Saturday, April 16, 2016

Praising the Lord turns Terror to Triumph

Praising the Lord turns Terror to Triumph
By Susan Richardson
Ecuador Quito North Mission

Sister Gil shared that on Saturday April 16th, she and Sister Bosse had had a challenging day in Quininde, an area about two hours from the coast of Esmeraldas, Ecuador.  It was hot, steamy and rainy, and all of their appointments had fallen through.  As it was getting dark, they decided to visit their investigator Juanita.  As they sat in her tiny home with a tin roof and were talking about miracles, the earth began to shake violently in what was later confirmed as a 7.8 earthquake.  It was approximately 7:00 p.m. when they ran outside to an open area.  People were screaming, children were wailing, dogs were barking, and they were just as frightened.
While her companion was clinging to her, Sister Gil said that a recent training on praise came to her mind.  In that distressing and dark moment, she began to bear vocal testimony to the goodness and greatness of the Lord, of his victory and majesty, specifically reciting part of 2 Ne 4.  She shared with me later that at the very moment that she opened her mouth in praise, she felt what she described as ¨el manto del Señor¨ (cloak of the Lord) placed over her shoulders, and she and her companion felt unspeakable peace. 
As they stood in the open area, Sister Bosse began to sing, ¨Master the Tempest is Raging,¨ and before long, a group of about 15 alarmed individuals, including children and even some dogs gathered around them.  These total strangers knelt around them in prayer, some even hugging their legs, as the sisters stood singing to the Heavens on that dark and terrifying night.  Sister Gil said that while they were singing, the people kneeling around them prayed aloud and attempted to sing with them even though they didn´t know the words.
After about five minutes, the strangers who no longer felt like foreigners, but friends and neighbors, stood, hugged each other, and returned to where they had come from, having had a notable transformation of peace and serenity, while the sisters stood quietly reflecting on the miracle they had just witnessed. 
Sister Gil told me later that she understood that night in a very real way the power of vocally praising the Lord and how it opened the door to the ministration of angels, as well as doors for many new investigators. 
A night that began in sheer terror ended in triumph for two sister missionaries in the coastal community of Quinindé when they discovered for themselves that praising the Savior unlocks the power of God and opens the door to the Heavens, especially in the midst of trouble.

Terror termina en Triumpho por Alabar al Señor 
Por Susan Richardson
Misión Ecuador Quito Norte

Hermana Gil compartió que el sábado 16 de abril ella y la Hermana Bosse habían tenido un día difícil en Quinindé, un área aproximadamente dos horas de la costa de Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Fue un día caliente, húmedo y lluvioso, y todas sus citas habían caído. A medida que oscurecía, decidieron visitar a una investigadora Juanita. Mientras estuvieron sentadas en su pequeña casa con un techo de hojalata y hablando de milagros, la tierra comenzó a temblar violentamente en lo que fue confirmado más tarde como un terremoto de 7.8. Era aproximadamente las 19:00 cuando corrieron de la casita a un lugar abierto. La gente gritaba, los niños gemían, los perros ladraban, y ellas también se sintieron bien asustadas.
Mientras que su compañera se aferraba a ella, la Hermana Gil dijo que le vino a la mente una capacitación sobre el poder de alabar al Señor y agradecerle en momentos difíciles.  En ese momento angustioso y oscuro, ella empezó orar y a dar testimonio en voz alta de la bondad y la grandeza del Señor, de su victoria y la majestad, recitando específicamente unos versículos memorizados de 2 Ne 4. Ella dijo que en ese mismo momento, sintió ¨el manto del Señor¨ colocado sobre sus hombros, y ella y su compañera sintieron una  paz indescriptible.
En la zona abierta en esa noche obscura, ya sintiendo mucha paz, la Hermana Bosse comenzó a cantar en inglés, ¨Paz Cálmense,¨ y la Hermana Gil se unió con ella cantando en español. En poco tiempo, se acercó  un grupo de aproximadamente 15 personas, incluyendo a niños y aun algunos perros. Esos extraños se arrodillaron alrededor de ellas en oración, algunos abrazando sus piernas, mientras que las hermanas cantaron a los cielos en esa noche oscura y aterradora. Hermana Gil dijo que mientras estuvieron cantando, la gente arrodillada alrededor de ellas oró en voz alta y trató de cantar con ellas a pesar de no saber las palabras.

Después de unos cinco minutos, los extranjeros que ya no se sentían como extranjeros, sino amigos y vecinos, se pararon, se abrazaron, y regresaron al lugar de donde habían venido, después de haber experimentado una notable transformación de paz y serenidad.  Mientras tanto, las hermanas se reflexionaron en silencio el milagro que acababan de presenciar.
Hermana Gil dijo más tarde que ella entendió esa noche de una manera muy real el poder de alabar al Señor vocalmente y cómo el haberlo hecho se abrió tanto la puerta de la ministración de ángeles, como puertas para muchos nuevos investigadores.

Una noche que comenzó en absoluto terror terminó con el triunfo de dos misioneras en la comunidad costeña de Quinindé cuando descubrieron por sí mismas que el alabar al Salvador trae el poder de Dios y abre la puerta de los cielos, especialmente en medio de angustia.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Sabbath - Sign and Symbol of our Faith

The Sabbath - Sign and Symbol of our Faith
by Susan Richardson  -   November 2015
This year LDS Church leaders worldwide are emphasizing the importance of the Sabbath Day.  Every Stake and Mission Conference we have attended and/or participated in this year has made the Sabbath a priority.  In the October 2015 General Conference, we heard it mentioned several times.  It seems that Church leaders are begging us to pay heed to that commandment.
But why?
I believe it is because it is our sign that we are on the Lord’s side, which is a very good place to be when Latter Day storms begin to rage. 
In the story of the Exodus, the faithful Israelites who followed the Prophet Moses’ counsel to mark their doors with the blood of the lamb were spared the death suffered by the unbelieving.  On that fateful night the first born of every unheeding family and beast died.   It was a simple request, but meant much more to the Lord than the mere swiping of blood on the door.  It was a clear sign that they followed the prophet and feared the Lord. 
There may have been some Israelites along with the Egyptians who thought that was a ridiculous request, or perhaps considered doing it the following night when it was more convenient.  Some may have not wanted to dirty their door or been ashamed by those who are always standing by to mock.  But the Exodus story clearly illustrates that those who did listen and followed the prophet were spared while those who didn’t mark their doors were cursed.
Is it possible that honoring the Sabbath Day is our modern day sign that we heed the prophet’s counsel and that we fear the Lord?  And just as importantly, is it possible that the Lord is taking note of those who are following that counsel? 
According to Ezekiel 20:12, Keeping the Sabbath Day is a sign between God and His Covenant people.  “Moreover also I gave them my Sabbath to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify them.   (Also Exodus 31:13) 
Jeremiah 17:21 teaches us that we should “bear no burden on the Sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. According to scripture, honoring the Sabbath involves more than just resting from our work; it entails setting aside time to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. 
Moreover, Elder Nelson recited the words of Isaiah, “who called the Sabbath ‘a delight.’  Yet I wonder,” he continued, “is the Sabbath really a delight for you and for me?”  He went on to teach that the Sabbath should be a special and restful day, and not one of drudgery or boredom.
He went on to say that “Faith in God engenders a love for the Sabbath; faith in the Sabbath engenders a love for God.  A sacred Sabbath truly is a delight.”
Honoring the Sabbath Day in our modern world is particularly difficult when many people are required to work.  It is also often the only day people have for recreation, yard work, shopping, etc.  For many, it seems like an impossible commandment to keep.  Yet, there is great reason and hope for making whatever sacrifice is necessary to honor this holy day.
Surely, in the long-prophesied latter days, there will be great power available to those on the Lord’s side.  Not only does keeping the Sabbath Day holy provide a sign that we are on His side, but we will delight ourselves in the Lord and He will cause us to “ride upon the high places,” (Isaiah 58:13-14) signifying abundance and wealth.  In D&C 59:9 it says, “Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fullness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth… herb, good things whether for food or raiment, houses or barns… everything to gladden the heart, please the eye, strengthen body, and enliven the soul.” 
Elder Cajahuaman shared how honoring the Sabbath Day had blessed his family.  He said that his family owned a store and that business was very slow.  Yet he said that after they began to be faithful in honoring the Sabbath Day, their home began to fill back up with merchandise.
Several missionaries have shared stories of investigators and members alike who chose to quit jobs where they had to work on Sunday and were rewarded with new opportunities and higher earnings.
While the blessings of earthly comforts and pleasures are associated with Sabbath Day observance, the cursing for non-observance clarify the Lord’s seriousness by their contrast.  The Lord’s denouncement of Sabbath day neglect includes words like “kindle fire in the gates” (Jeremiah 17:27) “devour palaces of Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 17:27) and “bring evil and wrath upon people” (Nehemiah 13:18).  Perhaps most disturbing is the reference that he will pour out his “fury” upon them (Ezekiel 20:21).  As we see the “fury” being poured out upon the world at this time, it would do us well to consider the connection between our disregard of the Sabbath Day and the tribulations we are now experiencing. 
The answer to shutting off the fury and tribulations is to obey the commandments, and particularly to honor the Sabbath day.  An account of the people of Nephi illustrates this beautifully.  “The people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land.  They observed to keep the Law of Moses and the Sabbath day holy unto the Lord.” (Jarom 1:5) I believe it is significant that of all the commandments which could have been singled out, it was Sabbath Day observance that they credited for “waxing strong in the land.”  
Just as the Israelites wiped blood on their doors as a sign for death to pass over their homes, keeping the Sabbath Day remains a clear sign that demonstrates our devotion as God’s covenant people, and will merit us, not only promises of protection but of abundance and strength.  As we enter turbulent times, we would be wise to put ourselves on His side before that fateful hour when the Lord may draw a line between those who heed his prophets’ counsel to honor the Sabbath Day and those who don’t. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Super Power Faith

Super Power Faith
by Sister Susan Richardson   November 2015

One of my favorite scriptural examples of someone with superpower faith is the Brother of Jared.  I love how he gained so much faith that he was able to see the Lord with his own eyes, but I am also inspired knowing that he didn’t start out that way.  His journey to gain faith is one that we can all take.

When the languages were confounded, he like many of us when facing challenges didn’t know what to do.  It was his brother, Jared, who told him to “cry unto the Lord” – not once, but several times (Ether 1: 34, 35, 38 and 39)

His first step in acquiring Superpower faith was PRAYER.

He cried unto the Lord as his brother directed him, and the Lord did hear his prayers and blessed him. (Ether 1:40)
He then followed (OBEDIENCE) the Lord’s directives step by step.  The Lord didn’t overwhelm him by telling him he would need to build barges at the outset.  He was first told to gather flocks and herds, (41) and then to travel to the valley where the Lord would meet him.  After being there for some time, he was led to the shore of the sea where he would stay for four years. (2:13)  It was there that the Lord told him to build barges.  Once the barges were built, the Brother of Jared inquired and received instruction about air and light in the boats.  As we can see, his journey began and continued one step at a time.

This is true in our lives as well.  We, like the Brother of Jared, need to inquire of the Lord, and He will guide us line upon line, precept upon precept.  Sometimes the directives will be clear, and at other times we will follow our own best judgment, but without a doubt, we are also on a journey and the Lord is there to guide us if we will ask and then obey His commandments and directives.

HUMBLE -  The Brother of Jared was not perfect.  Even after experiencing miraculous answers to his prayers, he became complacent with respect to God and neglected to pray.  Perhaps one of his weaknesses was pride in thinking that he could make his journey on his own.  Most of us have that same weakness as well, and neglect to seek the Lord’s guidance in our journey.  But the important point is that the Lord loved him, as He loves us, enough to chasten him.  In his case, the Lord corrected him for not praying (Ether 2:14) – not just for a few minutes, but for THREE hours.  That was one long and no doubt very uncomfortable interview, but his reaction to that correction is one that we would do well to emulate.  He didn’t argue or deny his wrongdoing; instead, he was humble and recognized his error and chose to repent of the evil which he had done. 

We, too, should follow the Brother of Jared’s example in humbly acknowledging our faults and making the necessary changes to be more in line with what the Lord would have us do.

WORK – The Brother of Jared didn’t blissfully glide through his journey in a comfortable vehicle only to board a cruise ship in order to get to the Promised Land, but had to work exceedingly hard to accomplish the Lord’s directives.  I also don’t believe the Lord provided every detail of his assignments, but the overall objectives.  At first the Lord was clear in His instructions, but as time went on, the Brother of Jared had to figure out more on his own.  For example, he was instructed in how to build barges, but when it came to light, he had to solve the problem himself.  Since they didn’t have machines, factories, or stores to rely on, he had to build the barges with his bare hands.  Nor did he have big warehouses to work in, but was required to work in the hot sun, as well as in the chilly rain.  It must have been painful and hard.  It goes without saying that he needed to make plans and set step by step goals to accomplish the ominous tasks he was given, and then follow through with his plans.
We, too, must follow the Lord’s directives, which will also require hard work and sacrifice.  We won’t be able to blissfully glide through our journey either, but will have to work in rain and shine, following clear directives at times and in many cases our best judgment.  We’ll also need to set goals and make plans, and never give up until we have accomplished what the Lord has commanded us.  We might want to quit or turn around once we have embarked on our journey,” but, like the Brother of Jared, if we want to grow powerful faith, we need to persevere no matter the sacrifice.

KNOWLEDGE - The Brother of Jared’s faith became so perfect that it was replaced by knowledge.  We too can strengthen our faith until it becomes knowledge.  To gain that kind of faith or knowledge, we need to study and learn about the Savior in the scriptures and in the words of the Living Prophets.  We need to communicate with Him in prayer.  We need to obey His commandments.  The more we understand and know the Lord, the more we will see evidence of His “finger” or hand in our lives.  The more evidences we have of His reality, the more our faith will become knowledge.   As we learn from the Brother of Jared, it is possible to grow our faith so much that we too can have such a clear knowledge of the Lord that we can see Him.

EXERCISE FAITH – Even though the Brother of Jared had developed perfect faith, he still needed to exercise that faith by embarking on his journey in small submarine type boats.  Exercise isn’t easy and usually requires doing something beyond our abilities if we really want to grow our muscle.  In the Brother of Jared’s case, perhaps his greatest exercise in faith was boarding that hand-built boat and instructing his closest friends and family to do the same.  Once they were launched, Ether 6:5 states that they were blown by “furious winds” which “never ceased” (v. 8).  As I consider the storms and the crashing of the waves, I imagine there were fearful passengers sick to their stomachs, who suffered from privation, boredom, doubt, and fear, especially when considering that they had no calendared date for their arrival, nor any means of communicating with each other.  When the weather was calm enough for them to open the top in order to let in air, they most likely found themselves totally alone as each boat traveled separately, which certainly would have added to their consternation.

Yet the Brother of Jared exercised faith by singing praises and expressing gratitude in the midst of the storms and troubles.  Singing praises and expressing gratitude is a powerful way to repel fear and doubt and is one of our greatest demonstrations of trust.  We know from Proverbs 3:5 that the Lord guides those who trust him. 
Faith isn’t exercised nor does it grow very fast when things are easy.  Faith grows and is best manifested as it is tested.  The Brother of Jared’s faith grew for years prior to boarding the boat, and his journey to the Promised Land was a 344 day exercise in faith as he met doubt, fear and anxiety with praise and gratitude morning, noon and night.

The blessings received for that kind of faith were that nothing could mar or destroy them; they were guided and had light continually.  (Ether 6:10)  Even more importantly, his faith allowed him to actually see the Lord Himself. 

In summary, if we want to have superpower faith, we would do well to follow the Brother of Jared’s example by:
1.       Praying for guidance.

2.       Obeying both commandments and the guidance we receive perfectly.
3.       Humbly accepting correction and seeking to improve – repenting.
4.       Working hard and persevering no matter how difficult.
5.       Studying the scriptures and learning everything we can about the Savior and His commandments..
6.       Exercising faith through praise and gratitude.

By so doing, we will be able to experience superpower faith as described in Ether 12:19 Mormon 8:24

 Ether 12:19 And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad.

Mormon 8:24 … And he knoweth their faith, for in his name could they remove mountains; and in his name could they cause the earth to shake; and by the power of his word did they cause prisons to tumble to the earth; yea, even the fiery furnace could not harm them, neither wild beasts nor poisonous serpents, because of the power of his word.

Faith is the greatest super power available to men and women on earth and worth all of our effort to attain it.  As we find ourselves in the turbulent and stormy last days, we would be wise to seek that faith so that we, like the Brother of Jared, will be led and protected in our difficult journey and worthy to be brought back into the presence of the Lord. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Even Angels Drive Taxis in Ecuador

Even Angels Drive Taxis in Ecuador
by Sister Susan Richardson - September 2015

Could angels be all around us and especially around those involved in missionary work?  That was what I read in scripture after scripture.  Trusting this to be the case, I decided to ask our missionaries in the Ecuador Quito North Mission if they had had angel sightings or experiences, in order to discover for myself how angels worked with them.  The subsequent stories I heard have confirmed that without a doubt, missionaries are accompanied by angels and are never alone.

One of the first stories I heard early in our mission was from Elder Cedeño. He shared that when he was opening a sector in Cotacachi, an area in the countryside, they knocked on the door of a woman who had recently listened to three tall “gringos.”  She said that they had left pamphlets and the Book of Mormon, marking 3 Nephi 11. She was desirous to have them return, thus readily welcomed him and his companion when they showed up at her door. The amazing part of this story is that they were opening an area where there had been no missionaries, much less three tall gringos. Not surprisingly, she was baptized soon after.

This story took me on a quest to ask and listen to missionary accounts of angel encounters throughout the mission.  As I heard their stories, I became convinced that missionaries are only the mortal part of the labor force and that they are working hand-in-hand with angels. Their stories have taught me that angels help in many ways. Our missionaries have experienced angelic protection, help out of a bind, strength and comfort, confirmations to investigators, service, and sightings.

According to Alma 13:24 “…angels are declaring …unto many at this time in our land… for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in glory.”  Angels are preparing people ahead of time so that when the missionaries show up, they are ready.  This was certainly the case in the previous story.  D&C 20:10 states that, “truths are confirmed to others by the ministering angels,” in other words, missionaries teach, but angels confirm the truths they teach, especially of the restoration and the Book of Mormon.  In this sense, Missionary work is a co-effort between missionaries and angels.

Having 200+ missionaries to care for and watch over at any given time, it is comforting to know that there are Heavenly beings watching out for them.   Elder Neeley shared an interesting account of that Heavenly protection.  One night in May 2015 he and Elder Flores walked home through a dangerous sector in Cangahua and had to pass some scary looking people.  After walking by them without incident, they were relieved to lock their apartment door behind them, knowing that they had avoided danger. The next morning, to their surprise, a member of the Church told them that she had seen three of them walking toward their apartment. Notwithstanding Elder Neeley’s insistence that he and his companion were walking alone, she was adamant that she had seen a third person walking with them. 

Fausto Aguilera shared a similar experience of when he was a missionary in the early 1990’s in Colombia.  He said that he and his companion defied the directives of gang members who told them to never enter and teach in their sector in Cucuta, a city close to the border of Venezuela.  Because of dangerous circumstances, the paramilitary had a 10:00 p.m. curfew and threatened to kill - no questions asked - anyone out after that hour.  Thus when he and his companion discovered their Family Home Evening had ended after 10:00 p.m., they found themselves in a terrifying dilemma.  They considered calling their mission president, but opted to take their chances.  They said goodbye and ran to a corner where they prayed for protection.  Fausto shared that he felt an immediate calm, and like his running speed increased dramatically, but it wasn’t until later that they realized the significance of that calm.   At a later date, the woman of the family expressed great relief to see them again because she was sure they had been killed.  As it turned out, on that very corner where they felt calmed and boosted, she had seen two big burly men show up on either side of them. 

Sister Espinoza experienced a different kind of protection.  She was about to cross a busy highway in Otavalo when she felt a tug on the back of her sweater. She turned to see who touched her when an unforeseen car sped by. Had she walked into the street as she had intended, she would most likely have been hit.  Sister Black likewise was blessed with protection. On a preparation day, she and her district went to a place that had a large vine swing. She was swinging on the vine when either the vine broke or she otherwise fell and would have been seriously injured, except that she felt someone catch her, and she suffered no injuries.

Wild dogs that wander the streets and sometimes act like they own them are a problem in Ecuador.  Sister Hemsley, who had been promised the protection of angels in a priesthood blessing by her father before leaving for her mission, had an absolute miracle when she and her companion found themselves in such dangerous dog territory.  She writes, “Once, in my first area in Riobamba, I was tracting with my companion, Hermana Lopez. We had gone all the way to the end of this path in a very rural area, knocking doors without a lot of success. We finally got to the last house at the end of this dirt path, and we were rejected again, so we turned around and started heading back the way we came. We hadn't gone too far when we were attacked by a group of dogs that came from nowhere.

There were five of them, all a decent size, running and barking with their teeth born. We both screamed and had just enough time to lower our backpacks to defend our legs. Hermana Lopez and I stood back to back with the dogs at our legs when I screamed "Father, Help Us!" Immediately, out of nowhere, two teenagers came running up from behind a hill with rocks of glory. They threw the rocks at the dogs and they immediately dispersed. Trying to catch our breaths, we said thank you, and being kind of shaken, we hurried away from that area. It wasn't till later that I realized that those children really did seem like they appeared out of the blue. Whether from above, or from the earth, that boy and girl were a fulfillment of my father's blessing that day.”

Angels aren’t unique to the Ecuador Quito North Mission, and Elder Castillo shared a story of when he was a new missionary on a Chilean street at 10:00 PM.   He said that a scary drunk man pulled a gun on him. All of a sudden, however, the drunken man was scared by something or someone, put his gun away, and took off running. The surprising part of the story is that they were, as far as they could see, completely alone in the street. To this day, they don't know what this man saw, but believe it might have been an angel.

I love the scripture in Hebrews 13:2 “be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” because this scripture helps us see that angels can be disguised as mortals. We have seen that especially with taxi drivers showing up at a critical moment.  For example, one evening Elders Smith and Chávez were walking up a street when they saw an ominous group of people at the top of a hill who the elders had no desire to pass. As they were contemplating their dilemma, a taxi pulled up next to them and the driver asked through his window if they needed a ride. They were surprised he had showed up at that moment, but what made this story even more unusual is that when they told him they had no money, he offered to drive them without pay. After passing the danger, the elders offered to get out and walk the rest of the way home. The taxi driver refused, however, surprising them even more by pointing in the direction of their apartment, and saying, “But you live over there.”  They had never met this driver and when he dropped them off at their apartment, he flatly refused the money they wanted to go get from their apartment to pay him.

Another companionship had a similar experience.  Elder Luque said that one night they finished a lesson at 9:30 PM in an area where no buses passed at that hour and they didn't have money for a taxi. They were scared, thus greatly relieved when a car pulled up in front of the home and told them that he was a Christian and that the Lord had told him to stop because he needed “to take them home.” 

Another taxi driver showed up right at what could have been a horrific assault on a companionship of sisters.  Sister Sanchez and her companion were walking on a street when a man with a knife began to follow them. She heard a voice in her mind say, "Walk faster," and then “Run!” They were running from this guy when a taxi driver drove up from nowhere. They jumped in and got away from danger.

Angels have not only helped our missionaries out of danger but they have also helped them out of a bind. Elder Galiego and Saravia had an interesting experience in a bakery in the Sagrario sector of Ibarra. They wanted to buy a birthday cake for an investigator, but were short three dollars. To their surprise, a complete stranger came up to them and offered them the three dollars. What was most perplexing to them was that the man wasn't even near them as they were discussing their options, yet he was insistent they accept the money. After receiving it, however, they felt uncomfortable and wanted to return it, but to their surprise when they turned to look for him, he had totally disappeared from view even out on the street. 

We have had our own personal experience in which angels have strengthened and comforted our family. One night well after we had gone to sleep, our 15-year-old daughter came to my bedside whispering with a tremor in her voice, “Mom, will you please come to my room.”  I groggily followed her, and she began to cry that she had felt a very evil spirit in her room. I comforted her by telling her that “God's power was greater than evil.”  I lay down next to her on her bed and prayed aloud that any “evil spirits would be dismissed and that angels of light would come” into her room and comfort her. She said that in that moment, she “saw a flash of light” and was immediately comforted. She began to spurt out between sobs, “Thank you so much Mom. I know the Gospel is true and I want to be a better person.”  She was able to drift into a peaceful sleep.

Sister Henderson also had an experience where she felt accompanied by angels. She was in Peguche, a native Lamanite sector.  On one particular night, she and her companion were visiting investigators in the same building as a man who “was drunk, angry and pure evil.” He followed them, but Sister Henderson felt accompanied and uncharacteristically calm for the situation. When she shared this with her companion as they were briskly walking, she felt an affirming hand on her back and was sure it was her own grandfather. That would make sense when reading D&C 130:5 because it states that “there are no angels who minister to this earth, but those who do belong or have belonged to it."  In other words, all angels that minister on this earth have either lived or will live here and are most likely our own relatives.

Sister North shared with me that, “when our Stake President was setting us apart, he told us very specifically that we were each assigned two special and extra Guardian Angels.  He said it was his experience that each and every one of the missionaries he had set apart, and there were over 150 at the time of our callings, was given special guardian angels for their mission.”  He shared that “in our case, these angels were people we knew, loved and missed.  The angels were thrilled with their new assignments of accompanying us and protecting us.  They had also already been at work with and preparing the people we were being sent to teach.  

This Stake President only knew us in passing and very little about us actually.   He told Elder North that one of his guardian angels was the grandfather whose name he bears.  Only after the blessing did he ask if Elder North knew who that was.  Elder North told the President that in fact, yes, he carries the name of one of his grandfathers as his middle name.”  Sister North shared that she had some experiences while walking in Tulcan where she saw people with very evil countenances, but felt completely calm.

Our missionaries have also shared beautiful stories where angels have confirmed truths. Elder Del Aguila, for example, said that he had an investigator come to a baptism and while listening to the new member’s testimony, claimed she saw an angel dressed in white on either side of the new member. She was baptized thereafter and is very active in the Church.

Elder Suarez himself actually saw an angel during one of their lessons while working in the Centenario Ward in Otavalo. While they were teaching a family, Elder Suarez lowered his head to take a drink from a glass when he saw a little child sitting on the dining room table looking intently at his companion, Elder Carcamo, while he was talking.  The child was smiling and was very sweet with a happy face and he remained there during his companion’s teaching.  It was at a later appointment that the family shared with them that they had a son who had died earlier, who, according to his mother, comforted her from time to time and encouraged her to keep learning more about the Gospel and to endure to the end.

The scriptures say that the Lord imparts his word by angels which is evident from the story of the child encouraging his mother, but also true in the case of an investigator who was later baptized by Elder Burleson. He shared that one day when he was walking with his companion, he saw a ragged homeless man.  Elder Burleson and his companion were surprised to hear this vagabond call out to them, especially when he called them by name. When they asked him how he knew their names, he responded that “Angels in white had spoken with him and told him to listen to Elder Burleson and his companion and that they would teach him what he needed to do to be baptized like Jesus Christ.” He did in fact listen to them, was baptized, no longer lives on the streets, and is active in Church.

I am fascinated with the idea of angels, especially with those who look like mortals. I believe they are all around us, especially since we are living in an area which is populated with the actual descendants of prophets of the Book of Mormon. In Joshua 5:13 it states, “and it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold there was a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went unto him, and said to him, art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” The scriptures recount that the man with the sword was actually an angel and yet Joshua didn’t initially know.

This was the case in an experience Elder Kerby shared with us.  He and Elder Pinta taught an unmarried woman in Esmeraldas who was living with her boyfriend. The elders decided to wait until a later lesson to let her know that in order to be baptized she would need to be married. Between lessons, however, she went to visit her mother who lived in an area quite far away from their sector. After her return, she shared with the elders that she had met sister missionaries at her mother’s home, and that they had told her that she would “need to be married before being baptized.” The elders looked at each other and then questioned whether these missionaries were Mormon missionaries, but she pointed to her upper chest where a plaque would be and confirmed that they were wearing missionary plaques that said the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”

Very often, the work of angels goes unnoticed. In one case however, two sister missionaries believe that they were helped by angels in a service so small that it could easily have been overlooked or dismissed. They were working in the countryside in Centenario in Otavalo where their shoes were muddied on a daily basis. Sister Relmuan made a mental note that she would need to clean her shoes, but didn’t.  A day or so later while they were working, she looked down at her shoes and was surprised to see how clean they were. She turned to her companion Sister Tonge and asked with a knowing smile, fully expecting an affirmative response, “Did you clean my shoes?"  Sister Tonge, however, emphatically denied having done so, but looked down at her own shoes and quickly repeated the same question when she saw how clean her shoes were. They had been praying to be able to witness the help of angels, and believed that they were recipients of angelic help in something as small as having their shoes cleaned. 

I love the quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland, “In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil.  When disappointment and discouragement strike” (I would add danger),”- and they will – you must remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection.”

This was exactly the case for two of our missionaries in Otavalo in one of the most powerful examples of how good and evil spirits are involved in missionary work.  In February of 2015 as they were entering Espejo in Otavalo and walking up the main road after 6:00 p.m., Elder Leifer was singing various hymns, but when he got to the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers,” he saw what looked like a contingent of angels dressed in white preceding him into the sector.  He mentioned that he thought that singing hymns, and especially that hymn, played a big part in the vision he would soon have. He said that he was lifted up and was able to see his sector from an elevated vantage point. He also saw wisps of cloud like figures which he was able to swipe away with the movement of his arm. These he understood to be evil spirits and he was able to see for himself the power he had in brushing them away.   It was an amazing vision of light and power which he would soon need as he and his companion would face a darkness he had never before experienced.

We received a call later that his companion was nearly paralyzed with fear and was trembling uncontrollably. We thought that he was having a seizure and encouraged them to go to the hospital. It turned out to be sheer terror, however, as he had seen the spirit of a black man with a hat who had attempted to kill him. Both missionaries saw this man and it required special priesthood blessings to cast the evil spirit out of their apartment and we believe that the contingent of Angels of light which Elder Leifer had seen preceding and following them was to protect them from the evil they would soon see.  He shared that what President Richardson told him, “You have the Melchesidek Priesthood, the same power that was used to create this earth” hit him with great force.  “You are more powerful than any spirit.”  Following this experience, Elder Leifer said that he knew “that the Priesthood is real, and that if we are worthy and do the will of God, we can do anything; no spirit or evil influence can stop us.”

These are just a sampling of the angel stories we have heard from our missionaries. Knowing that the Book of Mormon was written especially for the posterity of prophets living on this continent, and knowing that we have pure Lamanites in our mission, we believe they are walking amongst the people. We have seen firsthand how angels are protecting the missionaries, helping them out of binds, strengthening and comforting them, confirming truths, and providing service. Not only this, but we know that good and evil is real and that there are Angels of light and darkness working overtime in the salvation or destruction of mankind. It is an honor and a privilege to be working hand in hand with these angels in the work of salvation, and a great comfort to know there are many eyes watching out for our wonderful young missionaries who often find themselves in dangerous circumstances.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Aun Angeles Manejan Taxis

Aun Ángeles Manejan Taxis
Por Susan Richardson  - septiembre 2015

Es posible que hay ángeles alrededor de los que están involucrados en la obra misional?  Eso es lo que leí en escritura tras escritura.  Confiando en esto, decidí preguntar a nuestros misioneros en la Misión Ecuador Quito Norte si habían visto o tenido experiencias con ángeles para descubrir por mí mismo como los ángeles trabajaban con ellos.  Las siguientes historias que escuché han confirmado para mí que sin duda, los misioneros si son acompañados por ángeles y que nunca están a solas.

Una de las primeras historias que escuché temprano en la misión fue del Elder Cedeño.  El compartió que cuando estuvo abriendo un sector en Cotacachi, un área en el campo, tocaron la puerta de una mujer que había escuchado recién a tres gringos altos.  Ella le comentó que ellos habían dejado folletos y el Libro de Mormon, marcando 3 Ne. 11.  Ella quería que ellos regresaran, así que los recibió calorosamente a él y a su compañero cuando se aparecieron en la puerta.  Lo más increíble de esta historia es que estuvieron abriendo un sector donde no había misioneros, mucho menos tres gringos altos.  No fue una sorpresa que se bautizó pronto después. 

Esta historia me llevó en búsqueda de relatos de ángeles de los misioneros por toda la misión.  Al escuchar sus historias, me convenció de que los misioneros son sólo la parte mortal de la obra de salvación y que están trabajando mano a mano con ángeles.  Sus historias me han ensenado que los ángeles ayudan de muchas maneras.  Nuestros misioneros han ensenado que los ángeles ayudan de muchas maneras.  Nuestros misioneros han experimentado la protección angelical, un enlace de ayuda, fortaleza y consuelo, confirmaciones a investigadores, servicio y avistamientos.

Según Alma 13:24 "… ángeles las están declarando a muchos en nuestra tierra en este tiempo, y esto con objeto de preparar el corazón de los hijos de los hombres para recibir su palabra al tiempo de su venida en su gloria."  Los ángeles están preparando a la gente, de modo que cuando los misioneros se aparecen, están listos. Este fue el caso en la historia anterior. D&C 20:10 dice que "… se confirma a otros por la ministración de ángeles, y por ellos se declara al mundo; " en otras palabras, los misioneros enseñan, pero ángeles confirman las verdades que se enseñan, especialmente de la restauración y el Libro de Mormón. En este sentido, el trabajo misional es un esfuerzo cooperativo entre misioneros y ángeles.

Con 200 misioneros para proteger y cuidar en cualquier momento, es reconfortante saber que existen seres celestiales que velan por ellos. Elder Neeley compartió una interesante experiencia de esa protección celestial. Una noche en mayo de 2015 él y Elder Flores estuvieron regresando a casa en un peligroso sector en Cangahua y tuvieron que pasar por  unos tipos malos. Después de pasarles sin ningún incidente, fueron muy agradecidos poder cerrar la puerta de su apartamento con llave, habiendo evitado peligro. A la mañana siguiente, para su sorpresa, un miembro de la Iglesia les dijo que ella había visto tres de ellos caminando hacia su apartamento. A pesar de la insistencia de Elder Neeley que él y su compañero caminaban solos, ella insistía en que había visto una tercera persona caminando con ellos.

Fausto Aguilera compartió una experiencia similar cuando él fue misionero en los 1990's en Colombia. Él dijo que él y su compañero no hicieron caso a las directivas de miembros de pandillas, quienes les dijeron que nunca entraran y enseñaran en su sector en Cúcuta, una ciudad cerca de la frontera con Venezuela. A causa de circunstancias peligrosas, los paramilitares tenían un toque de queda a partir de las 10:00 p.m. y amenazaron matar a cualquier persona en las calles a partir de esa hora. Así que cuando él y su compañero descubrieron que su Noche de Hogar  terminó después de las 10:00 p.m., se encentraron en una dilema terrible. Consideraron llamar a su presidente de misión, pero se optó por tomar sus chances.

Se despidieron y corrieron hacia una esquina donde oraron por protección. Fausto compartió que se sentía una calma inmediata y, que su velocidad aumentó dramáticamente, pero no fue hasta más tarde que comprendió el significado de ese cambio. Al volver a la casa, la mujer de la familia expresó gran alivio de verlos vivos porque estaba segura de que habían sido asesinados. Según la señora, en esa misma esquina donde se sentían calmados y protegidos, ella vio que dos hombres grandes se acercaron a ambos lados de ellos.

Hermana Espinoza experimentó un diferente tipo de protección. Ella estaba a punto de cruzar una carretera en Otavalo cuando sintió un tirón en la parte posterior de su suéter. Ella dio la vuelta para ver quién le había tocado cuando un coche rápidamente pasó. Si había entrado la calle como pensó, ella habría sido golpeada. Asimismo Hermana Black fue bendecida con protección. En un día de preparación, ella y su distrito, fueron a un lugar donde había una gran vid. Ella estaba jugando en la vid cuando la vid se rompió y se cayó.  Habría sido gravemente herida, salvo que ella sentía que alguien la cogió, y ella no sufrió ningún daño.

Los perros salvajes que andan y a veces actúan como si son dueños de las calles son un problema en Ecuador. Hermana Hemsley, quien se había prometido la protección de ángeles en una bendición del sacerdocio por su padre antes de salir a la misión, tuvo un verdadero milagro cuando ella y su compañero se encontraron en tal territorio de perros peligrosos. Ella escribe, "Una vez, en mi primera zona en Riobamba, yo estuve contactando con mi compañero, Hermana López. Habíamos caminado todo el camino en una zona muy rural, tocando puertas sin mucho éxito. Por fin llegamos a la última casa al final del camino de tierra, y estuvimos nuevamente rechazadas, así que nos dimos la vuelta y empezamos a volver. No habíamos ido lejos cuando fuimos atacadas por un grupo de perros que vinieron de la nada.

Hubo cinco de ellos, todos de un tamaño decente, corriendo y ladrando con sus dientes nacidas. Ambos nos gritamos y tuvimos suficiente tiempo para bajar nuestras mochilas para defender nuestras piernas. Hermana López y yo paramos espalda a espalda con los perros en nuestras piernas cuando grité "Padre, ayúdanos!" Inmediatamente, de la nada, dos adolescentes vinieron corriendo de detrás de una colina, con rocas de gloria. Lanzaron las rocas a los perros, y de inmediato se dispersaron. Intentando captar nuestra respiración, les agradecimos, y sintiendo preocupados, nos apuramos. No fue hasta más tarde que me di cuenta que aquellos jóvenes realmente se habían aparecido de la nada. Si desde arriba o desde la tierra, esos jóvenes fueron un cumplimiento de la bendición de mi padre ese día".

Los ángeles no son únicos en la Misión Ecuador Quito Norte y Elder Castillo compartió una historia de cuando él era un nuevo misionero en una calle de Chile a las 10:00 PM. Dijo que un borracho sacó un arma contra él. De repente, sin embargo, el borracho se asustó por algo o alguien, guardó el arma, y se fue corriendo. Lo más sorprendente de la historia es que, por la vista de los misioneros, estuvieron completamente solos en la calle. Hasta el día de hoy, no saben que vio ese hombre, pero piensan que podía haber sido un ángel.

Me encanta la escritura en Hebreos 13:2 "no os olvidéis de la hospitalidad, porque por ésta algunos, sin saberlo, hospedaron ángeles" porque esta escritura nos ayuda a ver que los ángeles pueden ser disfrazados como los mortales. Hemos visto esto especialmente con los taxistas apareciéndose justo en el momento crítico. Por ejemplo, una noche Elderes Smith y Chávez estuvieron caminando por una calle cuando vieron a un grupo de personas ominosas en la cima de una colina y los élderes no tenían ningún deseo de pasarlas.  Al contemplar su dilema, un taxi se paró al lado de ellos y el conductor le preguntó a través de su ventana si necesitaban que les lleve. Estuvieron sorprendidos de que él se había aparecido justo en ese momento, pero lo que hizo la historia aún más rara es que cuando le dijeron que no tenían dinero, él ofreció llevarles sin pago. Después de pasar por el peligro, los élderes pidieron que les dejara para que pudieran caminar a casa. Sin embargo, el taxista rehusó, sorprendiendoles aún más cuando señaló con su mano la dirección de su apartamento, diciendo, "Pero ustedes viven allí."   Al llegar a su apartamento, ofrecieron buscar dinero, pero el chofer se lo negó rotundamente.

Otro compañerismo tuvo una experiencia similar. Elder Luque habló de una noche al terminar una lección a las 9:30 PM en una zona donde no pasan autobuses a esa hora y no tenían dinero para un taxi. Estaban muy asustados, pero sumamente aliviados cuando un automóvil se detuvo en frente de ellos y el chofer les dijo que era Cristiano y que el Señor le había dicho que detenga porque necesitaba "llevarlos a casa."

Otro taxista se apareció justo cuando pudo haber pasado un asalto a un compañerismo de hermanas. Hermana Sánchez y su compañera estuvieron caminando en la calle cuando un hombre con cuchillo comenzó a seguirlas. Oyó una voz en su mente diciendo, "Camine más rápido", y luego "Corra!"  Estuvieron huyendo del hombre peligroso cuando un taxista se aparecía de la nada. Subieron al taxi y fueron lejos del peligro.

Ángeles no sólo han protegido a nuestros misioneros del peligro, sino que también los han sacado de un desafío. Elderes Galiego y Saravia tuvo una experiencia interesante en una pastelería en el Sagrario, sector de Ibarra. Querían comprar un pastel de cumpleaños para una investigadora, pero les faltaban tres dólares. Para su sorpresa, un extraño se acercó a ellos y les ofreció los tres dólares. Lo más sorprendente fue que el hombre no era ni siquiera cerca de ellos cuando estuvieron discutiendo sus opciones, sin embargo, él insistió que aceptaran el dinero.  Sin embargo, después de aceptarlo se sintieron incómodos y querían devolverlo, pero cuando le buscaron, había desaparecido totalmente incluso en la calle.

Hemos tenido nuestra propia experiencia personal en la que los ángeles han fortalecido y consolado a nuestra familia. Una noche después de habernos dormido, nuestra hija de 15 años llegó a mi lado susurrando con un temblor en su voz, "Mamá, favor de venir a mi habitación." Al llegar a su cuarto, ella comenzó a llorar diciendo que sentía que había un mal espíritu en su cuarto. Yo le consolé diciendo que "el poder de Dios era mucho más fuerte que el mal espíritu." Me acosté al lado de ella y oré en voz alta que cualquier "malos espíritus fueran despedidos y que ángeles de luz vendrían en su habitación para consolarla.” Ella me dijo que en ese momento que ella vio “un destello de luz" y de inmediato fue consolada. Ella comenzó a decir por medio de sollozos, "Muchas gracias Mamá. Sé que el Evangelio es verdadero y quiero ser una mejor persona." Ella se durmió tranquilamente.

Hermana Henderson también tuvo una experiencia donde se sentía acompañada por ángeles en Peguche, un sector indígena. Una noche ella y su compañera estuvieron visitando a unos investigadores en el mismo edificio donde vivía un hombre "borracho, enfado y malo".  Al  salir del edificio, él les persiguió, pero Hermana Henderson y su compañera se sintieron sorprendentemente tranquilas por la situación. Cuando ella compartió su sentido de tranquilidad con su compañera,  sentía la afirmación de una mano sobre su espalda y estuvo segura que era la de su propio abuelo. Eso tiene sentido cuando lee D&C 130:5 porque dice que " …no hay ángeles que ministren en esta tierra sino los que pertenecen o han pertenecido a ella.." En otras palabras, todos los ángeles que ministran en esta tierra han vivido o vivirán aquí y son más probablemente nuestros propios parientes.

Hermana North compartió que, "Cuando nuestro Presidente de Estaca nos apartó, nos dijo específicamente que nos habían sido asignado a dos ángeles especiales.”  Él les dijo que fue su experiencia que cada misionero que él había apartado había sido asignado a un ángel guardián especial, y que en ese momento había apartado más de 150 misioneros de la Estaca.  Explicó que "en nuestro caso, estos ángeles eran personas que conocíamos y amamos.” Según el Presidente de Estaca, “Los ángeles estuvieron encantados con sus nuevas asignaciones de acompañar y protegernos y ya habían estado trabajando preparando al pueblo que íbamos a enseñar.”

“Este Presidente de Estaca no nos conocía muy bien.  Sin embargo, le dijo al Elder North que uno de sus ángeles guardianes fue el abuelo cuyo nombre el llevaba. Después de la bendición le preguntó al Elder North si sabía quién era. Elder North le dijo al Presidente que, sí lleva el nombre de uno de sus abuelos como su segundo nombre." Hermana North compartió algunas experiencias de estar caminando en Tulcán donde vio a gente con muy mal semblante, pero que sentía completamente tranquila.

Nuestros misioneros han compartido también hermosas historias donde los ángeles han confirmado verdades. Elder Del Águila, por ejemplo, dijo que una vez una investigadora que fue a un bautismo le dijo que vio a un ángel vestido de blanco a ambos lados de la persona recién bautizada que estuvo dando su testimonio. Fue bautizada después y es muy activa en la Iglesia.

Elder Suárez vio a un ángel durante una de sus lecciones mientras trabajaba en el Barrio Centenario en Otavalo. Mientras estuvieron enseñando a una familia, Elder Suárez bajó la cabeza para tomar de un vaso cuando vio a un niño sentado en la mesa del comedor mirando fijamente a su compañero, Elder Cárcamo. El niño estuvo sonriendo y era muy dulce con una cara feliz y permaneció allí durante la enseñanza de su compañero. Fue en una cita posterior que la familia compartió que tenía a un hijo que había muerto, quien, según su madre, le consoló de vez en cuando y la animó a seguir aprendiendo más acerca del Evangelio y a perseverar hasta el fin.

Las Escrituras dicen que el Señor imparte su palabra por ángeles lo cual se ve en la historia del niño que animó a su madre,  pero también es el caso con un investigador que fue bautizado por el Elder Burleson. El compartió que un día, cuando caminaba con su compañero, vio a un hombre de la calle. Elder Burleson y su compañero se sorprendieron al escucharle llamándoles por sus nombres. Cuando le preguntaron cómo sabía sus nombres, él respondió que "Ángeles de blanco habían hablado con él y le dijeron que debía escuchar al Elder Burleson y a su compañero, y que iban a enseñarle lo que él necesitaba hacer para ser bautizado como Jesucristo." El si les escuchó, fue bautizado, ya no vive en las calles, y está activo en la Iglesia.

Estoy fascinada con la idea de los ángeles, especialmente con aquellos que se ven como gente mortal. Creo que hay muchos ángeles  alrededor de la gente de Ecuador, sobre todo porque viven en una zona de los descendientes de los profetas del Libro de Mormón. En Josué 5:13 dice, " Y aconteció que estando Josué cerca de Jericó, alzó sus ojos y vio a un varón que estaba delante de él, que tenía una espada desenvainada en su mano. Y Josué fue hacia él y le dijo: ¿Eres de los nuestros o de nuestros enemigos?” Las escrituras narran que el hombre con el cuchillo era realmente un ángel y, sin embargo, Josué no lo sabía.

A menudo, el trabajo de ángeles pasa desapercibido. Por ejemplo, dos misioneras creen que fueron ayudadas por ángeles en un servicio tan pequeño que fácilmente podría haber sido ignorado. Ellas estuvieron trabajando en el campo en Centenario, en Otavalo, donde sus zapatos se ensuciaron cada día con mucho lodo.  Hermana Relmuán tomó nota mental de que ella tendría que limpiar sus zapatos, pero no lo hizo. Un día o más tarde mientras trabajaban, ella miró sus zapatos y se sorprendió de ver cuán limpios eran. Ella se tornó a su compañera y le preguntó a la Hermana Tonge con una sonrisa, esperando una respuesta afirmativa, ¿Limpió mis zapatos?" Hermana Tonge negó categóricamente haberlo hecho, pero miró a sus propios zapatos y viendo que también eran limpios repetía la misma pregunta. Habían estado orando para poder reconocer la ayuda de ángeles, y creen que eran beneficiarias de ayuda angelical en algo tan pequeño como zapatos limpios.

Me encanta la cita de Elder Jeffery R. Holland, "En el Evangelio de Jesucristo tenemos ayuda de ambos lados del velo. Cuando nos afecta la decepción y el desaliento” (yo añadiría peligro)", y si asi nos pasará-, usted debe recordar y nunca olvidar que si nuestros ojos podrían abrirse veríamos caballos y carros de fuego hasta donde el ojo puede ver corriendo a velocidad temeraria a venir a nuestra protección."

Esto fue exactamente el caso de dos de nuestros misioneros en Otavalo en uno de los más poderosos ejemplos de cómo los espíritus del bien y del mal están involucrados en la obra misional. En febrero de 2015 al entrar en el sector del Espejo en Otavalo y al caminar hasta la carretera principal después de las 6:00 p.m., Elder Leifer estuvo cantando varios himnos.   Cuando cantó el himno "Con Valor Marchemos", vio lo que parecía un contingente de ángeles vestidos de blanco que lo precedieron en el sector. Mencionó que creía que el cantar himnos y sobre todo ese himno, desempeñó un papel importante en la visión que él tendría pronto. Él dijo que sentía que fue levantado donde pudo ver su sector desde un punto elevado. También vio rastros de nube como figuras que pudo despedir  con el movimiento de su brazo. Estos él entendió de ser malos espíritus y pudo ver por sí mismo el poder que había en poder despedirlos. Fue una increíble visión de luz y de fuerza que pronto necesitaría cuando él y su compañero se enfrentarían una obscuridad que nunca había experimentado antes.

Recibimos una llamada más tarde que su compañero estaba casi paralizado y estaba temblando incontrolablemente. Nos pareció que estuvo teniendo convulsiones y les pedimos que fueran al hospital. Resultó en ser puro terror porque había visto el espíritu de un hombre negro con un sombrero que quería matarle. Ambos misioneros vio a este hombre y necesitaban bendiciones del sacerdocio para echar fuera el mal espíritu de su apartamento.  Creemos que el contingente de ángeles de luz que Elder Leifer había visto era para protegerlos de la maldad que pronto iban a ver. Presidente Richardson le dijo, "Tú tienes el Sacerdocio del Melchesidek, el mismo poder que fue utilizado para crear este mundo". "Tú eres más poderoso que cualquier espíritu." Eso le tocó mucho al corazón de él.  Después de esa experiencia, Elder Leifer dijo que sabía "que el sacerdocio es real, y que si somos dignos y hacemos la voluntad de Dios, podemos hacer cualquier cosa que Dios quiere y que ningún espíritu o mala influencia puede detenernos".

Estos son sólo una muestra de historias de  ángeles que hemos escuchado de nuestros misioneros. Sabiendo que el Libro de Mormón fue escrito especialmente para la posteridad de profetas que vivían en este continente, y sabiendo que tenemos Lamanitas puras en nuestra misión, creemos que ángeles están caminando entre la gente. Hemos visto personalmente cómo los ángeles protejan a los misioneros, ayudándoles, fortaleciéndolos y dándoles consuelo, confirmando las verdades, y sirviéndolos. No sólo esto, pero sabemos que el bien y el mal es real y que hay ángeles de luz y de obscuridad trabajando horas extras en la salvación o la destrucción de la humanidad. Es un honor y un privilegio estar trabajando mano a mano con estos ángeles en la obra de salvación, y un gran consuelo saber que hay muchos ojos mirando a nuestros maravillosos jóvenes misioneros que se encuentran a veces en circunstancias peligrosas.