This picture has the best story! So the 12th was Sister Rollins’ Birthday and we had an appointment with David. Last week I tried to whisper to him it was her birthday when she was busy talking to someone we had brought with us, but he said ‘WHAT?’ really loudly so I ended up basically having to shout it to him, so she knew I told him, but oh well! There are basically no secrets between companions– she knew what I was getting her for her birthday weeks in advance. But anyway! The next week when we went to David’s for the lesson, we bowed our heads in the car and said a prayer before we got out to knock on the door.
While we were praying, I heard his door open and he came out for a second, then went back inside. When we walked in after the prayer, the first thing we saw was his table! Usually it’s covered in various books, papers, and other things that slowly pile up (the majority of it is made up of things we gave him, books, pamphlets etc). He had cleared it off, and even cleaned the table! Then he had the cake, the candles already lit, the paper-towel napkins, forks and everything set out for us! Now here’s the thing– I never told him how old she was turning, and he has never asked our names (I think he sometimes gives up on trying to remember people’s names, because he has a hard time with it– he just calls us his ‘Mormon girls’ or more often just his ‘girls’). He had called his daughter who we met on Halloween to ask her what Sister Rollins name was and also her age, so he could get the cake iced with her name. It was so sweet!
He was so happy to be able to do this for her, none of us were expecting it! It blew us all away and it meant so much to Sister Rollins. Even though it wasn’t my birthday, I felt his love too because I knew he would have done the same for me. THEN (and here’s the icing on the cake, pun intended) after we sang ‘Happy Birthday’, he said ‘Well! We need a prayer now!’ and promptly bowed his head and offered, for the first time in front of us, a prayer. It wasn’t even my birthday and I feel like that was the best birthday present I have ever gotten! The prayer was so sincere and special, praying for each of us and thanking Heavenly Father for sending us to him and asking for the Spirit to be with us and to keep us safe, and so many more things. We have tried and tried to get him to pray in front of us. He always would tell us ‘Nope, not ready’. Then, last Wednesday he did it! We didn’t even ask him! I couldn’t stop smiling.
There is something so special about hearing someone pray out-loud in front of you for the first time– so much faith in Heavenly Father, pure trust in him, and trust in the listeners. It brought us all to tears– not just the things he prayed for, but the spirit he said it with, and the Spirit he invited into our lesson. I have so much love for yim! I know it’s slow goings with respect to the gospel, but I fully expect to see him in the Celestial Kingdom with his wife, whether or not he accepts the gospel in this life or not. We are fulfilling our purpose and doing what Christ would do in meeting with him. We are truly bringing him closer to Heavenly Father and Christ.
This morning I listened to last week’s BYU devotional, and I thought about David a lot http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=2212. Listen to it!
He has basically adopted us. We are still working our way through the Plan of Salvation this week, but we’re almost done! We have also been teaching him about faith and repentance. Last week I asked him “So David, do you believe faith is like a muscle we have to exercise, or we’ll lose it?” and he said “Absolutely!” and he went on to say more good things about faith and how we exercise it and strengthen it. We again took someone from the ward with us. This person needs a lot of love, and David just keyed right into that– he always takes special care to let her know he loves her and that she is a special person. This is just as good as any medicine and what Christ would do.
At the end of our lesson David looked around at each person and said very seriously that we were fulfilling scripture, then he quoted Matthew 18:20 which says “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. He says he still hasn’t ‘felt’ the Spirit answer his questions and prayers yet, but I know he is starting to little by little. I am so humbled that I can be a part of his journey to Christ and God. I can’t describe the feelings I feel for the people we teach; I can’t even begin to.
I love you all! Have a good week!