“Thank you, President, I’ll be there tomorrow.”
What a great man, I thought to myself as I hung up the telephone. The president of the Mississippi Jackson Mission had just called me to serve a two-week mission in the Bossier City, Louisiana, area. What a way to find out what true missionary work is like, I said to myself over and over.
I spent the next twenty-four hours packing, praying, and preparing myself for everything I could possibly come in contact with during the next two weeks. I prayed that I would be helpful to the missionaries, Elders Abbott and Watkins, with whom I would serve.
Saturday came quickly. My family drove me to Bossier, where we ate lunch before I telephoned the elders to let them know I was ready. After what seemed like an eternity but was only ten or fifteen minutes, the two young men, only a few years older than myself, arrived in their mission car. I didn’t know what to do or how to act, but I timidly introduced myself to Elder Abbott. What a spiritual giant, I thought; I can’t possibly be of any help to him. And I wondered why I was there.
After meeting Elder Watkins, I had nearly convinced myself that I couldn’t be of help to either of them.
I said good-bye to my family, and before I knew it the elders and I were out on the streets knocking on doors. I was amazed at how eloquently the elders approached the people. After an hour of tracting, Elder Abbott turned to me and said, “You can introduce us at the next house, Brother McWhorter.”
“I can’t,” I said embarrassed.
“Yes you can,” he said. “You’ve got to think positively. There may be a potential convert to the Church living here.”
“Okay, I’ll try,” I answered.
I knocked at the door.
As the door opened I could feel my heart sink within me. The room was filled with drunken teenagers—I was only a teenager myself. As I introduced myself and my companions, they began mocking and tempting us. Why me, Lord? I silently asked.
I didn’t knock on another door the rest of the evening. Later that night I began thinking about my day as a “full-time” missionary. Why did I have such feelings? Why was I scared to talk to people about the gospel? How would I be able to serve a two-year mission if I couldn’t even stand up to people and share the truths of the gospel for two weeks? I decided that there was only one way to get help.
As I knelt down in humble prayer and poured out the desires of my heart to Heavenly Father, a peaceful, comforting feeling came over me. A still, small voice told me to search the scriptures. I began going through the pages of my Bible when I saw a verse outlined in red. It was a scripture I had marked in seminary class. As I read it, I knew my prayer had been answered. A warm feeling of insight and understanding came over me as I read: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16).
Never before had this scripture meant so much to me as it did now. “The power of God unto salvation,” I said aloud. I need not be ashamed of the gospel because it is the very key to salvation. Without it, not one soul will ever progress after this life.
The next morning I awoke with a strong desire and determination to spread the gospel.
Today, already five of the people I helped teach in those two weeks have joined the Church. What a strength we can receive through listening to the promptings of the Spirit!
I vividly remember the feeling I had as the Holy Ghost bore witness to me of that important scriptural message found in Romans. And to this day when I am confronted with an opportunity to share the gospel, that same still, small voice whispers in my ear, “the power of … salvation, the power of … salvation.”