Through the course of this week, a series of miracles came from our last three months of labour and new investigators just started springing up out of the manholes. It was most lovely, and most busy and I could talk about it for eons but in the last several months I have become more and more weary of just updating on the physical actions of the week and so I will not go into too much depth and all I did but rather focus on something I learned this week: The beauty of our individuality.
Each and every one of us is a separate soul and a scripted lesson on the restoration of the Gospel will not fully help each person truly find Christ. We all find Christ in our own way. This week, we went off the beaten path with one of our Investigators, Anna. With Anna, things have always been very tailored and not so generic. She believes the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and this Church to be the true church of Jesus Christ, but the step to baptism has been hindered by a series of obstacles that initially were hidden from our view. If we just taught as robots we would never of reached down to the core and she would’ve fallen by the wayside as we abound on our valueless quest for key indicators.
So. this Thursday, instead of teaching another lesson to check off on our teaching record, we asked her what she wanted us to prepare for to teach her. I sincerely believe that every investigator deserves at least one lesson put aside just to attend to their needs; just for them. Just an hour where nothing else exists in the universe but them and their needs.
Anna asked us to prepare a lesson on how we can find self worth……and oh what a gift that was to be able to study. We cannot really comprehend just how great worth a soul is in the sight of God. Why are we so great? You see, you are a son/daughter of our Heavenly Father. We say that, but does that really mean? It means you are an heir to his kingdom and are his precious child who he loves PERSONALLY. You mean the universe to Him. He created you in his own image. Not in the image of some lower life form, literally in his own image. Our flesh is but mortal but one day it will be raised immortal. This will be possible because Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, conquered both physical and spiritual death through the Atonement. If ever you question your worth, I invite you to study the Atonement a little deeper. Understanding the Atonement, even a sliver of it, destroys all doubt of self worth. You see, as mortals we are mentally confined to the concept of earthly time and cannot comprehend God’s ability to give infinite attention to us all at the same time.
The Atonement is very personal. Perhaps the most personal act ever performed on the earth. As C.S. Lewis said “God has infinite attention to spare for each of us. He does not have to deal with us in mass. You are just as much alone with him as if you were the only being he had created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man or woman in the world.” Just think of that. Ponder that. Christ took on every pain, sorrow, sickness, heartbreak and despair that you have ever and will ever feel. He took on all of it, as it is, without a filter of modification. Not a single drop was spilt over. He took on all of you. For you. In this moment, disregard the rest of humanity and just think of Jesus Christ and you in the garden. Not another soul in the expanse of space. Now tell me you are of no worth. Why would Jesus Christ atone for you, unless you meant everything to him? Unless you were of infinite worth? He loves you more than you can ever find words, knowing how precious you are and how great you will become. The ultimate sacrifice was for you, because Jesus loves you,because he believes in you. and he is asking for you to believe in yourself.
But perhaps you may say “okay that shows I am of worth but I still can’t see what about me makes me of worth.” Being made in God’s own image is not limited to mere physical appearance. You posses attributes of your Heavenly Father. You possess gifts form God. Just like how you may share your mortal mother and mortal father’s personality traits, you share traits gifts and talents with your heavenly parents. You share traits gifts and talents with your elder Brother, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ atoned for you, Heavenly Father gave Jesus Christ for you, created you and has given you heavenly gifts. As we search with faith, hold on with hope and give ourselves to others in love and Charity, we will find the gifts *God has given us. Sometimes, we have covered them up accidentally with the debris of the world but the atonement is here for us to sweep the dust and dry leaves away so can see the gifts God has given us. There is something beautiful in serving others that heals our souls better than any other means I know. We discover one of our gifts, a gift God gives to everyone if we but exercise our faith into action- and Charity. All can have this gift. It is the greatest of all attributes. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels and have not Charity I am become as sounding brass or tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have faith, so that I could remove mountains and have not charity, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)
Not sure how I got on that rant but my purpose of the letter was to express the importance of teaching people, not lessons. So I guess I should finish the story. We taught Anna, this personalised lesson. We poured our souls into it, and we discovered, through this lesson, that what was holding her back was feeling like she was unworthy of God, of forgiveness and of baptism. Oh it just breaks your heart when people believe that. It is one of the cruelest lies ever spread on this earth. We all are of infinite worth to God, are always worthy of forgiveness through proper repentance, because the love God and Jesus Christ possess is infinite.
So, the next lesson we dedicated to the story of Alma the younger and his redemption from the vile sinner to one of the greatest prophets to ever walk the planet. It was through the atonement he went from the lowest of sinners to the highest of saints. And that was not all, he forgave himself. He was filled with joy greater than his guilt. “oh what joy and what marvelous light I did behold, yes, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as my pain!” (Alma 36:20)
The lesson was not from us, nor the member present, nor from Anna. The lesson was from the spirit, and it taught all of us. That night, Anna sent us the sweetest text message that meant the world to us. Nothing felt better than receiving her text, in her wonderful broken English, thanked us for the lesson and sharing her lovely testimony.
I now believe in teaching to the needs of the investigator, even if that means taking a road less traveled to meet them and their needs.
Anyhow, apologies for the long winded letter.