Saturday, October 3, 2009

For Such A Time As This

Esther 4:14)



Prospective missionaries at the April 2009 Guyana Zone Conference:










Just like Esther was specially prepared to save her people, about the 30-40 young men and women in Guyana have been prepared for such a time as this - when most foreign missionaries have been asked to leave the country.

At first I was worried about the work in Guyana, but now I am beginning to see that "no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing" (Standard of Truth). In fact, the expulsion of most foreign missionaries may turn out to be a great blessing to the Church in Guyana.

Here's why

During the time my husband and I were serving in the West Indies, there was a rapid increase in baptisms in Guyana. Many wonderful people embraced the Gospel and were baptized, including quite a few teenagers. In fact, President Robison asked each missionary to 'replace himself' before going home by baptizing a young man who would serve a mission. These young Guyanese men and women are now stepping up to replace the full-time missionaries who were expelled from the country. Fifteen of them will serve missions right away and others are preparing to serve as as soon as they are qualified. Special arrangements have been made to expedite the mission calls and to allow some to serve as 18 year olds. As they wait to serve officially, many are serving 'mini missions.'

President and Sister Hymas (he is first counselor in the mission presidency) have been serving in Guyana. Here is their description:

"It is pretty cool to see all these young men lined up at the doctor's office and dental clinics and passport offices etc. Many have never been to the doctor or dentist etc so all very new experience for everyone! Scary and profound all at the same time. None of them own more than 1 white shirt and tie. So getting shirts and ties and other stuff needed to serve has been nothing short of a miracle. The members here have all donated money and time and talents -- to purchase shirts, make pants, get what "their boys" need to serve the Lord. All the foreign missionaries who left Guyana left shirts and ties for those who would be coming to take their place. We had over 40 shirts and 80 ties donated by those missionaries who were forced to depart.

While those who were approved for calls have been getting ready to serve 15 other young men have been living and working with our missionaries so that the work will keep the moving forward in each of the areas.

As you drive around you see our "new companionships" -- one white guy and one Guyanese. We are still out in the streets on the Lord's errand! It is profound to see the local young men taking over for their "brothers" who had to leave. It is the Lord's work and as the scriptures poignantly remind us "...it is the work of men that are frustrated, not the work of God that is frustrated..." It is quite a testimony to be a part of such faithful young men and young women who have willing left jobs, family, friends to alleviate the crisis in the missionary effort in Guyana.

In addition, in three or four of the cases the young men who have answered the call to serve are a primary breadwinner in the family so their departure to serve means their family will take a 30 to 70 percent reduction in income. The sacrifice is huge!"


So this is what I am thinking

Can you imagine what will happen to the Church in Guyana in a few years with 30-40 returned missionaries??? They will bring incredible strength and begin a cycle of temple marriages and righteous families that will make a huge difference!

These young Guyanese Saints are wonderful. Every time we did a zone conference I was amazed at the number and personal strength of the young prospective missionaries who attended. One young man came to a zone conference just a few days after he was baptized. I remember the look excitement on his face when he received his own copy of Preach my Gospel.

Now I am beginning to see why so many strong young people were led to join the Church in Guyana.

It was - for such a time as this.

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