Taylor was asked by a sister in our ward to participate in her Relief Society lesson on October 13. The following is what she was asked to comment on and her comments follow.
This is what Sister Taylor gave me to read:
"This love begotten in the hearts of the missionary Elders of our Church for the peoples of the earth, comparative strangers to them, and in the hearts of the people for the Elders who bear to them the Gospel message, is in itself testimony sufficient to convince the honest heart that its source is divine, and that God is with us. This sacred and holy feeling, awakened within us by the Holy Ghost, has already distinguished us as a community from the rest of the human family; and this is the feeling that will yet revolutionize the whole world, and convince unbelieving man that God is not only the Father of us all, but that we are His friends and servants.
“To the service of the Lord I have devoted my life; my all has been placed upon the altar of sacrifice, that I may honour him, do his will acceptably, and spread the principles of life among the children of men. When I reflect upon the past, and trace the hand of the Lord marvelously opening my way, and prospering me in every thing relative to these missions beyond my highest expectations, I feel doubly encouraged to press forward to the future; language indeed fails to express the deep gratitude of my heart for his blessings. Those brethren and Saints whose liberality of soul and interest for the work of God have been particularly manifested in these missions upon them, may the blessings of the Most High be poured with equal liberality, and when in after years they shall hear the sweet sound of thousands, and tens of thousands of those nations shouting the praises of the Almighty for the light of revelation, then will their hearts also rejoice in the glad consciousness that they likewise took a part in bringing to pass this glorious redemption.” Lorenzo Snow
***Tell a little about your experience in the joy of missionary work. Do you have an experience why we sometimes need to be patient before we can fully experience this joy?
And this is what I said:
Hello Sister Taylor,
Thank you for your email, and thanks for the opportunity you have given me to share my testimony about this great work!
I love being a missionary! It is the hardest, yet greatest thing I have yet done in my life! And the joy that comes from sharing the gospel is wonderful, and I often think about D & C 18:15-16 and I know that this is true.
I have had many experiences of how we need to be patient before this joy comes. I feel as though for me this joy has come after many hard days, when we get the news that someone is interested, or that someone is reading the Book of Mormon, that news alone makes my heart leap. I have really learned to find joy in the small things. Each small step that someone takes towards the Savior is amazing, and something that we should recognize!
There was a man I taught when I was in my first area. I met him the first night I came out to the mission field. I honestly didn't know if he was really serious in learning about the gospel, I didn't know if I could trust him as a person, and this initial judgement on my part blocked the love that I could have felt for him. As the weeks and the months went on, I prayed to have charity towards him, I prayed that in a small way I would be able to see him as God did. There was one night, when he and his family had us over for dinner, and as I listened to him speak about the feelings he had about the Savior, and about the woman who was about to marry him, I was humbled and hit with the Spirit, as I remembered what Moroni promised in the Book of Mormon, that "by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things." This man was a son of God, and He was loved by God.
And after that, it was easier for me to teach him, and to know that this was something that God wanted him to be a part of. The greatest day on my mission so far was the day that he was baptized. It took him time, to know that that was what he wanted. But as he came up out of the water, you just KNEW that he was clean. And that he was forgiven. That he was perfect, for that single moment. It was an amazing feeling, knowing that I had given my all, to see this miracle. I was merely an instrument in God's hands, as are we all, but it is amazing the blessings and miracles the Lord will allow us to be a part of, as we give Him our all.
Another experience I had was actually right before I left on my mission. I have a really good friend, who has struggled with many things in His life. And I have had a lot of heart ache because of some of the choices that he made that affected me.
As we were saying goodbye, I told him that I had forgiven him, and that the past was the past, and that we could move forward. I knew I needed to forgive him before I left, or I knew that it would bother me for a long time. I watched as he struggled, he heard the words, but he did not feel forgiven, he did not think that this was a possibility.
When he felt that forgiveness, not from me, but from God, the change was evident. He looked at me with tears and said thank you. I hadn't felt like I had done much. But looking back, I realize that I helped him feel the Atonement work in his life. He knew that he was forgiven by God, and that because of our Savior he could progress.
That is what sharing this gospel makes me think of, helping our dear brothers and sisters experience the cleansing, healing and enabling power of the atonement. I have a testimony that the Atonement is real. I wouldn't be here today if I did not have it.
The joy that comes from seeing the atonement work in someone else’s life is amazing. And yes, it takes time, but it is worth the wait.
I don't know which story you will choose to share, but I felt prompted to share both with you. I hope that all goes well in your lesson, and that you can build your own testimony as you share the gospel with others!
Sister Taylor Burningham