This week is the first highlight of one of our investigators. In the mission field, there is a term 'golden investigator', meaning an investigator of the restored gospel who has truly been prepared to receive it. This man is truly a golden investigator.
Meet Linda, the Mr. Golden himself!
How we met Linda was nothing less of a miracle. I hope I can make it sound as epic as it truly was.
My companion and I had very little success one morning as we ventured through the streets of our area. All of our scheduled appointments had dropped and canceled, one after another. The African sun seemed as if it was mocking our fruitless efforts by sending relentless heat waves to overwhelm our physical frame. In our weakened estate we were left to ourselves without plan and without hope. In searching for how we could continue to magnify our callings as ambassadors of the Lord, the thought entered into our minds to make a trek to a home of a member by the name of Prince Mashego.
We began the journey in our Nissan Hardbody truck, riding over the familiar slopes of KaNyamazane, traveling by means of uneven dirt roads eroded by intense African rainstorms, sheltered from the sun by the overreaching mango trees with their outstretched limbs. As we rounded the final corner to arrive at our desired destination, we were welcomed by a depressing scene. Our dear friend Prince was sitting on the road with a distraught young men, obviously on the brim of losing control of his emotions. We quickly parked our vehicle on the side of the street and returned to this sad scene.
As we listened in on the confessions of this young lad, an aura of hopelessness hung in the air, suffocating to the paradisaical feel of the environment surrounding us. As the man concluded his epic of distress, the Spirit of the Lord extended the help of heaven as to open our utterances. We told him of a similar tale of a young boy in the woods of New York, visited with divine assurances by the Father and the Son of a bright future to go before him. We described to him the restored gospel, brought back through the gift and power of God through Joseph Smith, and of the hope that this miraculous gift from God could bring to his soul.
The result of such a visit lead our youthful friend to learn of this the Lord's gospel in full. His life changed in the matter of weeks, with every visit bringing new vigor and courage into the frame of our friend. His progression is leading to the waters of baptism, to enter into a divine covenant with his God. His own words on his conversion are an ensign to those who seek for a fresh start, a blank page: "It is easy to change if you have the right reasons."
For Linda, what was the right reason? I can only offer up one possible solution: Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is 'the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)', 'the beginning and the end (D+C 35:1)', 'Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8)'. He is all-knowing, and his hand is all-reaching to those who seek him. He is the reason for the remarkable changes for the better, and sometimes for the worse, but is always wroughts 'a mighty change of heart (Alma 5:23)' within us. Truly Linda can sing the song of redeeming love, for he is now a devout saint in the Lord Jesus.
There's a few lessons I've taken away from Linda's story. One: spiritual promptings always lead us to where we need to be. Two, the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives us light and happiness, no matter the background or experiences. Three, it is easy to change if you have the right reasons.