Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Puzzling Coincidences After People Pray to Find the Truth

I just checked out MormonTestimonies.org, a new Wiki-based site where members can upload their own testimonies. I encourage you to use it. I was pleased to find the testimony of Giuseppe Martinengo, whom I just met during recent travels. He's an intelligent, well-educated convert who speaks four or five languages. In his testimony, he shares an experience which I have encountered many times in the lives of other converts, an experience that I find to be one of those puzzling little things about missionary work:
I can remember that I was laying down on my bed, tired of my apparently fruitless search. I offered a simple silent prayer, in which I basically said, "I have done all that I knew I should do… now I really need help since I don’t know what to do next."

As soon as I expressed my thoughts to God, I started feeling an incredible peace and I felt as if heaven was close to me. In that exact moment, the doorbell rang. This time I was alone at home. I went to answer at the door and the missionaries were there. When they entered the living room, and shook my hand, I knew that they had the answers I was looking for.
This puzzles me because it seems to happen relatively often. A woman in my little ward had a very similar story. In total desperation about her empty life, she decided she needed to pray. She prayed that God would show her what to do, and seconds later the missionaries were at the door. And they, too, had experienced unusual guidance in coming to that door at just the right moment.

A convert that I taught on my mission in Switzerland had a story remarkably similar to Giuseppe's, with similarity in several additional details shared in his complete story. After finally turning to the Lord in prayer, the missionaries showed up - may have been a day or two, but the moment they came was perfect timing for other reasons, and when she read the materials they left, there was a recognition of truths that she somehow already knew. The drama and power of her conversion, and the joy that it brought to her life and to many other people over the next few years made everything I put up with on my mission more than worth it.

It's a story I seem to have heard frequently. When people pray for guidance, for truth, the Lord listens. And for some percentage of those cases, Mormon missionaries with uncanny timing show up.

Please note: I'm not saying that the Lord only sends Mormon missionaries. People seeking for the truth have had their lives improved by finding many other faiths, sometimes with uncanny timing helping them to move forward in that particular direction. The most important thing in my post is this: It pays to pray. Whoever you are, if you sense that you are missing something in life, if you sense incompleteness and a need for truth that you don't have, then do all you can to find it, and make sure you exercise faith in God by praying to Him to help you find what you need. When people pray to find the truth, the Lord hears and, in his own due time, will bless you. And that due time may, in some cases, be seconds after your sincere prayer.

Oh, and by the way, if He sends Mormon missionaries right after your prayer, at least give them a chance to share their message. You might be surprised at what you find.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

My mother had been searching for the truth. She had learned how to pray from one of the churches that she attended. One day while doing her laundry, she got down on her knees, and asked Heavenly Father to help her find the right Church. There was a knock at the door before she had finished her prayer. Guess Who? The Missionaries! She accepted the Gospel right away, but the Branch President wanted her to wait for my father to join with her. After a year it was obvious that my father was not interested. So she was Baptized. That was 41 years ago. She now has grandchildren growing up in the Gospel. Last year my father accepted the Gospel, and was Baptized. My mother waited patiently 40 years for that day. We are preparing to go to the Temple with him next month. One simple little prayer has brought so much joy to our whole family.

Anonymous said...

Great to here about your mother and family. I don't know about getting such quick results from prayer but when I was about 19 I was trying to make a major decision about leaving home for college across country and I had a profound spiritual experience that knowledge that there was something out there for me. This experience confirmed to me there was a God. About a year later I was reading about Christ working miracles in someone's life and again I knew Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Then a year later I was introduce to the Book of Mormon and the First Vision and again felt this powerful over whelming peace and out pouring spirit that filled my entire being. I knew it was true from prayer.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. I have prayed many, many times in my search for God to send me a missionary if he wants me te be a mormon, but even though I have ridden on the bus with them, seen them canvassing my neighborhood, and stood in line at the airport with many missionaries, none of them has ever approached me. I have taken this to mean that this is not what the Lord wants for me.

Peter said...

Anonymous said...

I don't know. I have prayed many, many times in my search for God to send me a missionary if he wants me te be a mormon, but even though I have ridden on the bus with them, seen them canvassing my neighborhood, and stood in line at the airport with many missionaries, none of them has ever approached me. I have taken this to mean that this is not what the Lord wants for me.

9:36 PM, September 19, 2007

Hi,
Sounds like the Lord sent you many missionaries to me. Have you wanted to talk to them? Been sitting there thinking why don't they come and talk to me? Sometimes the Lord provides opportunities that we need to make the effort on. But hey, it's up to you. Maybe it's like putting out some chocolate for you, it's there if you want it, you just need to take some. Only, this isn't a quick fix, it's like, never ending chocolate.
I used to be a wayward sole, I knew of Jesus and prayed but I wasn't really listening. When I came into the church I likened the Gospel and the feeling to a drug, except you can't overdose and it's better then anything you can imagine.

With hope,
Peter

Floyd the Wonderdog said...

I've been on the other side of the experience. My MP had promised us at Zone Conference that if we worked hard all week searching for families to teach, at the end of the week we would have a family to teach. My companion and I took it seriously and set to work. THe other Elders in our district gave up before the week was out, but we stuck to it. We were walking back to the apartment late Saturday night without finding a family to teach. Suddenly there was a lady behind us calling out in English. She told us her family wanted to join the church. Her brother was a member in the States and he told them to look up the church. She had received his letter the day before and didn't know where to find the church. They were baptized soon after.

Anonymous said...

Peter,
Don't you think that if God were sending a missionary to a person, He have the missionary actually SPEAK to the person? A person asking a missionary for information on the LDS church doesn't show that God initiated the exchange a a response to prayer. It would only show that the person in question was curious about mormonism.

Peter said...

You're obviously interested. Why not take the bull by the horns, so to speak. Let's say that faith is a cup, some people fill their cup and some people wait for their cup to be filled. While both have their cup filled the one that fills his own usually gets it first.