Last weekend I again found myself on an airplane. As I settled in at my gate, I wondered what addition to “The Great Airport Challenge” I might be blessed to experience! Or, would this be a time when I would have no missionary experiences at all?
My time at the gate was short and uneventful. Would my flight be the same? I hoped not.
As I sat down in my seat I secretly looked forward to some down time and perhaps even a little snooze. I said a silent prayer, however, and told Father I was very willing to occupy the space of the next hour and a half in sharing the gospel, if He would help me see the way to do so.
A pleasant looking woman soon sat down next to me. Immediately, as always, I wondered, “Her? Is this who I am to share the gospel with? Is she the one?”
Since it is typically difficult (and probably unwise), to start a conversation with, “Hello! My name is April and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true! Would you like to know more?” I decided to just start with a simple “Hello!” She returned it with a smile and sat down. She then immediately opened her book and seemed to be quite immersed in it. So, I just relaxed and gazed out the window.
Until, I saw the name of her book.
It was a book about Jesus Christ.
ALERT! ALERT! MISSIONARY OPPORTUNITY ALERT!
I immediately got excited with this new revelation. I knew SOMETHING was about to happen, but I was still unsure of what or how to pursue it! So, I said a silent prayer.
Then – a thought came to me. (As often does after silent prayers.)
My Ensign. Get out my Ensign and begin reading it.
I did. (Now I knew why I had been prompted to bring it at the last minute!)
I smiled as I flipped through the first few pages, knowing the Spirit was in charge now. As I came upon pages or pictures about Jesus Christ, I stopped on those. I hoped she would see that my magazine and hers – were about the same person.
I happened to land on a page about Elijah.
I began reading it.
Then – I saw a finger!
Pointing to the picture of Elijah!
I looked up and she was smiling and nodding her approval! I quickly searched my brain for something to say! Here was my opening! But how was I supposed to step through it? I knew I must follow Nephi’s example. (“And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.”) I knew I must press forward, open my mouth, and trust that the Spirit would fill it.
I believe the words that came out, after a smile and nod of my own, were something similar to, “Yes! This is a magazine put out by our church. It’s all about Jesus Christ.”
She then showed me her book, which was about the same topic. I asked her some questions about her book and hoped she would ask me some about mine. But she didn’t. She soon went back to reading. I did too.
I said a quick prayer of gratitude and added an urgent plea to Heavenly Father. “Please help her know to WHICH CHURCH this magazine belongs, so she will know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is centered on the Savior!”
In an effort to help answer my own prayer, I earnestly began perusing the pages to see if I could find something which mentioned the name of the church prominently so she would see it if she happened to glance over.
I found an article entitled, “Are You a Mormon?” It was a short article but I stayed on the page long after I finished reading it. I’m sure she saw it, but she didn’t say anything. I was hoping she would ask me about it – but nothing. I didn’t know if she thought it as an article bashing Mormons or a Mormon article. I didn’t know what to do.
I decided I had better speak up.
I knew she was enthralled in her book but I took the risk to interrupt her. I saw she was almost done with it so I asked her if she thought she would finish it before we landed. She told me she was trying to finish it during the flight because she wanted to give it to me!
ALERT! ALERT! MISSIONARY OPPORTUNITY ALERT!
I smiled in surprise and quickly jumped into this gaping wide hole of opportunity! I told her how generous and wonderful that would be! Then I offered her my magazine in exchange. She said okay!
God answers prayers.
Soon she finished her book and wrote an inscription in it for me.
I did the same. I included my name, phone number and short testimony of the truthfulness of what the Ensign contains.
She left with the word of God.
I left with renewed faith and a new friend.
What a pleasure it is to be a worker in The Great Hastening! I may be only an army ant or a worker bee, but I can think of nothing else, besides the joy I find in my family, which brings me more happiness!
I am so grateful for airplanes.