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.