One of the more stalwart members of the Church I have met surprised me with the story of his conversion recently. He told me that before he and his wife joined the Church over 30 years ago, they were party animals, living a life that brought a lot of pain. One day, his wife told him that she did not want to commit suicide, but said, “I just want this to end” – referring, I think, to the lifestyle and the situation they were in. Desperate, she tried God. She knelt down and prayed for help. Within one hour, the missionaries were there at the door. When one of them said that they were there with a message from Jesus Christ for her, she yanked them inside the house and had them teach her.
A really remarkable thing is the experience that the two missionaries had in finding that home. They had felt moved to try a different area that day and were riding their bikes down the street where the woman and her husband lived. They were trying to go by the Spirit to find a place to work at that moment. They were not planning to work on that street, but as they were riding, one elder said it was as if the brakes of the bike jammed themselves in front of that home. They knew that they needed to knock on that specific door, one home out of about 50 on the street. One home out of 50 – talk about pinpoint precision. I am often touched by the kindness of the Lord in hearing the prayers of those who seek Him, though sometimes His children need to wait a little more than an hour. Thanks goodness those missionaries were also seeking His will and were there to be instruments in the Lords hands.
She was hungry for the Gospel. But the missionaries were worried about the husband. After five discussions, they had not yet challenged them to baptism. The husband knew that they needed to be asked to be baptized. On the fifth discussion, he challenged the elders: “What’s the holdup? When are you going to ask us to be baptized?” They explained that they had been afraid to ask him that and thought he would object. No, he was ready. Good reminder on being bold in inviting them to come unto Christ.
It’s been over 30 years since they joined, and they continue inspiring and helping others to this day, in spite of the many challenges life throws our way.
Those experiences resonate with some of mine from my mission in Switzerland. The conversion story that touched me most deeply was that of a beautiful Swiss girl who also had contemplated suicide after feeling overwhelmed with the emptiness in her life. After finding her minister cared nothing for her needs, she prayed, and within hours the missionaries were there.
Wherever you are in life, don’t forget to pray. God is there and has ways to help. For many people, the help they need most (and sometimes want least) may well come in the form of a knock at the door from two young representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, bringing a message that I truly believe is from Jesus Christ.