So last Friday night I was going to district meeting and grabbed my PMG and dad’s Book of Mormon. We were waiting at the bus stop by our apartment because the bus we needed only comes once a millennium and I set the books on the bench beside me so they’d stop slipping off my lap toward the muddy ground. Then the elders called and said our member witness had to go early so we needed to get in a taxi and get there RIGHT NOW so we could have more time for the meeting. I obediently immediately stood up and waved down a taxi.
When I got to the church building I immediately realized that I had forgotten the books, apologized to the elders, and grabbed another taxi to go back. The whole way I prayed as hard as I could that they’d be protected and still be there, while crying about my stupidity over probably the most precious thing I own.
When we got closer my heart was in my throat. But I was filled with hope and faith that it would be okay. We approached the bench and…nothing. They were gone. I searched the whole area to a pretty ridiculous extent (i.e. in trash cans and stuff) all while sobbing and probably drawing a lot of attention. I couldn’t really stop looking because getting back in the taxi meant defeat. But finally I looked at my companion and I knew from her face it was time to go.
I didn’t understand. Why hadn’t my prayers been answered? Did I not have enough faith? Was I not serving a mission and doing exactly what God wanted as hard as I could? What was wrong with me? How could I have made such an irreparable mistake? And why didn’t Heavenly Father help me overcome my weakness?
I tried to control the natural man that wanted to be angry with God and accept that somehow this loss had to be part of His plan. I couldn’t control the anger at myself. If I had to learn how to be more responsible, why this? And how would it be different than the other times that I’d lost things and resolved to be different? How do you remember to remember? Is it even possible for people to change and overcome the inherent weaknesses that seem to be ingrained in their personalities?
Throughout district meeting I couldn’t stop crying (my poor DL). I tried to hang on to the thought that somehow it was supposed to happen and God loves me but I couldn’t understand. That night I cried myself to sleep. I tried to console myself that it was just a book and not a person or anything but there was just so much history in it for my dad and I. I felt like I had completely broken his trust. Finally I prayed, because I realized that I didn’t want to pray and that’s a pretty big red flag.
I was able to calm down and stop crying. I felt a peace wash over me. I felt loved, more powerful than all my self-chastisement. I thought and hoped that maybe books would come back and it would all be okay, but I pushed that aside, deciding it was wishful thinking and I needed to accept reality and be grateful I was at peace enough to go to sleep.
The next night it was the same. I cried and cried, upset at all of the goals I had made over my mission that seemed never to be fulfilled. The gap between who I wanted to be and who I was was so big, and the absence of the Book of Mormon was a pretty physical reminder of it. I realized the most important thing I could do was sleep, and prayed to be able to do so. Again I felt peace and warmth come over me, almost as if a loving hand were physically wiping my tears and comforting me. I still didn’t understand how it could be okay, but I realized the only way it would be is if I had faith.
I prayed again, asking for enough faith for a miracle. I thought about this talk. I hoped that my desire to have faith would be enough. I prayed all day long on Sunday it seemed. I got a new planner and started using it a lot better, trying to do my part to overcome my forgetfulness.
On Monday I walked back to the mission home from English class to meet my companion. I was dragging my feet because our plan was to email next, and I didn’t want to write home saying I lost them. It felt like that would be sealing the deal.
When I got inside, Sister Kerby was holding a big fancy present. It was wrapped in the prettiest pink and purple paper with a big red bow on top. She handed it to me and I looked confusedly at the bow. It said “Curby” and then “Sorry my bad” and “Kerby” on it. I wasn’t in the mood to be enthusiastic for her. “Oh cool, you got a present,” I said. She just looked at me intensely in the eyes and said “Open it.”
I saw the contents and immediately started crying, but this time it was happy tears. It was my dad’s scriptures! And my PMG! There was no name or note. We asked the APs, Jiguur the office secretary, and the guards of the building and no one knew how it got there. No one had even seen it before, which is weird because you have to go by at least one of those people to get in the mailroom. We asked the Elders and my ward. It doesn’t make sense. But it happened.
I still don’t really understand how, but it happened. When I opened the scriptures, this was the first highlighted thing I saw: “Nevertheless, these things were to be kept sacred, and handed down from one generation to another…” (Alma 63:13). I know that having these scriptures was important and so Heavenly Father helped me to keep them in spite of my weakness. This kind of heavenly power and strength is something we teach about every day, but it was an amazing testimony to me to see the evidence so physically in front of me.
God loves us. He knows us personally. He will help us in little and big things. I know now that faith is a gift. We don’t have to be perfect people to experience miracles. We just have to be sincere and have desire. He can make up for our weaknesses. Not just in physical ways but by giving us strength to succeed. I know that I can change with His help. Which one is easier, to physically return me my scriptures or help sustain me emotionally as I do hard things? To Heavenly Father, it’s all possible. And not only possible, but certain, because He loves us.
I hope you can all look for miracles in your life this week. I love you!
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.