I was quite touched at church today. My friend Rob was speaking of his experience that he’d had while in Milton Keynes many years ago. As a bit of background, Milton Keynes is one of Britain’s New Towns, Created during the 60’s as part of a planning process. It’s created using a grid system, with roundabouts and community sized residential/industrial blocks between them. From the main grid one area looked much like another.
Rob told us how as a young inexperienced man, he was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You will likely have seen such missionaries near you. They go about in pairs, young men, dressed in suits, short haircuts and a name tag with their name and the name of the church on it. Sometimes modestly dressed young women. Anyway, he remembers that they had an appointment to see someone and were trying to get there and somehow got lost. Not having anyone to hand to ask – you don’t see many people walking along the main roads in Milton Keynes- they prayed to find the direction they should go and asked God to help them. Then they set off and came to their first roundabout. They felt to turn left. At the next roundabout they felt to turn right, then left again.
After several junctions, turning where it felt right, they saw a lady just coming out of her house and going towards her garage carrying a plastic bag. They decided they had had enough of this “random” driving and so stopped to ask her for directions.
As they spoke to her they noticed the woman looked at them strangely.
“Who are you?” She asked. They explained that they were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They were on their missions to share a message from God. At this point she lost control and tears poured forth. Being young men, Rob and his companion felt out of their depth. What to do? They asked if there was anything they could do to help.
She told them that things had been going, oh so badly for her, so badly. She had been desperate and had been praying to God for help but not felt anything from heaven. She decided the way out was to kill herself. In the bag she was carrying was tape and a hose. She was on the way to the garage where she had planned to fix the hose to the exhaust and, having put the other end into the car, settle down there to a final sleep.
But now God had sent Rob and his companion to her and tell her that He loved her. The world was now a different place. She did not proceed with the suicide and is now using her experiences to help others who had desperate times.
This is not the first time I had heard such a story. A few years ago I met a man called Richard who had bumped into two of our sister missionaries. I spent a bit of time with him as we talked about God being the Father of our spirits, who loved us.
Richard told me that he knew that God did know of him. There had been several times in his life in which he was very, very down, even suicidal. Each time, there the sister missionaries would somehow appear on the scene and remind him of God’s love and his importance to God. Each time he would be brought back from the brink.
I have heard many more experiences of people having their prayers answered through timely visits from missionaries. Not all receive the full message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they do receive reassurance that God loves them as his children.
We don’t all need special visits from missionaries. I just think they have more opportunity as they are full time in trying to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit and as so more likely to hear. We often have opportunity to feel God’s love without falling into desperation in our lives. I think that we should still really want to know him, though.
I hope that your experiences with God re-assure you too. You are, after all, His child too and He loves you and wants the best for you.