Monday, February 10, 2014

"Ask With a Firmness Unshaken" (Mormon 9:28)

Moroni invites us all to repent and come unto Christ

Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him. Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanliness; ask not that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God (Mormon 9:27-28).

Thomas Rogers who served as a mission President in Russia wrote of the conversion of a man he first approached on a street to whom he introduced the Book of Mormon. .

As we emerged from behind the building onto an unfamiliar street, we saw a tall, muscular man and his petite wife pushing a baby carriage in our direction. As missionaries, we’d been challenged to speak to someone within three minutes of leaving our apartments. On this morning, it was my turn to make the first contact, so I approached the large man with the respect and caution his immense size demanded.

He was surprisingly polite and agreed to listen to my message. . . . For the next few minutes, he listened intently as I introduced myself and told him a little bit about the Church. When I removed the Book of Mormon from my bag to show him, his eyes immediately widened and he ceased looking at me. For the rest of the conversation, his gaze was focused on that Book of Mormon. He agreed to meet with us the next day, and when I gave him the book, he cradled it gently in his hand as if it were a small child.

When we arrived the next day to teach Aleksandr the first discussion, he had already read fifteen chapters in the Book of Mormon. It took several minutes to answer all his questions before we could begin to teach him the discussion. Over the next month, I was amazed to see hm grow. He attended church every week and continued reading the Book of Mormon. I could see the sparkle of a testimony in his eyes.

Only one obstacle stood between Aleksandr and baptism. He loved to smoke. He told me later that after weeks of struggling with that habit, he finally approached the Lord in prayer. He told the Lord how grateful he was for the Church and the Book of Mormon. He expressed his burning desire to be baptized and then asked the Lord to help him quit smoking. As he opened his eyes, the immediately came to rest on a pack of cigarettes. He removed one of them and looked at it. Suddenly he realized that his physical craving to smoke had disappeared. The cigarette in his hand did not even appeal to him. In fact, it was repulsive. He tossed the whole pack over his balcony railing and walked back into his apartment. From that moment Aleksandr has never experienced the craving for a cigarette!

I baptized Aleksandr on August 6. The ordinance was performed in a lake not far from his home. As he came up out of the water, his face shone with light. My emotions grew tender as he immersed me in a giant bear hug. I felt like I’d been preparing for that moment for nineteen years.

(Thomas F. Rogers, A Call to Russia: Glimpses of Missionary Life. Provo: BYU Studies, 1999, 61).

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