Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dear President,

I want to tell you the story of Paul. It was one of my first weeks working in the Annandale Stake, and Elder Schmidt and I had been praying that we would find people to teach and be led to those who were prepared to hear our message. The week before, one of the counselors in the Elders Quorum Presidency had given us a list of names of inactive members of the ward that the Bishop and ward council wanted us to visit. One of the names on the list was that of Paul. We called his home teacher to find out some information about Paul, and learned he had been inactive for many years and that his home teachers had been unable to make any contact with him. We decided to give him a call that evening. We got a hold of him, and after a brief talk he asked us to call back the next week, so we made a note in our planners to follow up on him. A few days later I felt an impression like I should give Paul a call.

When I called, I could immediately tell a difference in his voice. He expressed his gratitude to us for listening to the Spirit and reaching out to him and asked us when we could come visit. He then said, "That wasn't you that called me, it was God. It wasn't your voice--it was God speaking to me. You were just the messengers." Paul explained to us that he was just recently trying to get his life back in order, after suffering from alcohol addictions. We readily volunteered our help as a lifeline, which he used, whenever he felt the urge to relapse into his bad habits. For 17 years he had been completely inactive from the Church. As we continued to meet with Paul over the next few weeks, I noticed a light come back into his eyes and countenance. He began to radiate the happiness of the gospel. Paul attended church with us the next Sunday. As he sat beside us he said, "I feel good. I feel like I'm back home." The very Sunday he came again but this time he stood up and shared his testimony of the Book of Mormon and of God's plan for us. It was very rewarding for me to see the difference it made in his life. The darkness that was so apparent in his voice since that first phone call had disappeared, giving way to the joy of Christ. The morning breaks, the shadows flee. Paul has helped me to appreciate the happiness that I so often take for granted and "how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth" (2 Nephi 2:8).


Elder Parker

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