Sunday, November 2, 2008
It was the beginning of my mission, and I was having a rough time. The first month had not been what I expected coming out of the MTC. My enthusiasm started to dampen. Sensing this, my companion suggested we have a special fast specifically asking for someone prepared to be taught and to have an uplifting experience. We started on Saturday night and attended church in the spirit of fasting. I had fasted often in my life, but never with the sincere purpose I felt that day.
As church ended we were approached by a young lady who introduced us to her friend. I believe her exact words were "I have been reading the Book of Mormon with him, he believes it is true and wants to be taught." We taught him the discussions in three weeks and he was baptized five weeks after we first met him.
I am sure many missionaries have similar experiences of being blessed with an investigator ready and willing to be taught. For me though, that experience has never left my mind because it gave me a sure testimony of the power of fasting and prayer. Perhaps more than any other principle, fasting has brought me closer to my Savior as I have struggled with the deep and difficult change addiction recovery requires. (For that matter, the deep and difficult changes salvation requires).
Flash forward 12 years. I was driving down the road, lonely and alone. Consumed by the power my addiction had over my life. I had lost the things most precious to me and was feeling despair. The small inkling of thought came to me "Now is the time to humble yourself, fast and pray and the blessings will come". In that state of despair, I am not sure how the voice made it through or why I listened, but I am grateful to the Lord it did. I promptly called my parents and asked them to fast with me, which they willingly did.
I fasted that day for release from my addiction, with more sincerity than I had ever fasted before. I felt the power of the Lord, and the power of my loving parents joining me in the fast. And while I did not receive the blessings as fast as I had on my mission, looking back today, I believe that was a turning point in my life. It was then that the Lord started guiding me, putting people and lessons in place to slowly unwind the flaxen cords which bound me.
I have a sure and firm testimony of fasting. I am fasting today and feeling the peace and love of the Lord as I do. I am grateful for my wife who fasts with me and adds her power to mine, in an unselfish effort to help me receive the blessings I so desperately need.
And I thank my Heavenly Father and Savior for the blessings of fasting.