These past two days have been miraculous and incredibly fulfilling. Last week our District Leader shared with us a talk on purification that he and his companion have put into practice. It was given by Elder Gene R. Cook. It outlines a plan to fast for 40 days from our “natural-man” tendencies. The instructions are to fast for 24 hours and, in the attitude of fasting and prayer, select a list of at least 10 things that “poke at your spirit”. These are things that pull you away from the Spirit.
Yesterday we fasted during our P-day hours. Throughout the day we each made personal lists. Last night, after companion prayer, I felt impressed to go back out to my desk and finalize my list. We are then instructed to kneel in prayer and covenant with the Lord to fast from those things. The whole process took until around 12:15 for me. It was a spirit-filled experience. As I knelt in prayer, I felt a very peaceful confirmation for each item. The last one on the list was a sacrifice I was afraid to make. I wrote it in faith, and as I reached it, I felt a powerful confirmation wash over me, that the sacrifice would not be what I had feared, and that I would be blessed for my willingness. I was overcome with gratitude.
How can I share these things with these people? How can I transmit this absolutely sure knowledge that I have that God does exist, and that he is mindful of every desire of our hearts and every need we have, and is absolutely willing to bless us if we turn to Him? What marvelous light I have beheld–throughout my life, and especially here on my mission! These experiences, like this one last night and the incredible Spirit I feel growing still today, have created evidence more tangible and more real to me that any physical evidence I have ever or COULD ever see or feel, that God lives, that Jesus Christ is His Son and that they BOTH know and love me. These are those things that man could never give or take away. These are the reason that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland can stand in General Conference and boldly proclaim “I am more certain that those keys have been restored and that those ordinances are once again available through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than I am certain I stand before you at this pulpit and you sit before me in this conference.”
The purpose and promise of this 40-day fast is that we will become effective tools in the hand of the Lord. As I studied the talk, I found that what the first young missionary went through as he did this and what he experienced following the fast describes the promises made in D&C 121:45-46:
45 …let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
He experienced those things. I am beginning to, to a greater degree than I did even three days ago.
I cannot express with words my gratitude to my Father in Heaven for calling me to this sacred calling, for trusting me with this sacred responsibility. I will be forever grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ, in ALL of its facets, which I am still learning and experiencing.
I will never forget this period of my life, and pray to God that what I am now experiencing may continue throughout the remainder of it.
I love this work. I love the Lord Jesus Christ. I love my Father in Heaven. I pray that each of you may come to that knowledge and love for yourselves. It comes through prayer–real, sincere, prayer. It comes through studying the scriptures daily, with a thirst and a desire to learn.
I know it’s true, all of it. I bear testimony of that in the name of Jesus Christ.