The Ensign conference issue came today in the mail and I read all the talks from Saturday morning session. When I read Sister Silvia Allred’s talk about missionary work I really identified with her statement about the impact her mission had on her life – “I learned to rely more on the Lord, to seek the guidance of the Spirit, and to feel and overwhelming love for God’s children. My knowledge of the scriptures and my understanding of the doctrines increased. So did my desire to be obedient and to keep the commandments with exactness. My testimony of the Savior and His infinite Atonement was strengthened.”
I served a mission in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1997-1998. I truly loved the people of Russia, and my testimony of the gospel and of Jesus Christ were strengthened – in fact all of the above quote from Sister Allred is true for me. One thought I had while reading this talk was if I am a return missionary, who went abroad to share the gospel with others, and if I have such a strong conviction of the truthfulness of the gospel and the restoration of the gospel then why do I have such hesitation in sharing the gospel with others? Why do I hesitate to pray to have missionary opportunities?
Today as I pondered that I had the thought that I don’t doubt my testimony or conviction of the gospel (I’ve always known the gospel to be true and known that it was restored in its fullness through Joseph Smith) the thing that I doubt is other people believing it. I don’t doubt my testimony, I doubt the ability of others to believe. I forget that it isn’t by our minds that we are converted, but by our hearts – more specifically by the Holy Ghost speaking to our hearts, telling us that it is true.
I have an attitude of fear which needs to be replaced by an attitude of faith. I also have a lack of confidence in my ability to share the gospel in an effective manner. Again, that goes back to thinking that it is me that has to be convincing, which is not true, it is the Spirit that does the convincing. I just have to live the gospel with diligence and never be apologetic to others for living the gospel and keeping the commandments. If others object to the way I live then it’s not me they have a problem with but God’s laws, for I live my life according to God’s laws.
Sister Allred gives two fundamental truths to keep in mind:
1 – have a clear understanding that God loves all His children and desires their salvation
2 – Our message of Christ and His restored gospel is the most important gift we can give
I know I have a powerful testimony of the restored gospel, I felt it very acutely last Sunday when I bore my testimony. I know this is a gift from God, not given to me to keep to myself, but to share with others.
I’m looking forward to reading more of the conference talks and being reminded about what was spoken at conference.