I served an LDS mission in Ohio a few years ago. It was a wonderful time. My 'purpose' was to teach people the gospel and invite them to be baptized. I met some wonderful people and I look back on those two years as a sacred time in my life. I learned quite a bit, as you might imagine, during that time. One thing I want to mention now is that I learned to love to talk with people about religion.
A couple of weeks ago I was traveling on business. I went to the hotel exercise room to run a few miles. A lady, about my age came in and did the eliptical next to me. We said good morning and went on our way. As I was leaving, I noticed that she had a copy of the Bible with her.
That morning I thought about her and that Bible a bit. I thought that says something about her that she'd bring a Bible with her to exercise in the morning. The thought came to me that I would really enjoy to hear the story of how she came to know God.
I decided that I'd start asking people, "How did you come to know him?" and start collecting stories of people's foundational experiences with God.
I'm shy by nature. I tried it the first time yesterday with a colleague. It went OK. At one point she said something like, "You're not going to like it." I said, "There's no judgment on my side whether your story is a 'good' story. I just want to gain strenght by hearing about your faith."
She told her story. I listened. I'm better for the experience.
In the LDS faith we have meeting called "Fast and Testimony Meeting." For 45 minutes or so, the pulpit is open for anyone in the congregation to come up and share their faith. It used to be my least favorite meeting. Now it's my favorite. This meeting is the congregational meeting, generally, the first Sunday of the month. If you're near an LDS building sometime, stop in. You will hear people tell of how they came to know him. You can tell your story.
I'm less interested in teaching and more interested in hearing and sharing and in gaining strength from the strength of those around me.
Peace to you on this early Wed. morning from the timeless AZ desert.
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