Right now a good many missionaries, parents, mission presidents and wives, and Church leadership are in the midst of difficult situations and decisions.
I’m one of those parents.
I’m aware that it’s particularly precarious in certain areas including Central and South America with army presence on the streets and earthquakes (besides Utah), including in the Adriatic North Mission and Ecuador.
Missionaries are suddenly coming home who were knee-deep in the work; parents are struggling to comfort and console while not having a lot of answers.
My daughter is staying put in France, for now. Each day is new info and continued faith.
But the one thing that remains true is this: He knows. He’s got this. He’s with them and with us.
I had a surprising experience yesterday that cemented that truth, which I’ll share in a moment.
None of this is news to Him. We are in the times foretold and we will move through it like the spiritual giants of old. Because they are us. Ordinary people trying to care for their families, live good lives, and love God, and all of it simultaneously through warfare, turbulence, and the unknown. He can help us be those spiritual people. The best version of ourselves, if we choose.
Choose peace. Choose faith. Choose to trust that He knows and has you—and them—right where you need to be.
I’ve encouraged my daughter to focus on Him. That this experience is about her willingness to serve and work with what comes her way, and love it. The missionary details of where, when, and how long are His job.
Yesterday those thoughts simmered as I searched the scriptures on a completely unrelated topic. I happened to click on this powerful talk by Elder John H. Groberg. Perfectly timed and suited, he shares something of his mission experience that gave me great perspective.
My daughter, in France, has been able to talk with me three times this week. She has food storage. She is in a clean apartment. She is safe and healthy and has a great companion.
Just to get to his mission Elder Groberg traveled alone, for weeks on end, with little money, food, guidance or clear help, and in a foreign country using a language he did not know. But he did the one thing he could do…
His family prayed.
And because they prayed—with power, with real intent, with faith—miracles occurred. Everyday needed miracles.
At one of his lowest and most dangerous points, he shares this…
“The dock workers began to leave, then the immigration people, until just a few watchmen and supervisors were left. It was silent now. I don’t know when I have felt more alone.
“I tried to lie down on the dirty, uneven cement floor. I prayed to know what to do. There seemed to be no answer. I watched the last rays of sunlight as they broke through the clouds and blazed across the ocean and through the holes of the metal customs shed.
‘How long will the light last?’ I thought. (Have you ever wanted to just sort of close your eyes and disappear—or have things around you change?) ‘But, no, I must have hope. Things must turn out all right.’
“Once more, I closed my eyes in prayer, when suddenly I felt almost transported. I didn’t see anything or hear anything, in a physical sense; but, in a more real way, I saw a family in far-off Idaho kneeling together in prayer; and I heard my mother, acting as mouth, say as clearly as anything can be heard, ‘And bless John on his mission.’
“As that faithful family called down the powers of heaven to bless their missionary son in a way they could not physically do, I testify that the powers of heaven did come down, and they lifted me up and, in a spiritual way, allowed me, for a brief moment, to once again join that family circle in prayer.
“I was one with them. I was literally swallowed up in the love and concern of a faithful family and sensed for a moment what being taken into Abraham’s bosom may be like.
“I was given to understand also that there are other circles of love and concern unbounded by time or space to which we all belong and from which we can draw strength. God does not leave us entirely alone—ever!
“Tears of joy flowed freely as I had restored to me the warmth of security, the light of love, and the strength of hope. And when I again felt the hard, uneven cement beneath me, there was no fear, no sorrow, no trepidation, only deep gratitude and certain assurance.”
We can trust in Him with “deep gratitude and certain assurance.”
We can pray.
On this particular weekend of prayer and service in Utah, let’s pray with power. As we kneel in humility, seeking His will, and trusting fully and completely in His plan, we can feel peace. We can know that He lives, and that He loves each one of His children (and I dare say especially His missionaries—though we know parents don’t have favorites…#ish)
Please read this entire incredible talk by Elder Groberg. A last quote:
“I testify that time and space are no barriers to these righteous influences, and no matter where we are or what our situation is—even in the depths of discouragement, far from our loved ones—we too can feel and be strengthened by those soul-stirring words, ‘and bless John or Jane or whomever on his or her mission,’ for indeed life is a mission. We are all here on assignment to learn to love and serve one another; and we can’t do this as well as we should unless we have consistent, fervent family prayer.”
With love and prayers,
P.S. Read the talk here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/…/the-power-of-family-p…