It seems to me that in the times of my greatest need or frustration I feel like the words I pray to my Heavenly Father are falling from my lips and onto the floor. I know in my heart that I am not really alone during the winter seasons in my life, but it can sometimes feel as though I am. I am grateful, however, to be reminded that I am not alone.
As I left Provo, Utah to go to Portugal to be a missionary, I felt a strong sense of certainty that there was in front of me a vast sea of experiences to be had. I was anxious to share the gospel that I had been taught all of my life. With a renewed sense of urgency and confidence in my ability as a servant of the Lord, I embarked on my journey.
The first six weeks of my mission were spent in Sacramento, California. I had been called to Portugal, but was awaiting a visa before I could travel there. I distinctly remember the feelings I had as I arrived in my first area and met my companions. A sort of realization washed over me and I sensed that the days of dreaming about effortless teaching, packages from home, and letters from a “waiting” boyfriend were now becoming a reality about which I was very uncertain. The feeling, as I can best describe it, is not unlike the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you are sitting in your seat on a ride at an amusement park and the bar suddenly locks into place.
About six weeks later, in my first area in Portugal, my companion and I walked along the busy streets of Lisbon, contacting people as they walked by. I had only been in Portugal a few days and had found that the Portuguese I had learned in the Missionary Training Center differed vastly from the language the people were speaking. I felt insecure in my ability to both understand and communicate. I felt ineffective as a missionary as I easily became lost in conversations. As we walked home one rainy night after a particularly frustrating evening, I felt discouraged. I felt lonely and hoped I was not wasting the Lord’s time. I felt very far from my family and friends, far outside of my comfort zone, and afraid that I was not going to be up to this task.
It was in this rainy state of mind, when I heard in my head the words to a hymn:
“Fear not I am with thee, be not afraid for I am thy God and will still give thee aid” (”How Firm a Foundation,” Hymn #85).
That night I looked up the scripture in Isaiah 41:10,13, which reads:
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
I was able to derive from these words the hope that I so critically needed. I felt that I did not have to rely only on my ability, but that Heavenly Father was watching over me and would help me. Whenever I hear that hymn I think of that rainy night and feel in my heart a warm confirmation from my Father who believes in me.
-By Alli A. in Georgia