On my mission I felt like I had many opportunities to learn how to recognize and listen to the Holy Ghost. Much of what I learned was from trial and error, which I believe is how many of us learn about spiritual things. The Lord was always patient and loving with me.
My Companion and I were walking down a road in Clemson,South Carolina looking for a person who had formerly learned about the church. We looked for a while and couldn't find the house. We decided to head back to the car, and look for the next person on our list. We walked past a baseball field where I saw a college age young man running back and forth at the back of the outfield. I thought in my mind, “I should talk to him.” When immediately I reasoned with myself, “He is running, he won't stop to talk to us. I don't want to leave the wrong impression by running him down.” And my companion and I continued to walk. About 100 yards later, I felt as if someone had restrained me from continuing and I stopped mid step. My companion, confused, stopped and asked what was wrong. In a nervous tone, I said, we have to go talk to that man. And I immediately turned and started walking back. Thoughts of doubt continued to flood my mind, and in a joke I said a prayer out loud and said, “God, if you want us to talk to this young man, please make him stop and walk toward us.” I chuckled while looking at my companion, and when I turned to look at the man, he stopped. And he began to walk toward us. I felt so small, like God could crush me right then and there. I couldn't believe that God heard my prayer that fast...and actually answered it that fast. We spoke with the man, and invited him to learn more, and he politely declined. As I walked away, I wondered why the Lord would be so animate that I talk to this man, if He knew that he wasn't going to accept. I have come to a few conclusions; the one I treasure the most is God asked me to do it to help me recognize spiritual promptings. He did it to let me know He heard me, and loved me. He did it to help me improve, and to have joy.
I know God loves and is aware of His children. He loves and cares for those who are troubled, out-casted, struggling, succeeding, hurting, different, strange, and even dis-functional. There were many points in my mission that I struggled to feel successful or like I was making a difference. These feelings are normal, but I saw the Lord reach out and touch my life to help me see that I was helping those around me.
My companion and I had a rough morning. Things fell through, and we hadn't seen eye to eye on much of what we were trying to plan. We were allotted 1 hour a week to go to the library to talk to our families. As we entered the library, I noticed a young man sitting on the bench right outside the door. I wish words could describe him, but I feel like they wouldn't do justice. If I had to chose which of all who were most likely to kill themselves or others...I would have picked him. Immediately, I felt that I was to talk to this young boy. It was almost like I had no other option. My companion and I went into the bathroom, and there I prayed for God to give me the courage to speak to this man. The night before, I had again committed myself to talk to every one that came into my path, and I figured if I had promised, the Lord would lead me where I needed to be. Which was here. We walked out of the bathroom and I walked straight up to him and sat down. “Hi!” I said. “My name is Sister Patterson, and this is Sister Grover. We are going upstairs to use the computers, would you like to come along?” And he said yes. For the whole hour, we talked. He was living in a boys home. His childhood years broke my heart. He wanted to get his life together so he could go and marry the girl he loved and have a family. The more I talked to him, the more I saw what God saw in him. And by the end of our conversation, I loved him. I knew the Lord put him in my path, not just for him, but for me. He helped me see and love him how our Savior sees and loves him. This young man never investigated the church, and I only saw him once after that. But I know that day made a difference. If not for him, it did for me.