“Speaking the Language of the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 2007, 70–71
As missionaries in the Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission, my companion, Elder Allred, and I received a referral card to contact a family from Russia. When we found the house, the woman recognized us as missionaries and invited us in to meet her family.
We quickly realized the Balva family understood very little Spanish, and it was difficult for us to understand them as well. From their broken Spanish, we gathered that they had been in Argentina only a short time but were eager to learn about the Church. We adapted the first lesson into simplified Spanish, and the family flipped through their two Russian-Spanish dictionaries as we slowly taught our message, but we weren’t sure how much of it they really understood.
After making an appointment to return, we walked home, discussing how difficult it had been to convey the meaning of our message. We wondered if the family would understand the other lessons any better or if they would get frustrated and ask us to stop coming.
We returned to visit the Balva family the following day to see how they were and if they had begun reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know of its truthfulness. To our surprise and joy, they excitedly showed us a paper on which they had written in Spanish the principles we had taught them. They also shared with us what they had read in 3 Nephi 11 regarding the Savior’s visit to the American continent, assuring us that they had understood all we had discussed the day before and that they were excited to learn more.
Over the next few weeks my testimony was strengthened as the Holy Ghost witnessed to the Balva family of the gospel’s truthfulness and enlightened their understanding in Spanish. Heavenly Father knew the desire of their hearts and recognized the sincerity of their prayers to find truth. Together, the Balva family, Elder Allred, and I experienced the joy described in D&C 50:22: “Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together”—not because we spoke the same language but because of the universal language of the Spirit.
The Balva family introduced us to another Russian family, whom we were also privileged to teach. Both families made covenants with Heavenly Father by entering the waters of baptism not long after we met them.
I am a witness that the words of President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) are true: “The influence of the Spirit is the most important element in this work. If you will allow the Spirit to magnify your callings, you will be able to work miracles for the Lord” (new mission presidents’ seminar, June 25, 1986).