Wednesday, January 29, 2014

You Never Know...

I shared this story in a newsletter for the women at church. I feel the need to share this here as well. maybe someone needs to read this story today. I hope it inspires someone, somewhere to act upon promptings that come. I know we often wonder if an impression to do something for someone is from God or not. What I am learning is that if an impression to do something is going to help someone, it is from God. Do it. Do not delay.

As a full-time missionary, I served refugees from Southeast Asia living in the Fresno, CA area. 

Much of our work was with the rising generation of this group of people. The parents were displaced and didn't know how to live in a new country where they didn't speak the language or understand the culture and they couldn't be rice farmers because that was no longer an option. This often lead to the parents feeling depressed and losing the desire to take care of themselves, let alone the children. These were good people who had been through something horrific and although they were out of physical danger, the mental anguish was still very real. Unfortunately, the children and teenagers often picked up much of the responsibilities of raising each other. 

A 14-year-old girl named Nongyao was in this sad situation. She took care of 5 younger brothers and sisters while her parents were always somewhere else. She wanted to be baptized, but her parents would not consent. Eventually, we stopped seeing her on a daily basis because we needed to concentrate on others who were progressing toward baptism. 

But one day, our morning suddenly became empty of appointments. As we thought about where to go, my companion had a very strong impression to go visit a less-active member who happened to live across the street from Nongyao. I trusted my companion's feelings so we went.

As we drove closer to this member's little home, we noticed two big fire engines and two ambulances and a large crowd of people near the house. 

We debated about getting into the mess but knew we had felt impressed to go, so we continued on our path. Suddenly we noticed that a house had been completely burned to the ground - it was Nongyao's house. My heart stopped. I searched the crowd for Nongyao. But before I could find her, she had found me and suddenly this little 14-year-old Asian refugee ran into my arms and cried and cried and cried. I held her and cried with her not knowing exactly what had happened. Finally, through her tears she explained that the space heater in her 3-year-old twin brother's room had started the fire. The house had burned down. The boys had died and, of course, her parents weren't home. As usual, they were somewhere else. We stayed for hours that day just standing there and helping her endure what was happening.

I share this story because, "there are refugees among us, that are not from foreign shores and the battles they are waging are in very private wars. There are no correspondents documenting all their grief, but these refugees among us all are yearning for RELIEF." (that is from a song entitled "Safe Harbors" by Michael McLean) My companion and I followed a prompting to visit someone. On our way to being obedient to that prompting, we were able to do exactly what the Lord had needed us to do that day - offer RELIEF. Even as a full-time missionary I was part of the RELIEF Society.

Follow your promptings. Never suppress a generous thought. The Lord speaks to you. He needs you. Even if all you can do for someone is stand there and let them cry, then do it. Even if all you can do for someone is pray for them, then do it. And when opportunities come that require more than that, when it is harder to serve, dig deep and remember Who has sent you and Who's errand you are on and Who it is who will be by your side as you help Him with His work.

Trust me when I say that the Savior will find ways to let you know He has seen your service. Sometimes those ways will be grand and unmistakable and sometimes they will be very special, very private moments just between the two of you - like when He talked to this woman by the well. He sees you. He knows what you are doing. He loves you and loves that He can trust you and send you on His errands.

(Imagine that is you He is talking to...what is He saying?)

I love Him.

I found this youtube video of the song by Michael McLean I quoted above:

Safe Harbors
There are refugees among us who are not from foreign shores.
The battles they've been waging are from very private wars.
There are no correspondents documenting all their grief.
But these refugees among us are all yearning for relief.

There are refugees among us.
They don't carry flags or signs.
They are standing right beside us in the market check out lines.
And the war that they've been fighting - it will not be televised.
But the story of their need for love is written in their eyes.

Can you see through their disguises?
Can you hear what words won't tell?
Some are losing faith in heaven, cause their lives a living hell.
Is there anyone else to help those who have no one else to plea?
For the only arms protecting them belong to you and me.

This is a call to arms
To reach out and to hold. the evacuees from the dark.
This is a call to arms.
To lead anguished souls to safe harbors of the heart.
Can you feel the pleas of the refugees for safe harbors of the heart?


  1. Thank you for this blog. I did need it. I am one of those who question my promptings......are they from God or just my own imagination? Sometimes I have acted on a prompting, went to a persons home only to find them gone. Maybe the Lord was testing me to see if I would heed the prompting. From your opening statement, if it is going to help someone, it is from God. Thanks, Lisa.

    1. Thanks Marsha. I completely understand what you are saying. As with the example I shared in this post, the Lord needed to see Nongyao that day, but our impression was to visit someone else. We were obedient to the impression and were able to do what really needed to be done. It all takes practice and yes, I believe sometimes, the Lord gives us practice runs but I also believe that even with a practice some good can be done. Following an impression to go see someone but finding they were not home could mean several different things...maybe it got you out of the house or away from something when it was important for you to do so for reasons you may never know. Or maybe after going to their home, you will have them on your mind now and will try to check on them again when they really need to be checked on. There are always reasons and if we will follow every prompting we'll start to see that God really does talk to us more than we give Him credit.


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