Our Mission President in Bulgaria, told us of an experience that recently happened in Turkey. The MTC (Missionary Training Center) was praying that they could find someone to teach the Turkish language to new missionaries going to Turkey.
A young Turkish man and his mom were searching on-line for colleges for him to attend and were drawn to BYU in UT. They knew nothing about the church but felt impressed to find out more about this university. They contacted a local leader who met with them to explain about the school. Since they knew nothing about the standards that are required of those who attend BYU, it was explained to them that no tobacco, alcohol, tea (which would be hard for a Turk) or coffee was allowed. The young man said he would be willing to abide by those standards.
The leader also asked if since he was interested in the school if he would be interested in what our church believes. He and his mom both said, yes. To make a long story short he was soon baptized. An interesting side note. He was about to bless the sacrament for the first time and the Branch President's wife asked him if he wanted to review the prayer so he would not stumble on it. He looked at the card for about one minute and handed it back and said he was "good". The Sister asked him "what do you mean you're good?" He said "I have it". She asked him to repeat it back, and he said it to her perfectly. She was stunned. He seems to have a photographic memory.
A few months later he was off to BYU. On his first night at school he was very homesick and felt lost in a strange, new place. He did not have food or blankets and did not know how to get anything. (We can agree that shopping is a challenge in a foreign land.) He called his mom to say he wanted to return home.
The friends he had made at church in Turkey contacted others in the BYU area and soon a fellow student who spoke some Turkish was at his door and took him under his wing. All so a former senior missionary couple arrived with food and bedding. Crisis averted! Although his job options were limited in America due to his type of visa, the Missionary Training Center qualifies as an employer for foreign students. An interview was set up for him at the MTC for a job teaching Turkish. They, as you previously heard, had been praying for someone who could teach Turkish. The young man's prayers were answered to attend a school that offers a degree he wants to pursue and the MTC has a teacher to train the missionaries that are now being called to serve in Turkey. Turkey was just recently opened for missionary work.
Every day we feel we witness a miracle to see young men and women (19-21 years old) put their education and other personal interests on hold to go to a foreign land to teach others about a Savoir who loves them and the sacrifice He made for them. They share hope and an eternal perspective with those who have lived without much hope or joy for generations. They are truly amazing!
Currently they number more than 50,000 young men and women and over 5000 senior men and women. The young missionaries devote 18 months to two years of their lives to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and providing humanitarian service in more than 160 countries in the world. It gives me a new appreciation for our own dear sons who did likewise.
When you see the excitement of these missionaries as they reach out to those who are searching for something, it is a marvel to behold. We have noticed that God’s plans are most often reciprocal. Those who are searching are lifted up and given hope plus missionaries grow as they watch the changes in the lives of those they have come to love. Everyone benefits. It is such a privilege to be serving with them and watching as the miracles unfold.
Recently we ran across these two quotes:
I slept and dreamt
That life was joy
I awoke and saw
That life was duty
I acted and behold
Duty was joy. (Author unknown)
Robert Louis Stevenson put it another way, Said he,
“I know what pleasure is, for I have done good work.”
May we all know this pleasure in our lives as we do good work, whatever that might be!
Love Elder and Sister Segeberg