Growing up I always loved attending church meetings. They were always uplifting and that was where I could find many of my friends. But it wasn't until I was a missionary that I came to understand just how important these meetings are. It wasn't until one particular zone conference that I realized we can receive revelation and answers to our prayers through the things others share at these meetings.
It was at about my eight month mark as a missionary. I was
really enjoying being a missionary and loved sharing my testimony with
people. I was training my first missionary, Sister Hart, and she and I
got along like peanut butter and chocolate and I was happy. But there
was still one thing that felt to me like a fly buzzing around my ear.
I still hadn't baptized anyone.
It bothered me a lot because my whole life I had listened to
stories about how if missionaries were obedient they would baptize
thousands. Or at least, that's how I interpreted them. Every week we
would receive an email of who was having baptisms in the mission and
read it as "the list of successful missionaries this week." I longed to
have my name on that list.
I had spent many many hours on my knees asking my Heavenly
Father why we couldn't find anyone that was prepared. What was I doing
wrong? Every night before I prayed I wrote my thoughts in a little
prayer journal. The night before zone conference I filled the last page in
the journal and felt like that was a final cry to Heavenly Father for help.
Zone conference came around and after car checks we began the
meeting with an opening hymn and prayer just as every meeting in the
church always begins. Then our Mission President gave some opening
remarks and following him one of the Assistants to the President stood
up to give the first training of the day.
He described that he came to a point on his mission where he
felt like he was trying hard to do what was right, but that things
weren't happening. He said, "my mission started to change me, but I
didn't see the miracles from my work.
"That's where I am right now" I thought as I began to take notes quickly.
The title for his training was "more hope, more faith" and I
listened as he described how he gained more faith as a missionary. And
this gave me hope that maybe I could too.
Throughout the next few days I studied faith pretty intently in
my studies. What is it? How does it work? How do I get it? Then my
companion and I started to put it into practice.
I think the only noticeable change anyone saw in us was that we
had a better attitude. Instead of trying to mentally prepare ourselves
for things not to work out or for people to reject us we made an effort
to speak as if everyone would let us in and keep their commitments.
Overtime we started to believe in miracles and overtime miracles started to happen. And when miracles happened we got excited.
We observed one of our zone leaders and the enthusiasm he has
for the work. Every time something good happens (and basically every
time we see him) he always works into the conversation an enthusiastic
"WHAHOOOOOOOO!" We tried to emulate his example of enthusiasm when good
things happened. We also made a greater effort to offer prayers of
gratitude to the Lord when we did see miracles.
We worked at this for a little bit. This Sunday we will be baptizing our first convert.
I can't say it was anything I did to make this happen because
it was surely all the Lord's doing, but I can say that this experience
taught me that miracles do happen. They happen everyday, and if we put
forth our effort to believe in them, recognize them, and thank God for
them they are more likely to happen.
I think this is what faith is.