windows and every book store had its doors wide open. But I didn’t go in and, in fact, I didn’t even want to. And I don’t want to. I was actually surprised. I realized that… deep down…. I don’t… really… care… about that book. Or Harry Potter.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I still care. I just don’t care. There are a lot better things to care about right now. I’ll read those books and I’ll watch those movies when I get home. I still love it and all. It’s still my favorite book (next to Preach My Gospel! Hehe). I still love Harry Potter, talking about Harry Potter, reading books and what not. It’s not that my love for reading died or diminished. It’s just that it’s not my number one priority right now. And I don’t want it to be. Because there are better and happier things in the world.
Like helping others.
But I was even having a hard time with helping others last Friday. You see, when we got to Friday I wasn’t in the best of moods. We had scheduled several rendez-vous for the day and all of them, save one, fell through. And so I was annoyed. We had planning that Friday and Elder Kendall and I were going to get some contacting in afterwards in hopes of finding someone to teach.
Well, that morning the phone rang. It was a sister in the ward. She needed help moving a huge china cabinet. She asked if we could go over later that day. Of course, I said yes. But my initial thought was, No! We need to go contacting! No sooner had I thought that when my mind shot back to the prayer I had given that morning and even the night before. And then I realized that I hadn’t just prayed for this that morning and the night before. Rather, I pray for this every single day. I always ask the Lord to give me the opportunity to help others.
And now here was someone asking for our help. And I was complaining inside? I realized that I was in the wrong. I pictured my mother giving me a good talking to (“Saulito, I am so disappointed in you! You know better than that! I taught you better! Go pick up the dog poop!”) and I changed my attitude.
We couldn’t move that stinking china cabinet. It was HUGE. And so she said, “I’ll go get the neighbor!” She left for thirty seconds and came right back in. But she didn’t have her neighbor. No, she had seen a kid our age walk past her house and asked if he could help. He said yes and he came inside and helped us move the cabinet out of her house.
When the work was over he asked who we were. We told him we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And then he asked if we were the ones giving out the short bibles. We made sure he was talking about us and not another religion and when we established that he was, we told him we were, indeed, the missionaries that hand out the shorter bibles, but that the “shorter bible” is actually the Book of Mormon. And we gave one to him and explained what it was and the history behind it. He wasn’t interested in fixing a rendez-vous or anything. But he did take the book and our number.
Perhaps he’s not a new investigator or anything, but one never knows what a simple contact with the missionaries can do some years later. I’ve seen baptisms come from what would appear to be an insignificant contact. None of it is actually insignificant. The Lord wanted us there rather than on the road contacting that day.
A few things were reinforced as I reflected on that experience. First, the Lord does, indeed, give us the opportunities to obtain our righteous desires. Second, we need to be humble enough to recognize those opportunities when they come. Third, count your blessings.
Because I hadn’t actually counted my blessings. Had I forgotten that week that we had a baptism scheduled for Saturday?!
And, indeed, we did have the baptism. And it was absolutely wonderful. It was the highlight of my week. This weekend I thought of how lucky I really actually am. SO WHAT IF our rendez-vous fell through? We got to see someone make that sacred first covenant with the Lord. What a blessing. And what a blessing to the ward she’ll be. It was great to see her join the rest of her family in the gospel. We love that family. They’re wonderful!
We even fixed two new baptismal dates with the young girls in that other family that I’ve talked about. Those will be the 27th of October.
So all in all, a great week. And I think a great week comes from a great attitude.
Elder Saul Marquez