Monday, April 15, 2013

The Lord's Timing

April 15, 2013
Numbers slowed down a bit this week, due to General Conference (a week later for us), but who cares? I ran up to the first counselor in our Bishopric after conference and said, "Brother Lee, did you even hear that? We have modern prophets and apostles! They just spoke to us! Can you believe it?" He laughed, and perhaps a little uncertainly, wondering why that seemed to be such exciting news to somebody who's called to preach that every day.
Chai Wan is doing great. I love serving here, although finding solid new investigators has been a bit difficult due to all the rain. We've done a lot of finding this week again, and the Lord has blessed us with several new contacts that I believe will become good investigators in the near future. Finding the Lord's prepared children by the Spirit is perhaps one of the most challenging facets of missionary work. This week I studied Preach My Gospel with my companion about recognizing the Spirit and following promptings on what to do, where to go, and what to say. One day in particular I remember keeping my mind very focused on the street as to where the Lord wanted me to go, and kept that hope and prayer fixed in my heart. That in and of itself required a lot of effort, I could not count how many times I've walked aimlessly, gotten frustrated that nobody listened, and then went and talked to the geezer fisherman on the promenade who would at least talk to me even though he probably didn't care at all what I had to say. The effort required to continue pouring out a prayer in my heart as I walked was difficult and even, at times, tedious, but my recognition of spiritual promptings was magnified. It turned a day of aimless finding into a day of unexplainable stopping-in-my-tracks-and-turning-around-to-go-the-other-way moments and teaching lessons on the street and obtaining numbers from potential families.
In this I have found great instruction, that there is always a difference it what we want to do and what the Lord wants us to do, even if what we want to do is good. The fact that I was on the street and talking to people about the gospel was probably pretty good to the Lord. Maybe He'll give me a pat on the back for it in Heaven. But having enough faith to expect Him to lead every footstep, when even asking the simple question "where do I go now?" was often tedious, gave me the opportunity to be led by quiet, simple, and almost unnoticable feelings from the Holy Ghost and actually have success. As I've repeated the process, it's always worked, and the success you do have is always more rewarding because I know it comes from God. Maybe He'll give me a hug for that in Heaven.
It has been both a difficult and inspiring process for me throughout my mission, and even now as I've been in Hong Kong for over a year, to learn slowly and sometimes painfully how to receive revelation from the Lord. The experience I just shared could have easily been shared by an Elder in his first week in the field, but I'm on the "downhill slope" and the experience is still every bit as wonderful, inspiring, and uplifting for me. It is essential to understand that the Lord's timing is in everything, that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55). I can do what I think is good according to my understanding and capacity for good, and end up satisfactory. I can do what God thinks is good according to His understanding and capacity for good, and end up extraordinary. But that is left to my choice, and in my weakness I lament how often I've given into my own understanding. The Lord is with us, and only through acceptance of and submission to His will can we ever expect to achieve what He wants to give us; the gift of eternal life with our families. I love my family too much to ever give up a promise like that because my answer was not immediate.
May the Lord bless you all,
Elder Hazen

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