Hi everyone! I hope that February was a beautiful month for each of you. It surely seems to be one of the quickest months I have experienced since being a missionary. This last week was packed with blessings and miracles that are too many to count and to grand for me to now fully comprehend, yet I see them, I know they are there. I know they are evidences of God's sincerest love and His divine power. How humbling it is to be a part of His work and to see just how much God loves His children regardless of their current circumstances, past pitfalls or future fires. I know of the truthfulness of the Savior's words found in modern revelation to Joseph Smith.
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God..." (D&C 18:12).
D.J. is just one individual in this world. He is one guy, one brother, one son, one worker at Home Depot, one struggling student, one good cook, one dog lover, but most importantly he is the only D.J. that our Heavenly Father has. He is the only D.J. that our Savior died for. He is important and is special to our Father above. Others may have his name, but no one can replace who he is as a child of God.
We met D.J. my first week here in Reno as we were out street contacting. We were going through the trailer park looking everywhere for those who were prepared for the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we crossed the street to visit with a former investigator of some previous missionaries in the area, a young man, just 20 years old, walked outside of his home in torn up clothes to grab the newspaper. He didn't seem to happy to see us. We were all so chipper and happy to be out doing missionary work, and he appeared to have just woken up as he rubbed his eyes and looked into the glaring sunlight. We left D.J. with a copy of The Book of Mormon, invited him to read, and asked when we could come back to share more with him. When we returned, no one came to the door, yet I felt that hope wasn't lost. I felt in that short interaction with him just how important he was to God and that there was a specific plan just for Him. There were people he would need to meet, struggles to overcome and situations to endure to help him draw nearer to God and to become the person who would latch onto the gospel and receive the blessings that are promised to each of us as His children.
I have often thought back on that experience with D.J., wondering what would happen with him...until 2 weeks ago when we saw him at church with his entire family :) We had asked some incredible members in the ward to invite someone in their circle of friends to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of the divine placing of our Heavenly Father, D.J.'s mother, Monica, works with this very member of our ward, their paths were crossed, and now the entire family is investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
D.J. has been reading The Book of Mormon since we first met him back in January, and has been able to find relevance to it in his life. As we met with their whole family in the member's home this last week, the spirit boldly testified to each of us in the room that Jesus is the Christ, that God is our Heavenly Father and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, called to bring in this last dispensation. As a family, they are seeing the significance that they hold in God's eyes. They are seeing that they are not lost without a guide in this life, but that they are truly children of someone whose whole purpose is to bring them grand happiness. Only can He bring them this grand and eternal happiness because He knows them each so very personally.
This past Saturday, we met with D.J. just briefly outside his home and spoke with him about how his family is doing and what questions they may have.
D.J. turned to me and said, "I do have a question. I don't understand everything, but I do understand that this makes you happy. What has the gospel done for you?"
I stood there and thought for a moment. How could I sum up so simply everything that the gospel of Jesus Christ has done for me in my life. It has taught me everything I know, and made me everything I am. It has comforted me when I'm afraid, and lifted me when I am weak. As I thought, I truly reached heavenward to know what my Father in Heaven would have me say that would reach him the most.
"The gospel of Jesus Christ has given me an assurance of God's plan for me," I said. I paused and felt there was something I needed to say, something more that needed to be heard. Trusting in the spirit I opened my mouth and out came the words that seemed so simple, yet put the biggest smile on his face.
"The gospel of Jesus Christ has shown me that trials aren't just busy work," I said.
The spirit bore testimony of the truthfulness of this statement and I could see D.J.'s desire to latch onto the gospel of Jesus Christ grow within. I am so grateful for the way the spirit teaches us so simply and yet so directly. Let us not only accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and brother, God as our Eternal Heavenly Father, but let us also accept the Holy Ghost as the teacher and testifier of truth, as the Comforter.
Brother's and Sisters, your trials are not just busy work. With the full knowledge we have of the Plan of Salvation, of God's Plan of Happiness for His children, we know that remarkable blessings await as we patiently endure and press onward. Our trials are not just ways to fill the time, they are ways to make our time eternal.
"Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless-- whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day." (Mosiah 23:21-22).
With the knowledge of our Heavenly Father's plan, we may be assured that our trials have purpose. They are to help us to repent, to change our view of ourselves, of God and of the world, to become more like the only perfect being this world has ever known, our Savior Jesus Christ.
I testify to each of you that your trials have meaning, there is a reason to them, and all will come full-circle to those who put their trust in God and carry on as the early pioneer saints singing, "All is well! All is well!" All is well, brothers and sisters. You are children of God, you are children of the King and your potential is truly divine. I would invite each of you to study the Plan of Salvation, to pray with real intent to our Father to know that it is true. I promise that as you do this, you will see your life as one of great purpose and meaning that is to prepare you for glorious gifts above.
Sister Briggs :)
SHOUTOUTS: Cami Jensen, Nikki Lin, Mom & Dad, the Donakey Family, Robert Donakey, Grandfather and Grandma Jeanie,