Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Before I tell what happened at the store, I need to preface with what happened a few weeks ago.
It was Sunday, and Abe and I were finally relaxing when we got a phone call at 8:30pm from some missionaries. They were asking us if we would help some strangers move in from a city an hour away...that night...around 10pm. The missionaries knew hardly anything about them- just that they were outside packing their moving van and were in need, so they knew just the person to call... Abe.
Abe called the man whose family was moving and convinced him to wait to unpack the moving van until the next morning, so that Abe would have time to get him more help. The family could only do that if they could get someone to drive him back to their old home that night to get their baby and their other vehicle. Abe arranged for several men and a bunch of missionaries to help the next morning, and then he offered to drive this stranger back to their old home that night.
Abe drove this man he knew nothing about and would probably never see again an hour each way. Abe arrived back at home at 2am and left for work the next morning by 5:30am. He never once complained but served because that is what Jesus wanted him to do.
Now to tonight... My 3 older boys (11, 9, & 7) ran a half-marathon (13.1 miles) a few months prior, in October, and I had promised that I would buy them each something special for their great accomplishment. Tyson wanted to look for his gift at the Christian book store. He chose something really special with a beautiful message about being strong for Jesus Christ.
On our way to the check-out I noticed a pamphlet for sale. It was an anti-mormon pamphlet teaching people how to stand up to the Mormons and why the teachings are so flawed. Our family is Mormon- the correct name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was immediately upset.
I went right up to the front desk and asked them why they had this pamphlet at their store. I told them that tearing apart another religion does not show any bit of the Christianity that they are pretending to uphold. I asked them if they had any other material against any other church. They said that they did about the Jehovah Witnesses because they are considered a cult by the Christian community and with their Review Board. I said, "Are we considered a cult to you?" She said, "Well I'm not supposed to tell you my personal religious beliefs." I then realized that this store did not want Mormons there; they thought we were a cult.
I told them that there was a huge, gorgeous picture of Jesus Christ at the back of the store, and it is done by a Mormon. They said, "Which one?" I said, "I'm not going to tell you because you will just take it down. We don't talk bad about your churches; we teach of Jesus Christ. Do you know the real name of our church?" One worker said, "Yes... latter day saints?" I said, "You missed it. You missed the most important part." Then she said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."
There were no customers there, only two workers.
I asked them both to come together because what I had to say was very important, and I wanted them both to hear it.
I then began to shake and spoke with power from on high. To the best of my knowledge, this is what I said with tears streaming down my face,
"Because I will never be shopping here again, I need to speak to you both to tell you exactly what I do believe. I need you to know of my testimony of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is my Savior. I love HIM dearly. HE is the same Jesus Christ that you worship. HE died on the cross for us and even more HE suffered for all of our sins at the Garden of Gethsemane. I want you to never forget what I am telling you because I want you to share this experience with all those you come in contact with that are speaking of my religion. You have the opportunity to clarify with them that we believe in Jesus Christ. I love HIM with all my heart, and I want everyone to know that HE is the center of our lives. We have a picture of Jesus Christ in every one of our rooms... the kitchen, family room, and all of our bedrooms. We came here to your store because it was a safe place to find uplifting messages about our Savior, and we are so hurt that you would sell things that tear us down. There is no need for this here. Please remember and know that we believe in Jesus Christ. When people question my faith in Jesus Christ, it hurts me deeply."
Tyson was standing by my side, and he too shared his testimony of Jesus's sacrifice and his testimony of our church.
The manager, with the most sincere look on her face said, "Thank you so much for sharing what you feel. You spoke with a fire and conviction within that I just don't see... thank you." She encouraged us to write to the corporate office to help make changes.
Then, the worker that made the comment about the cults, with a softened heart said, "Well, when we moved here, nobody-not even from our church- came to help us, but a bunch of Mormons showed up." I then told her about my husband helping a family move when nobody came to help. I shared how he did it just because even though he was tired, he knew that's what Jesus would want him to do.
The worker looked at me strangely and said, "Is your husband a missionary?" I said, "No." A little hesitant, she said, "Is he black and a singer?" I said, "Yes!" Then she said, "We are the family your husband helped that night." She proceeded to tell me the whole story of how they were praying that he would continue to wait for them at their house as they were running almost an hour late, and that they were so grateful for his service. She came around the counter and gave me the biggest hug.
Can you believe the miracles? Out of the thousands of people in Kalamazoo, I would have the opportunity to bear testimony to the same family that my husband had recently served. I would have the opportunity to bear testimony so strong that the Spirit confirmed to the ladies working that night that there was a fire with which I spoke. I would have the opportunity to proclaim my love for my Savior so strong that it weakens me still at this moment.
The other miracle... my sweet son Tyson... As we walked out of the store, he began to cry because he couldn't believe people thought that we were a cult-that people who sold such beautiful things of Christ could think such negative things about us. I told him that God had given him a gift tonight. God allowed Tyson to bear testimony so that he could be strengthened within. God is preparing this young man to be stalwart in HIS Kingdom.