This has been possibly the strangest week in my entire mission. But before I get into that, I just want to talk about how shocked I am that time is going by so fast. Today is my 9 month mark as a missionary. It seems like just a month or two ago I got here. It doesn’t make sense to me. But as I look at the changes in myself, I can not believe that it has only been 9 months. I feel like I have learned more, grown more, and changed more in these 9 months than the past 9 years of my life before my mission. Its a wonderful feeling to have and I am grateful to be here learning and growing in the way that I am.
Now for the strange things that have happened this week. Miracle number 1. On Friday, Elder DiPeri and I had quite a busy day and found ourselves out our flat at 8:50 pm. 9 pm is the time we usually need to be in and so we decided we would stay out for 10 more minutes to speak with as many people as we could. The first person to walk by was a man in his 30s. We said hello to him and instantly he let out a flurry of words that I will never repeat. We just looked at him and asked politely as possible why he was so angry. He didn’t respond, but walked away. Then after about 15 meters, he stopped and turned back at us. He walked straight towards me and without saying anything took a wild and angry swing. No, he didn’t hit me and no, I didn’t hit him. He didn’t stop trying though. But I was so confused at what was happening. To make a long story short, no one was hurt and no one was hit. The reason why I bring this up. This same thing happened to me about 2 months in my mission (7 months ago) and I was so very angry at the man! Then I was not hit and I did not hit him, but back then I was just angry for the next hour. Now 7 months later it happens again, and this time I can honestly say I felt no hard feelings for him. I had no anger, no frustration. I was confused, yes, but I still wanted to be his friend and help him. Now this is not because I am a greatly patient person. It is because The Atonement has changed me so much in my time here.
Miracle number 2. The very next day, we had a miracle. Elder DiPeri and I were looking for a friend’s home who lived about 45 minutes away from our flat. When we got to the area, we realized that we had left the map at home. After looking for quite sometime, a man gave us directions and we found our way there. When we got to the home, however, we found that no one was there. Now left with nothing to do for an hour or so, we walked down the steps and saw the same man who gave us directions to the home just a bit earlier. He stopped us and asked us what we did. We told him we were missionaries and he instantly said, “Woah, I am not interested. But if you walk down this hill and talk your first left, then turn right at the bargain booze you will find a shelter for those that need help. You should go there.”
Taking his advice, we thanked him and went. When we got to the bottom of the hill and turned left, we soon saw the bargain booze. As we walked towards it, however, I looked left and saw a street named Apple Court. I don’t know why, but it seemed to light up. For some reason I felt a strong urge to go down that street instead of where the man told us to go. I stopped, contemplated, then turned down the street. Elder DiPeri followed. When we got to the street I noticed small homes on a semi circle. I looked at the homes to know which one was the one that we were meant to go to. As I looked around, I saw a home with a red door. It seemed to glow. I went there and knocked, knowing someone would be behind that door that needed us. To make this story shorter, a lady answered who was initially from Scotland, who moved to America, and was now in England. She was baptised into this church as a 13 year old and had lost contact ever since. She told us she had lost her father just 2 weeks prior and that she was so grateful that we contacted her again. The last question she asked before we went inside was, “How did you find me?” We told her that God had sent us there. Oh the joy on her face! We will be seeing her weekly now.
Are these things mere coincidence? Can we really tell ourselves that? Or do we recognise what has happened? I want you to know that these things are not coincidence. The changes in me are not the result of coincidence or experience. Finding that lady was not a matter of guessing and getting lucky. They were and are gifts from God given through the Holy Ghost. I feel it. I know it. I am grateful to be here! Go and feel it and know it for yourselves!
I love you!