Elysha's World

Elysha's World

Sunday, September 7, 2014

He Knows That I Know



Yesterday I ran into this girl, and I could not remember where I knew her from. It was a long enough time ago, that I couldn’t really remember how we’d met. We kept bumping into each other, and I told her she looked familiar, and when I saw her, I remembered her first name, but her last name had changed because she’d gotten married. I asked the usual questions of where she was from, where she went to school, what was her major, or did she go to EFY? 

Still, no luck. I know I’d heard her laugh before, but I thought we’d have to part before ever remembering where we’d met each other. I finally was able to remember where I’d met her. We’d met on a church history tour 6 years ago. I went on an LDS church history tour for my graduation present when I was 18. We went with LDS Harmony Tours. There were 3 tour busses full of high school students and we covered a lot of states. We drove all the way to New York and back. 

I really love history. I find it fascinating. That’s probably why I love writing in my journal, because I know I’m leaving a very detailed history for those who come after me. I heard an intriguing quote once that said, “What if your journal is the only Bible anyone ever reads.” At first I thought it was just a weird saying, but then I stopped to think about it. Isn’t that what the Bible and Book of Mormon are? They’re a record, journal, and history of those who have come before us.  What if everything got destroyed, and the only history the next generation had was my journal? I don’t know that they’d know a lot of detail about what I believed, but they’d know that I believed in God and that my family and friends were important to me. 

While visiting Nauvoo I got to look up a little bit of family history. My aunt suggested I looked up some family information while I was there, and I’ve had that disk with me for the past 5 years. It isn’t until the past few months that I actually put it into my computer to use the information to add to my family tree on Family Search and Ancestry.com. It’s been a huge blessing.  I really enjoyed visiting the Newell K. Whitney store. While we were there we got to go upstairs where the School of the Prophets was held. I loved the feeling there. The sister missionary who gave us the tour, gave us some time to think and reflect. While there this scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 25:12 came to my mind. It says, “ For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” 

I’d never really thought about this verse before, and all of the sudden it had new meaning. Singing had new meaning. Everyone was quietly thinking, and I wanted to make sure I was understanding this verse correctly, so I raised my hand and asked the sister missionary about it. Basically, if I understood this correctly, whenever we sing hymns at church, or when someone is singing about something they really believe in, the Lord hears their song as a prayer. I loved this concept. I don’t remember the name of the sister missionary, but she asked us if we’d like to sing. So for the next 15 minutes we sang hymns, and it was an amazing experience. 

The other place that I enjoyed visiting was the Sacred Grove. For those who don’t know, the Sacred Grove is in New York, and is where a young 14 year old boy named Joseph Smith knelt down and offered a simple prayer to know which church is true. Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and called him by name. Joseph Smith later became the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the LDS church.
 There was such a strong spirit in this holy of holy places. It was so beautiful and it felt like being inside of the temple. I don’t have the words to describe the feelings I felt there, but they were amazing. 

We had a little bit of time to walk around, and we were encouraged go and find a place to ponder and pray. I found a little bench in a secluded area of the grove and I knelt down and prayed. I didn’t see anything, or hear anything, but I felt at peace. I told the Lord that I was going to turn my life over to Him. I wanted to do whatever He wanted me to do. It’s kind of funny, thinking back on it now. At the time, I told Him that if He wanted me to leave the Sacred Grove right then and hop on a plane to Germany, I’d go right that very second. I’d do anything He wanted me to do. I felt that missionary spirit, and I was ready to serve God. I felt an overwhelming sense of His love, and I wanted to tell everyone I saw, the whole world, of His love. 

He didn’t tell me anything that day, in fact I felt like I was where I needed to be, and I shouldn’t go wandering off from my group to go to a different country. So as I went to leave the grove, I picked one or two of the beautiful leaves off the tree’s and stuck them in my small hymn book and scriptures, and then I left to finish the tour. This was in May of 2008. 

Fast forward to December 2011. 

I was in the MTC a few weeks away from flying to Taiwan to start my LDS mission. I was terrified, and I started to think that maybe an LDS mission wasn’t for me. Girls have no calling, obligation, or duty to serve a LDS mission. Sisters serve because they love the Lord and those around them. I loved the Lord, but I also loved America, and I was thinking that America was maybe where I should be staying.  I had started thinking a lot about going home. I wanted to go home, but I knew that there was nothing there for me. I’m from a small town, and I’d recently graduated from college, so if I didn’t serve a mission, my options were that I’d go home or try to get a full time job somewhere. I had also been given so much love and monetary support for my mission by those who loved me, to support me on my mission, that I didn’t want to let them down by going home early because of my fear.

I’d been praying about all of this, and I told the Lord that I was going to go home. I didn’t want to fly all the way to Taiwan to change my mind there, and then have to fly right back home. So I told the Lord that I’d give Him a few more minutes to change my heart and mind and help me feel at peace, and then I was going to go find my bishop at the MTC and tell him that he needed to send me home. I really didn’t want to go home, but I was terrified of going to Taiwan and speaking a language that I felt like I’d never understand. 

I love lyrics and hymns. Sometimes to clear my mind or feel the spirit I’ll just read the words of the LDS hymns. I felt impressed to grab my mini hymn book and read it. So I did just that, and searched for a place I could be alone and read. I went and sat down and prayed for the Lord to give me peace and strength to do what I needed to do. I opened my hymnal and what song did I open to? Hymn #270 “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go.” What was in the middle of that page? The leaf that I had put there 4 years earlier. I hadn’t opened up my personal mini copy of the hymns since that day. 


This is why I have a personal testimony that the Lord knows each of us individually. He knew that when I was 18 I would feel like I was on top of the world. He knew that I wanted to serve Him, but that I was really afraid to do so. So He placed a small leaf inside of my small hymn book where He knew I’d need to find it 4 years later when I was 21 and letting my fear guide me rather than my faith. The Lord knows each of us so perfectly. Finding that leaf strengthened my resolve and as you all know I ended up serving a full time mission in Taiwan. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I’d let fear stop me from meeting so many amazing people just a few years ago. My life would be completely different than it is right now. I can’t deny my testimony of the Lord and His love for me and for all of His children.  I’m so glad that He knows that I know. 

Hallowed Ground
Feeling torn from all I know
Seeming alone where ever I go
Trying to fit with the status quo
How did they do it?
 
Telling of visions that no one else could
Preaching the gospel like we all should
Leaving their homes when no one else would
How can I do it?
 
Walking on hallowed ground
I once was lost, but now I’m found
No one seems to hear a sound
But I can tell they’re all around
And as I sit and take it in
I will stand and fight at the sight of sin
And I know that I will win
Because I’m not alone
 
I looked them up, they’ve helped me see
Who I am, and who I’ll be
By learning of them they’ve set me free
I know I can do it!
 
Walking on hallowed ground
I once was lost, but now I’m found
No one seems to hear a sound
But I can tell they’re all around
And as I sit and take it in
I will stand and fight at the sight of sin
And I know that I will win
Because I’m not alone
Elysha 5-30-08

(If you are viewing this on your phone, here is the link to a YouTube video of a song that helped me pick the title of this blog. He Knows That I Know)

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