I sometimes think, "Oh how cool would it be to know Moses, Noah, even Lehi", and then I realize once again: I get to see the prophet of God here, now, TODAY! Do you realize how incredibly lucky we are?
When I teach people about the prophet, they are amazed, they are so excited and anxious to learn what he has to say. And then I hear members grumbling about "having" to watch conference. Don’t ever take that for granted!
Dad asked me what I thought about the new age limit for missionaries. I am so excited to add more troops to this war! The time is getting eerily close. You can see it in everything, especially being a missionary. I feel like I could place myself in the war chapters of the Book of Mormon sometimes. Right now, I feel that I am in Antipus' army. We are fighting with all our might and it seems like we might be overtaken, but now Heavenly Father has recruited the Stripling Warriors — his young ones with fire and faith and zeal to help us win the war. It gives me chills thinking about it.
Today I want to talk to you about "the fourth watch." I want to share with you something that Sister Clayton wrote to us as missionaries:
In the sixth chapter of Mark, after having fed the five thousand, the Savior sends his apostles down to the ship, and instructs them to push out to sea.
"And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.And he saw them toiling in rowing for the wind was contrary unto them and about the fourth watch of the night, he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea"
The Hebrew night was divided into four watches, each lasting three hours with the fourth watch taking place between three in the morning and sunrise.
Brother Wilcox states: "I worship a fourth watch God. One who tends to feel that it is good to let His children toil in rowing against the wind to face a little opposition. My problem is that I am a first watch person. Now there is something inside of me that understands that it is good for me to toil in rowing against the wind. But certainly by the second watch He would come. And when the second watch has passed and He still has not come, sometimes I forget that... He is watching."
Brother Wilcox goes on to explain it is easy to make one dangerous assumptions about why He is not coming yet to us. One is that the Savior is just not there and that is why He is not responding. Second is that if He is there, He is not listening. Third is if He is there and He is listening He must not care. And the fourth — and most dangerous of all — is that if He is there, and if He is listening, and if He cares, we must not be worthy.
In all cases, these assumptions are false. He is there. He is listening. He cares. And even though we probably are not entirely worthy, He will always respond. If He has not yet come to us, it must be because we have not yet reached the fourth watch.
I, too, feel like a first watch person. This week has proven to test my faith. We had five investigator lessons cancel on us, and have not added anyone new for a few weeks now. It has been weighing heavily on me.
I remember the other night, jokingly yelling at the ceiling during one of our nightly plannings, "Heavenly Father, please can this be our fourth watch?"
To my surprise, the very next day the Elders gave us a referral of a girl they had been teaching that was Young Single Adult age. Then yesterday, we were able to find a few people for the other missionaries to teach. How humbling it is to know that God does hear us. He does know us and He does care.
I’m not saying you can yell at the ceiling for the fourth watch to come. Sometimes it is far off, sometimes it is close. But I want you to know that it will come. I know with each of you, you are going through hard times. I hear about it, and I want you to know I think and pray about you. Don’t give up. Please don’t give up. It just might not be the time of the forth watch.
P.S: Just got transfer calls. They are splitting me and Sister Miller. I’m training in Helix, probably to the end of my mission as training takes two transfers and that’s all I have left. Can you believe 11 out of 13 transfers in a singles ward? Whew! CRAZY!