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missiondaines (Elder Daines’ story ** )

A Diamond Against Black Velvet, a story from Elder Daines in Yugoslavia

Elder Daines is serving in the eastern European area and shares this great missionary story:

On Thursday we received the phone call that all missionaries fear – our investigator Pero called us and said that he had received a ‘revelation’ telling him not to baptized into the Church and that he should not meet with us again.  And that was it. You always hear stories about how that happens just before a pending baptism, but I hadn’t expected that it would happen to me and my companion. The many lessons with Pero and the hours spent preparing him and all the things we had done to help him just were gone. He is such a good person. He reads the Book of Mormon for several hours a day and he is very kind, and he was so prepared to hear our message.  My companion and I were just devastated by this news.  We truly have labored with all we have and with all of our love for this man.

We received this call at the end of the day. So, the first thing we did was got on our knees and prayed.  I have never prayed so hard. I truly love this man. I know that God answers prayers; I know that without a doubt.  I recalled something that President Monson said in his dedicatory prayer when he dedicated Yugoslavia for missionary work.  He asked Heavenly Father to stop Satan from hindering this work in this country. When I was praying I asked for that same blessing.  After the prayer, I called our zone leaders to let them know the news.  One of them said, “What are you going to do now?”  I said, “Go contacting”. So, we did.  On Friday we worked and worked and didn’t see much success. But we knew this is what we had to do. We probably contacted several hundred people.  One person agreed to meet with us. We ended the day praying fervently.

However, on Saturday morning, the day Pero was supposed to be baptized, we received a text at 4 am from him.  He said, “Organize the baptism. God be with you.” And that was it. I was beyond overjoyed.  I was so happy.  After just being devastated, I knew that only through God was this made possible.  The rest of that day included frantically filling up the baptismal font and just getting ready to have a baptism. Pero showed up to the church while we were there.  He told us why he changed his mind.  He said that he woke up in the middle of the night and started reading the Book of Mormon.  He then said, “God overcame Satan; He always will.”  That night Pero was baptized.  I will never forget it.  Yesterday, I confirmed him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was so cool. I was able to say exactly what Pero needed.  Right after the confirmation he went and shook everyone’s hand in the whole congregation. It was quite humorous. He also bought a camera for the baptism and was just walking around taking pictures of people.

I have reflected.  What do I need to learn from this?  I learned that times of hardship and trials and temptation always precede great blessings and miracles.  A diamond shines brightest against black velvet.  This event is so much more priceless and special because it was surrounded by hardship.  I just want to say that I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that even when I am surrounded by hardship that I can trust in my Savior. He is that diamond against the black velvet. But he has promised us our own diamonds – our own great and special blessings. Even though it may look like we are surrounded by blackness, if we trust in our Savior and keep his commandments, there will be a beautiful diamond waiting for us just ahead that will shine brighter than all else.

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