Posted by: capetownelder | May 23, 2011

In the Premortal World of Spirits

Molweni everyone! How wonderful it is to write about the adventures here in this wonderful country on this magnificent continent. Sometimes I feel cheated that South Africa, or at least the coastal areas, really isn’t a fair impression of Africa at all. There are many areas in this mission that are hot spot resort towns and beaches, so it can be easy to forget where I am!

Each week a certain gospel related subject makes an impression on my mind and this week I have had an unusual, but helpful thought. In Romans 8:16 it reads: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

We met a young woman just a few days ago by the name of Nomphelo (nohm-peh-loh) who was referred to us by a strong member in the Kwa Magxaki Ward. After just a few moments speaking with her, Elder Critchfield and I struggled to know what to say or even how to say it. This poor woman had a rough childhood and without going into too much detail, found herself abandoned by both parents and going house to house looking for support. Eventually she established herself, or at least momentarily, in the home of a friend which is the house we were teaching her in.

“A part of me certainly blames God,” she said. “I feel like if I would have known this was going to be how the first 20 years of my life would turn out, I never would have wanted to be born in the first place. In fact, I’ve tried to take my life many times, but never succeeded in doing it.”

My mind then became enlightened. “Do you believe God is your Heavenly Father?” I asked.

“Sure,” she responded. “Why not?”

“And do you believe your relationship with Him existed far before you began your mortal life?”

“No, not that I could logically remember,” was her response.

“Well, we’re here to tell you that God knew you before you stepped foot on this earth, he knew the challenges you would face, and perhaps you even had an idea of what you would be in for.” When I was done speaking, I thought to myself, I’ve never really thought of it that way before…

“What do you mean?” Nomphelo asked.

“Well, for God to really be our Father, doesn’t it make sense that He would be superior to your earthly father which means He would have known you far longer than anyone on Earth?”

“Yes…” she said.

“I like to think of it this way,” I began. “We were all waiting to come down to Earth, in our Spirit form of course, and God held personal interviews with each of us before we left. When it was your turn, He called you into His Heavenly office, sat you down and revealed a big screen TV. ‘Nomphelo,’ He likely began. ‘I am so proud of your decision to follow my plan for you. You have used this preparation time to develop skills and talents that will get you through the thick of life. These are some of the challenges you will face…’

“He then proceeded to give you a taste by pressing play on the movie of your future life…show you a few moments, both difficult and marvelous. He then hit the fast forward button and pressed paused on May 21st, 2011 and said, ‘Now this is the day you will realize your full potential. This is the day you will be given the opportunity to defeat the storms of life. Everything up to this point will have prepared you to accept the Gospel you have studied so diligently up to this point.'”

She sat there in silence. “You really think I had an idea of what I was going to face in this world?”

“Personally, yes, I do,” I said. I was a little hesitant to agree at first, but I felt a confirmation that this was true. “You agreed to come down here, because you knew! You knew how marvelous the calm after the storm would be. And your perfect faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for you made the decision to come down to Earth an easy one.”

She pondered about that in silence even longer. But the Spirit engulfed that room. I know without a shadow of a doubt that our Loving Heavenly Father knows us all perfectly and completely, and He knows the challenges that are ahead of us. Even we knew, at least in part, what we would be facing before we came down to Earth, but we all considered the reward after faithful obedience and endurance worth it in the end.

God loves all of His children. He chooses no favorites. He sent His Beloved Son to suffer and die that we may not do so. But Jesus Christ did rise again on the third day and still lives and sends angels down for our support. I am grateful for this knowledge and the honor to share this message with all the wounded, starving souls in this often dismal, pessimistic world.

I love you all and remember…pray to your Father in Heaven each night! He longs to hear from you,

Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission


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