Some weeks are just different. This last week was one I think. I feel my heart very apparently. We are working with some members who are Karen--they are refugees. They don't know a lot of English so we are trying to teach English to as many as we can. They work so much! It hurts to not to be able to communicate the simplicity of the Gospel the way I want to. It hurts to not be able to give them the beauty of the Book of Mormon as freely as I want. You see, there is no church material to order in Karen. No Book of Mormon, no Gospel Principles books. So, in order to share it, a Karen person must be bilingual. I am realizing more and more how much I love and rely on that book when I can't have it--I can't give that to everyone. Where would I be without the Book of Mormon?
Not here. My conversion is so bound to the Book of Mormon that I can't imagine going without. How would I have truly felt faith without Alma the Younger and his conversion of the Lamanites? How would I known of true conversion without the people of Ammon? How could I have known fearlessness without Moroni and his strength in the Lord? Alma, Abinadi, Nephi, Alma the Younger, Helaman....too many to name. How would I have understood the Spirit without that steady flow of spiritual input? How would I have known Joseph Smith was a Prophet without realizing that this couldn't come from a man--it was too good. And with all the claims (the First Vision, the angels,...) it would have to be true because "no good man would write this book, save it were true..." (Elder Holland said something along those lines, quoting his Grandfather I believe, in a talk a while back). How would I have known without "experimenting upon the word"? (Alma 32:27-29) Honestly, I don't know how I would have. I don't know if I would have. No, I wouldn't have. What a terribly sad thought.
But this I know--with God all things are possible. Early missionaries went to foreign lands with only the clothes on their backs and a Book of Mormon. We have Karen people with beautiful English here; people wanting and willing to learn; a reading program designed by very intelligent people to help speak, read, and comprehend scripture in English; we have a wonderfully willing and helpful ward; we have visuals and videos and other aids. We have all these things. Those men with only clothes and a Book were able to spread the Gospel into longing souls. With God there is a way--God's way. All we need to do is not hinder it.
So, we work slow and steady to teach them English and teach all we can (explaining scriptures, principles, prayer, etc.) and just praying so hard that we can help. We search for all who are ready; we seek to share this beautiful message. We pray we can help. We just want to help so much.
My last thought is this--we have so much going for us. We are educated. We have the Book of Mormon in our Native tongue--in it's pure first translation through a Prophet of God even! We have churches nearby, loving neighbors, and the technology to help (using such things as lds.org). We have everything going for us. How can we justify not truly diving into the Book of Mormon? How can we justify not asking the Lord--not reading to see the goodness of it? Not knowing the story of Joseph Smith and understanding the repercussions of it? We can't. Please take this chance to look for yourself--it's more important than I can even express. I know it's true and I am so happy because of it. Please, I want you all to know too.
With love,Sister Short