Posted by: elderleach | August 22, 2011

The Difference a Glance Makes

Hoe gaan dit family and friends? (Hope you still remember the Afrikaans I taught you!) Nice to communicate with all of you again. It has been a pretty slow week all things considered, though as slow as things may be, I’M IN AFRICA! So no complaints here!
Many wonderful, small things happened this week that have boosted my testimony. I have grown more in this area (Panorama, Cape Town central) than I have in any other. There are so many things the Lord is trying to teach me, some of which I don’t think I’ve been learning as well as I could, but I try every day to improve.
I’d like to share an experience I had just yesterday that strengthened my testimony of prayer. This is a small example of the power of prayer and it may even be a coincidence, but to me it meant something pretty big.
Lately one of my companions in this area (we’re still in a trio) has had difficulty with the ward noticing him and talking to him. I feel partly to blame since within the past few weeks I have been invloved in 3 musical items and gave a talk my 2nd week there. He hasn’t made any comments about how I’m too involved, but I feel like I’ve stolen the show so far and have made an effort to try to include him in what the ward asks us as missionaries to do.
Yesterday evening he was quiet…I knew this whole thing was bothering him but I didn’t know what to say. Apparently, someone at church made a comment like, “Oh, we have a new elder in the ward!” but he’s been here for a while and it hurt that they hadn’t noticed him before. Understandbly so, he felt down and discouraged.
We visited a prominent member of the Cape Town stake yesterday since his wife is very ill in the hospital and he, being an older man, was undoubtedly lonely. He loved our visit and we had a nice chat, but as the conversation went on, I began to notice he was looking at me most of the time and felt uncomfortable. Of course, I am the most talkative person in the 3 elder companionship, but I felt like I was stealing the show yet again. I turned to the Elder struggling in the ward and he was looking at this older man, but not with much interest, since this man was mainly talking to me.
I said a silent prayer in my heart that Heavenly Father might turn the gaze of this older man to the elder struggling. Perhaps that would make a difference? After my silent plea, immediately the gaze went from me and to that particular elder. This Elder sat up straight and started nodding his head, feeling more apart of the conversation. It didn’t take long, though, for the gaze to again become more fixed on me. It stayed there for what seemed like a few minutes, and I prayed again for this man to look at the elder, and this time more frequently.
Again, and immediately, the man turned his focus back on the elder and looked back at me from time to time, but seemed to pay more attention to the elder who needed it. After the visit, this elder was lighter, happier and seemed to appreciate the conversation we just had with that older man.
It touched my heart to see how Heavenly Father loves His children so much that he will bless them in small, yet significant ways. I know Heavenly Father loves that elder enough to show him that the ward he is in really does care and that he really is a great assest to the progress of it’s members and future members. He may not see it, but I do and I know the ward does.
I know this gospel is true and fruitful. Every good tree brings forth good fruit, and boy do I love this fruit! The Bible and Book of Mormon are true and work together to assist in Heavenly Father’s plan to “bring about the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
I love you all and know our Father in Heaven does as well, infinitely more than a human mind can fathom.
Stay well everyone! And remember to pray always.
Love,
Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission
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