Heavenly Father is always aware of His children even when their lives appear to be so shattered. As Alma explained to the poor whose afflictions had humbled them, “God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word” (Alma 32:22).
I quickly learned this one evening when my companion and I received a mysterious text asking if we were available to meet the next day. As a missionary, it was a rare occurrence, and we were very excited to have someone who wanted so desperately to meet with us. We were also a bit confused. We promptly set up an appointment at Tim Horton’s the following day.
When we walked into the restaurant, we had no idea what to expect or who we were even to be looking for. After incorrectly asking a couple of people if they were “E,” we finally saw him hurry in, and we sat together. He looked anxious and concerned. He hurriedly began to unfold his life’s story to us. He told us how a relationship that he had been in for the past 12 years had suddenly ended. He was soon to be divorced. He felt as though everything that he had held on to had been shattered in one night.
Learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Over the next several weeks, we learned more about what had been going on with his personal relationships, and those experiences continued to devastate and hurt him. The amazing thing about the whole situation is that he had turned to exactly the right source—God. He had remembered meeting missionaries earlier that year, and in an act of desperation he reached out to us not knowing anyone else to contact. The words of Jesus Christ rang true, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). God always provides people to pick up and support his children.
At first, my companion and I had no idea how to help him; we had never been through what he was experiencing. As we put our trust in the Lord and taught him the doctrine of Christ (see Preach My Gospel), his life began to change. Light filled his soul and knowledge and understanding began to fill his mind. Day by day and prayer by prayer, he began to become more of the man that Heavenly Father knows that he could be. It was a real transformation as his faith began to grow.
The principle of faith is clearly taught in these words by Alma: “But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life” (Alma 32:41).
Blessings of Belonging to Christ’s Restored Church
About six weeks after meeting him, he was prepared to enter into an eternal covenant with his Heavenly Father by being baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Spirit was felt greatly that day as we witnessed those sacred events. He truly had been “born of God” (Alma 36:23), and his life was evidence that God is a “God of miracles” (Mormon 9:11). His example of repentance is a miracle in my life that will always be proof for me that faith in Jesus Christ truly does change lives.
I have witnessed similar experiences many times during my life and on my mission. “E’s” story and testimony warms my heart. I am forever grateful that I was able to teach the gospel to someone who was so prepared to grow and change. When the principles and doctrines of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ are applied, they change our lives.
Soon after he was baptized, he was able to receive the Aaronic Priesthood and attend the temple for proxy baptisms.
He felt great peace and healing and purpose as he continued to be righteous and take steps forward in the gospel. Only a couple months after his baptism, his path led him to a new country where he has continued to learn about and grow in the gospel.
I have learned that when a child of God is humble and willing to change, God is prepared to lift us to a higher plane of living. God is a worker of miracles, a filler of light, and a fixer of broken things. Just as Heavenly Father healed and helped “E,” He can change our lives too.
As stated in one of the concluding verses of the Book of Mormon: “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32).