Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The maturing heart of a missionary

  In the missionary manual 'Preach My Gospel,' it reads ..."Charity is a gift from God. As you... strive to do righteous works, your love for all people will increase, especially those among whom you labor. You will come to feel a sincere concern for the eternal welfare and happiness of other people. You will see them as children of God with the potential of becoming like our Heavenly Father, and you will labor in their behalf....you will avoid judging others, criticizing them, or saying negative things about them. You will try to understand them and their points of view. You will be patient with them and try to help them when they are struggling or discouraged."

  Charity is the true love of God. I know that "charity never faileth." I want to share an example of Christ-like charity that happened during the Christmas season here in the Texas McAllen Mission.

  A discouraged man called our mission office and asked for a blessing. Two missionaries obliged and rode their bikes to his house. They sat down with him to talk and find out what was the matter. They discovered that he had only been in the U.S. for eight weeks and he couldn't support his family. He had no money for rent, food, or medicine to help his uncle who has cancer. He opened up and then began to weep in front of them. It was humbling for them to see this grown man weep so openly and the missionaries felt themselves mourn for this man who had been through so much and felt that he could go no further. 
   One missionary related, "His trials seemed huge compared to my very pathetic trials. We gave him a blessing of comfort and left him a Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet and promised him that if he read it, he would be blessed."  Before the missionaries left, the man showed them his refrigerator. Empty, except for a grapefruit and an old box of baking soda. They couldn't tell him that they would try to bring him food- they have so little resources of their own. But their hearts were touched and they wanted to help.

   The missionary continued his story, "The next day, Christmas, we gathered up the left-overs from  Christmas breakfast and took them to his house. He opened the door and hugged us. We saw the pamphlet open on his table and he said that he had been reading it when we knocked on his door. We went back three hours later with some canned food we had collected and discovered that most of the food we had left a few hours earlier was already gone. His family was so hungry. This time there were some tears in his eyes as we left him enough food to get through the week- or more -if he was careful.... This is an experience that I will cherish. The Lord was using us to help this man and he taught me a lesson! My trials are trials for me... yes.  But others go through so much more every day."


   I thank these two missionaries for their "...example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Tim 4:12) because I know that they have felt the true love of God in their lives.