Waiting for Things to Happen?

When my mission president announced my transfer, I thought he must be punishing me. A native of France, I was serving in France and Switzerland. Now my new companion and I were called to be zone leaders in Avignon—a city where there had not been a convert baptism for many months.

My companion and I spent our first evening in Avignon discussing our situation and trying to find motivation and strength. One solution would be just wait for things to happen. But when we thought of how short our missions were, we knew that we would hate to waste precious months.

We remembered the scripture in Matthew 19:26: “With God all things are possible.” [Matt. 19:26] What if we were in this city and region for a reason? What if the people of this city were not as hopeless as we had been led to believe? What if their problems were only the missionaries’ attitudes toward them? What if the Lord would prepare a recompense commensurate with our faith, our effort, and our desire?

We decided not to pay attention to what others had said about Avignon. In our prayers, we asked the Lord to guide us to a choice soul—one whom we would be able to prepare for baptism the following month. And we promised the Lord that we would work with all our strength.

Two days later, we met and began teaching Haroun—and we baptized him exactly one month after we had made our commitment to the Lord. Haroun referred us to his neighbors who lived above his apartment, so we also began to teach the Langer family. They, too, accepted the gospel and were baptized. It is wonderful to watch the miracle of conversion in people you love.

Since the apartment building where Haroun and the Langer family lived had only two stories, with one apartment in each, we realized that their entire building was now converted to the Church! We had achieved 100 percent success there!

After four months of work, sacrifices, miracles, and blessings, the little branch in Avignon had practically doubled. The missionaries of our district had prepared fifteen people to come into the Church. Now all of the missionaries wanted to serve in that city. Its reputation had been restored. All of the bad ideas about it had changed.

A year after my mission, I attended the Swiss Temple and had the surprise and extreme joy of seeing Brother and Sister Langer and their three children there. I witnessed them kneel at the altar and be sealed as a family. Brother Eric Langer is now a high priest—and is president of the Avignon branch.

I thanked the Lord for his generosity to me. And I thanked him for enlightening my companion and me on that first evening in Avignon when we decided to work with all our strength. What would have been the result if we had just waited for things to happen?

[illustration] Illustrated by Doug Fakkel