Serving as a missionary on Temple Square is a blessing because I get the opportunity to interact with and teach people from all over the world. This happens from all the visitors we get on Temple Square and also from teaching people online. My mission opens unique opportunities to witness thousands of lives going on all around me. I have come to learn that God’s hand is thoroughly involved in each of our lives. If we are looking, we will be able to see in our own lives that we are “in the hands of God” (Mormon 5:23).
Online Chats at ComeUntoChrist.org
About three and a half months into my mission, I was online one afternoon at our teaching center, and I accepted a chat. A chat is where a person who goes on our ComeUntoChrist.org website and can request to talk with a representative from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints immediately via instant messaging. As an online missionary, I respond to these chats and talk with people about the Church of Jesus Christ. This particular chat was with someone named Rose from the United Kingdom. That’s all I knew.
Rose told me that she had a few questions about our Church and the Book of Mormon. As I answered her questions and our conversation proceeded, I found out that Rose was on a search for the truth. She was trying to find the religion that felt right to her, for her life. As I taught her about Joseph Smith and his search for truth, she made an immediate connection with the first prophet of the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
During that first online chat, I was able to talk with Rose about many things: including the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. It was an amazing conversation. We became friends on Facebook and planned to keep in touch. I was so thrilled to be able to help this young woman as she searched for truth. I was so excited to teach her and help her as she learned more about Christ’s gospel. I had no idea what God had in mind for the future and that it would be even better than I could have imagined.
As time went by, Rose and I kept in touch via Facebook messaging. I sent her videos and talks to read, and she would let me know her thoughts and ask questions. She started reading the Book of Mormon on her phone, and we would share insights from what she read. About three weeks after our initial chat, I decided that Rose was well prepared to meet with local missionaries in her area. This was an important step because the local missionaries could help her in ways I couldn’t, and she would be able to continue to progress. I was hopeful that the missionaries in her area would be missionaries that my companion and I were able to work well with because I was eager for everything to go smoothly for Rose.
Trusting in Divine Design
I “trust in the Lord” that He would “direct [my] paths (Proverbs 3:5-6)—and a miracle happened. An elder answered the phone, and his companion turned out to be Elder (Kaj) Anderson, my second cousin who lived only 40 minutes away from me at home in Alberta. I knew that only God himself could have orchestrated that blessing.
Elder Ronald A Rasband said, “...coincidence is not an appropriate word to describe the workings of an omniscient God. He does not do things by ‘coincidence’ but … by ‘divine design” (“By Divine Design, Ensign, Nov. 2017). I know that is true. While serving a mission in Utah, I was able to call my cousin who was serving across the ocean in England. Together, we were able to bring a soul closer to Christ. God knew exactly when and where we needed to be for everything to happen exactly as it did.
The very next day after I contacted Elder Anderson and his companion, they met with Rose. She accepted their invitation to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized.
She set a date that was three weeks away. During that time, my heart felt as Ammon’s did after preaching the gospel to the Lamanites: “Now have we not reason to rejoice? ...Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in” (Alma 26:35-37). My heart was rejoicing as I realized that God truly is in the details of my life and the lives of all those around me.
As Rose continued to learn more, she and I continued to keep in touch via messaging. Through face to face contacts, Elder Anderson and his companion were able to teach Rose and help her progress in ways I could not do online. She received a hard copy of the Book of Mormon and proceeded to read it cover to cover in two and a half weeks, just in time for the day of her baptism—an amazing day. I was able to video call-in to say congratulations and listen to the talks during the meeting. As a missionary, nothing makes me happier than seeing someone choose to come closer to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. My joy was so full being able to be a part of Rose’s journey on the covenant path.
“Friendships of Resumption”
The other amazing blessing that has come from this experience is that I have gained a new friend. Elder Rasband said, “We all have similar things happen in our lives. We may meet someone who seems familiar, renew an acquaintance, or find common ground with a stranger. When those occur, perhaps the Lord is reminding us that we are all truly brothers and sisters” (“By Divine Design”). I add my witness to Elder Rasband, that we really are all God’s children.
Although Rose and I only met a few months ago, and we have never met in person, we have become such good friends. We discuss the fact that it’s a miracle we were able to become friends so quickly. Elder Neal A. Maxwell offers a perfect explanation for this occurrence, “One of the reasons we love each other in the kingdom is that our friendships are not friendships of initiation at all but are, instead, friendships of resumption!” (“Brim with Joy,” Brigham Young University Speeches [Jan. 23, 1996])
As I have had this experience over the past couple months the words of a familiar hymn ring true to me:
“Dearest children, God is near you,
Watching o’er you day and night,
And delights to own and bless you,
If you strive to do what’s right.
He will bless you, He will bless you,
If you put your trust in him.” (“Dearest Children, God Is Near You,” Hymns, 96)
I have come to know of a surety that God is my loving Heavenly Father, and He is in the details of my life. I am so thankful for this knowledge and encourage everyone to look for God’s hand in our own lives. I know that as we do this we will be able to see Him. He really is there.