Testimonies of Missionary Work
After about four months there, I was ready to leave. I was convinced I would be transferred.
Sunday night I waited by the phone until my zone leader called. When he reported that I was assigned to stay in the same area for another six weeks, I couldn’t believe my ears. I thought there must have been a mistake!
The following week was a total disaster for me and probably for my companion and the people under our stewardship as well. I refused to believe this was the right decision. Still, I put on a big smile whenever we saw or talked to people, but deep inside I remained unhappy. In my pride I continued to tell myself that I was not where I was supposed to be. I still hoped that my mission president would call and tell me that I was being transferred to another area.
The next Sunday morning while I was grudgingly getting ready for church, the phone rang. It was the mission president. He greeted me with his usual kind, sincere voice and then said, “Sister Cho, yesterday at lunch I thought of you and had a feeling that I needed to call you to let you know you are in the right place. You are where you’re supposed to be.” I teared up when I heard his words.
I thanked him and hung up the phone. As I began to cry, a crystal-clear feeling came strongly to my heart that there were unfinished assignments waiting for me in our area. I also knew that my Heavenly Father knew my thoughts and frustration. He understood my weakness, and He sent His servant to reassure me.
After that phone call, I began to pull myself together. I prayed for strength every day, asking to see more clearly how I could do what the Lord expected me to do. Throughout the next five weeks, my companion and I witnessed many miracles as we exercised enough faith to work hard. A very prepared investigator moved into our area and was baptized within that transfer.
We were also invited into homes of people who originally hadn’t welcomed us. We met many new people who were having a hard time and were blessed to share the comforting words of God with them. Although some didn’t then choose to be baptized, I will never forget their shining faces or how the Spirit and the love of God touched their hearts—and mine.
I invited my friends to my baptism, but they completely disregarded my invitation. I really did not know what to do. Before my baptism, I sat alone on the sofa in the foyer of the chapel, praying that my friends would miraculously appear so I could tell them about the positive changes I had made in my life and prove to them that I was making the right decision by being baptized.My friends never showed up, but while I poured my heart out to God, I felt an impression. At that point, I felt great love from my Heavenly Father. I knew that He was there and had truly listened to my prayer.I originally wanted to be baptized simply because of all the wonderful things happening in my life, but at that moment, I came to understand the purpose of my baptism.
Not long after my wife, Mabel, joined me from Nigeria in 1984, I started having a burning desire to again draw closer to God and belong to a church. A friend visiting from Nigeria didn’t know I was looking for a church, but he told me about a church he had heard of that had a book called the Book of Mormon.
After that, I continued looking for churches. I found a church called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The word saint caught my attention. I didn’t know there was a church with members called saints. That Sunday I decided to check it out.
At the sacrament meeting I attended, the congregation sang hymns in a reverent manner, priests blessed bread and water, and the service was conducted in order and humility. Afterward, as I walked to the foyer and contemplated the service, I heard my name.
“Simeon,” the voice of the Spirit said, “this is the place.”
At that point, two missionaries approached. They introduced themselves and the Book of Mormon. I looked at them and said, “I don’t know anything about the Book of Mormon, but I know the Bible. I am ready.”
I was finishing my mission in the Illinois Chicago South Mission when I received special permission to visit a previous area and have dinner with the Tremillo family. I had served in their ward for a whole year and had grown close to them.
During dinner, Brother Tremillo encouraged me to share at least one message of happiness on my way home. He said the Lord would put someone on my flight who would need my help. I promised him that I would.
From that time to the time I left Chicago, I was also praying to receive confirmation that the Lord would accept my sacrifice of serving as a full-time missionary.
Three weeks later, I boarded the plane that would take me home. As I approached my seat, the person in the seat next to mine looked up. “No way!” she said. “I can’t believe it!”
My first thought was, “Great, she hates Mormons!” When I sat down, she told me that her name was Kelly and that she was a recent convert. She expressed how happy she was that a missionary was sitting next to her. Kelly told me that the last person she had sat next to was anti-Mormon and unkind in how she expressed her opinion of Kelly’s newfound faith. Kelly was distraught and had questions. She had been praying for answers and comfort.
I said a prayer in my heart and testified of the truth of the gospel and of God’s love for His children, including her. I told her about the advice I had received from Brother Tremillo. I said that God had prepared this special moment just for her.
With tears in her eyes, Kelly thanked me. She also said, “I can tell that you were a good missionary and that the Lord accepts your sacrifice.” At that moment, I felt God’s deep love for me. It was my turn to cry. With tears in my eyes, I thanked Kelly and told her that she had been an answer to my prayer. I answered a few more of her questions, and we exchanged email addresses.
Our flight landed and we waved goodbye as she walked to her next flight. I will always be grateful that Heavenly Father was willing to bless us in such a tender way.
I followed this pattern for some time but couldn’t find what I was seeking. I tried traditional and nontraditional worship groups. I remember wanting to give up, but I prayed to Heavenly Father, asking Him that if His Church was on the earth, would He please help me find it?
Days later, I heard a knock at the door and found two Latter-day Saint missionaries standing on our doorstep. I opened the door partway and told them I wasn’t interested. They had a response for that. I said something else so that they would leave. They had a response for that too. Then I had a thought: “This could be what you’ve been praying for.” I immediately countered that thought with another: “Nah.”
But as they continued to tell me about the Church, I couldn’t help feeling interested. They asked if they could come in, and I agreed. They gave me the first discussion and asked me to study what they were teaching me.
The missionaries continued to teach me, usually during the day on Wednesdays. Mysteriously, each Wednesday one of our four oldest sons, who at that point ranged in age from 5 to 12, would get “sick” and stay home from school. I didn’t notice this pattern for weeks, but ultimately I realized that they were taking turns sitting in on the lessons so they could share with each other what the missionaries were teaching. The gospel excited them too.
My husband wasn’t yet persuaded, but he agreed to take the discussions. One day he returned from work early and said, “The missionaries are coming over tonight, and I haven’t yet read the materials they left. I came home early to catch up for our appointment.”
That surprised me, but what shocked me later that night was his response to the missionaries when they asked if he would be baptized: he said yes. He’d gone with me to the various churches I’d attended over the years but had never committed to join any of them. It was monumental for him to decide the Church was true.
We love the Irish people and cherish our experiences with them. For example, a sacred thing occurred that underscores the work, I believe. We were meeting with a lovely less-active member and her nonmember husband. I was testifying of the divinity of Jesus Christ, of his marvelous plan of salvation, and of the gift of salvation that he gave to all men through his atonement and the resurrection. The spirit was permeating our souls and our entire physical bodies. We could all feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and we were visibly touched.
As I finished talking, the sweet sister said, through her tears, that midway in my testimony she looked closely at me. She heard my voice change completely and then my face changed. All the wrinkles faded away, my face glowed, and I looked like a young woman in my late teens or early twenties. My companion and husband also testified that he heard and felt the distinct change in my voice and presentation. I felt very blessed to have been able to have the Spirit testify through me, a great-grandmother, of the reality of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of his saving gospel for all men. We talked later about this singular witness to us all that the Lord Jesus validated our efforts to serve him. It was a beautiful, unusual miracle.
When I prayed, God’s answer came clear as sunshine. I knew in my heart it was true.
Unfortunately, when I took a new job, I lost contact with the missionaries. In the months that followed, my marriage ended and I tried to start a new life with my children.
Eventually, I remarried. One day my husband said he missed having God in his life. We decided to attend the church he once attended. When we entered the building, I saw a Book of Mormon on a table in the foyer. This was the same church I had been introduced to before! I loved the Spirit I felt there. When we left, I asked my husband how I could be baptized.
“You need to be taught by the missionaries,” he said.
“I was taught five years ago!” I replied.
My children and I were taught the lessons. Our baptism day was the happiest day of our lives.
Several years later, I felt that I should tell the sisters who first taught me that I had joined the Church. On Facebook, I found a group of returned missionaries from the Brazil Santa Maria Mission. It included one of the sisters who had taught me. I sent her a friend request and told her who I was, how I became a member of the Church, that our family was sealed in the temple, and that my son was serving a full-time mission. I told her all this was possible because she and her companion had planted the seed of the restored gospel in my heart.
David Dollahite, God’s Tender Mercies:
We began teaching the McLean family the next evening. The kids seemed to enjoy our visits and accepted what we taught. Jackie accepted everything we taught her although though she said she had been a Pentecostal Christian who had read and believed a great deal of anti-Mormon literature.
On the 21st of November, as Elder Buhler and I were teaching Jackie McLean about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I began to have the strongest sense of déjà vu (the feeling you have experienced something before) that I had ever experienced. It became stronger and stronger. I stopped teaching, turned to Elder Buhler, and said, “I am feeling really strong déjà vu.”
Elder Buhler said, “So am I!”
Then Jackie said, “Would you like me to tell you why?” We nodded and she told us that beginning a couple of years ago she began having a recurring dream that she was in some deep distress and there were two young men in dark suits with short hair who were praying over her. The dream was very vivid and it bothered her. She did not know the two young men and she did not know if, in the dream, she was dying or was dead. She was bothered enough that she asked a number of people, including her pastor and a palm reader, to “interpret” the dream. No one gave her a satisfactory answer. She continued to have the dream a number of times in the next two years.She then said, “When you gave me the blessing on the day we met, the dream came to me again and I saw the faces in my dream. It was you, Elder Buhler, and you, Elder Dollahite.” That was why she felt sick after the blessing — because she thought it may mean she was going to die. She told us that was why she agreed to be taught and accepted everything we had taught her even though she had been told by her Christian pastors that the Mormon Church was a cult and she should never listen to Mormon missionaries. Indeed, she was one of the most faithful members of her church…
I always kind of felt like it didn’t matter where I served because regardless of where I went, there would be people who were in need of the gospel.
“Meet us at the corner of ‘Elder’ and ‘Trimble’ street when you get a chance,” said my fellow missionaries.
“Are you guys trying to play a trick on me?” I asked
“No seriously… get over here!”
So my companion and I hopped in the car and headed over. The other missionaries were standing by, and when we pulled up, they were pointing up toward a street sign.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. There we were, at the corner of the streets “Elder” and “Trimble.
Searching for a book on miracles on my Kindle tablet I came across the book Mine Angels Round About You by LDS Missionary David F. Babbel. I wasn’t interested in the LDS Church but I thought I would give it a try. I downloaded only the free sample of the book. The next morning to my surprise not only was the sample downloaded on my tablet but somehow the whole book was purchased!
I started to read and not too far into the book I perceived that these miraculous missionary experiences had to be supernatural. These young men and women were spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and it was apparent to me that the guidance and direction they were receiving had to be from God Almighty. I was glad that I had the whole book downloaded.
After reading the book (I have read it twice since) I could not deny nor ignore that this work had to be from God; “but Mormons?!” I could not just sweep this under the rug and continue on with my life. I had to investigate. I soon looked up all I can about LDS, the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. I was blown away with all that I researched! This just may be the true Church of Jesus Christ.
Of course critics of the Church came into my research and eventually I was led to Fair Mormon to help me weed through these claims. It took about six months of thorough and intense investigating, but God has led me to Baptism in April 2021.
I look back on how that book was somehow purchased on its own and believe that it was Heavenly Father. He knew that that particular book was just what my heart and intellect needed to nudge me further in researching the book of Mormon, otherwise I would have never considered it; as I have rejected its claims in the past.
Thanks be to Almighty God for bringing me to where I’m at now soon to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In Jesus name I testify. Amen.
Praying for opportunities to share the gospel has led to promptings. I recently followed such a prompting and as a result have been blessed to witness a friend transform from Christian with questions into a serious investigator who has felt the Spirit and recognizes that this latter day work is from God. I’ve been able to feel of that same Spirit in our meetings and my own faith has been blessed along the way.
We opened a new area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Uwajima Japan on the Island of Shikoku. Not one member. I had a dream that someone would say to us “I knew you would come, I saw you in a dream. “ The day we arrived , got our used bikes from Inugai fellow who owned a bicycle shop we traveled around this city and came right near this apartment complex next to the Ocean Front, lots of water. Just as we were riding off we heard this female voice yell to us. Frantically and out of breath, she said, as we introduced ourselves as missionaries representing for Jesus Christ , “I knew you would come, I saw you in a dream!”
We baptized her, and she was the first to be baptized in our new Uwajima Branch and in 5 months we baptized over 110 souls. The richest man in town, Mr. Ogasawada built a 3 story church building. We saw the spirit move and accept us and infact we made the front page of the newspaper so great PR too. I have a picture of us going into the River to baptize her who said I saw you in a dream and our picture in the newspaper. We were blessed and I’ve been blessed beyond miracles.