Date of this event: July 16, 2011
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
Serving as a missionary at a visitor center, in many ways, is very different than serving in the field. For example… we don’t teach lessons the same way a missionary in the field would. The visitor center in Mexico City only has 12 sister missionaries, and most days we get anywhere from 400 to 1,000 visitors. Because of this, our “tours” can only be 15 minutes long. That’s all we get, 15 minutes. Most of the time, we are the first contact investigators have with the church.
I guess you can say our main purpose is to introduce investigators to the message we share with the world; the restoration, and interest them in learning more about it. Our goal is to get their contact information and have them accept the missionary lessons in their home.
Because of this, we rarely hand out Books of Mormon. It’s just not something that happens often in the Visitor Center. We’re not encouraged to do it. Quite the opposite, when they ask for one, we tell them that two representatives of the church can deliver a free copy to their homes and ask if they would be interested in that.
But there are always exceptions to this rule. We recognize those exceptions when we come across them, and I finally came across one this Saturday J
Today I gave my first Book of Mormon. The recipient was a beloved daughter of God, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth entered the Visitor Center, not knowing where she was. She walked in with a very heavy heart and much sadness in her eyes. As I approached her, I immediately felt she needed something special. And without even speaking with her, I felt in my heart she was a “chosen” one.
As we began talking, I could see how much she was struggling to hold back the tears that wanted to spill from her eyes and I wondered what this young woman could be experiencing that could have her so defeated.
I invited her to take a tour and see a video, but she declined both, explaining all she wanted was to just sit and contemplate upon the Christus statue.
I asked her what she was searching for and like so many others whom I’ve had the opportunity to talk with, she answered; I’m looking for peace and comfort. She asked if there was someone here who could give her a counseling session and I replied that I or any of the missionaries here could say things that would make her feel better for a while, but that would be like the parable of the fish;
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
I told her that here she could find everything she needed to learn to feed herself and get that peace and comfort she so desperately wanted to find … and not just for one day, but for the rest of the days of her life.
I asked her what she was feeling and she said she felt as though she wanted to scream. She said to me, I want to scream and tell my Heavenly Father I just can’t take it anymore… the load is just too heavy… I just want to put all my sorrows at his feet… I want to change.
At that moment a group came in to listen to the message that is shared in front of the Christus statue… As we joined the group all I could do was pray to my Heavenly Father to allow Elizabeth to feel his love for her and to feel the Holy Spirit testify to her that she truly was in a place of God … and above all, I prayed FERVENTLY for Him to help me know what to say, what to do and how to help His daughter Elizabeth.
After the recording I somehow managed to convince Elizabeth to watch a movie. So we did. We saw the movie Finding Faith in Christ. After the movie we had a beautiful conversation. We talked about how she too could develop her own faith in Christ and how I knew that Jesus and God really did know who she was and what was she was feeling and enduring. I testified that the Atonement had been done for her as well.
Then I remembered that as a missionary I had been called to not only preach repentance and to testify of Jesus Christ, but also to testify of the restored Gospel. So that’s what I did. We read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and I asked Elizabeth, what do you want? And she answered; I want to meet my Savior.
I asked her if she would like a Book of Mormon. She answered yes. I asked her; Elizabeth, if I give you a Book of Mormon will you read it? Again she said yes. Finally I ask her; Elizabeth, Will you read, meditate and pray to know if these things are true? At that moment, she raised her eyes, looked straight at me and said, Sister, I’ll read it. I’ll medítate about it, and I’ll pray about. I promise.