missionaryDear President Albright,

This last week was one of the most tiring weeks of my mission, but it was one of the most spiritual. I was very grateful to have been able to attend zone conference this week. There was something said that really struck me, which was to listen and FOLLOW the Spirit as we find and teach. It reminded me of a true story that I hold very close to my heart that comes from our family history.

Many years ago, there was a missionary who was half-way through his mission. He hadn’t had a single baptism, and he felt very discouraged. One day, he and his companion were out tracting. They knocked on a door and an angry man answered. He yelled some explicit words at the elders, and then slammed the door closed in their faces. When this missionary arose the next morning, he felt a strong impression to return to that same house and knock again. His companion argued with him for most of the day, but finally ended up agreeing to try. They prayed that the man’s heart would be softened.  When they knocked on the door again, the wife of the man answered. She let them in and the elders taught her and her four young children about the restoration. The husband arrived during the lesson and listened; this time his heart was softened. A month later, the couple was baptized. These were the only baptisms this missionary had during his entire mission. That young married couple were my great-grandparents!

Every two years, we have a family reunion. Several years ago, my grandfather contacted that same missionary who was still bothered about the apparent “lack of success” on his mission. Then during our family reunion, my grandfather had all of our family gather in an auditorium. He then invited this former missionary, now an old man, to walk out onto the stage. He had him look into the crowd, and asked if he knew who these people were. The old man replied, “No.” My grandfather then explained to him that all these people were the result of his baptism of one couple many years earlier!  All 107 members of the church present in the room were the direct descendants of the couple he had baptized, with 24 people serving or having served full-time missions. Countless others had been converted by these dozens of missionaries serving from our family. The old man fell to his knees and cried. We all cried together. I was just a teenager at the time but I will never forget the overwhelming feelings of love and appreciation in the room. If this man as a former missionary had not listened to a spiritual prompting early one morning, and acted upon it, my family and I may not have become members of this church. How grateful I am for that missionary to have acted on that impression. Without him, who knows where I would be today, or what I would be doing.

We all need to pay close attention to spiritual impressions we receive and then have the courage to act on them. Even if it means going back to someone who had said some pretty mean things! I bear you my testimony that I know this gospel is true. The work that we do is far greater than we can comprehend. I love our Savior and the Atonement that he performed.

 

Sincerely,

Elder Michael Litchfield