“But There’s No Church Here,” Ensign, Apr. 2011, 68
But There’s No Church Here
Julie Ismail, Western Australia, Australia
During a trip to the Mediterranean, I diligently attended Church meetings wherever I could. In Seville, Spain, I enlisted the aid of a hotel receptionist, the local telephone directory, and a city map to help me find the local Latter-day Saint meetinghouse. I wrote down the address and the name of the Church in Spanish. Saturday evening I prayed to know what time the meetings started, and I felt a strong impression that I needed to be there by 10:00 a.m.
Just before I left for church at 9:30 on Sunday morning, I prayed again that I would be able to find the meetinghouse. Following my map, I began to navigate a maze of narrow streets. It was a delightful morning. I passed cafés and a bird market full of squawking birds.
I made it to the designated address only to find nothing that remotely resembled a church. I walked up and down the street looking in vain. I was confused and anxious, and it was almost 10:00 a.m.
Finally, I prayed to my Father in Heaven: “Thou hast commanded me to go to church, and here I am, but there’s no church here.”
Just then a well-dressed man in a suit came around the corner. He looked like a member of the Church, and I felt impressed to stop him. In a somewhat garbled manner, I told him I was looking for a church. He said something I didn’t understand, and I looked perplexed. So he opened his briefcase, and I saw two leather-bound books that looked like scriptures. I handed him my slip of paper on which I had written “La Iglesia de Jesucristo” (The Church of Jesus Christ). He smiled and pointed back along the way I had come, and together we walked to church. The building was located at a different address just a few minutes away and was easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there. It was set back in a small square, behind large gates.
At the meetinghouse I soon found out that the man who had helped me was none other than the bishop of the ward and that the meetings began at 10:30 a.m. I had arrived with time to spare.
During the ward’s fast and testimony meeting, I felt impressed to bear my testimony. With a missionary translating my words from English into Spanish, I bore my testimony and described how the Lord had provided a way for me to get to church. The bishop then bore his testimony and explained that he had to park farther away that morning, so he was later than normal. When he saw me, he thought I looked like a member of the Church, so he stopped to help me. He then spoke of members who are lost spiritually and said we have to help them find the Church.
Over the years my memories of the sights of Seville have faded, but my memory of finding the church there hasn’t. That memory is a testimony to me of the great love our Father in Heaven has for us and that His hand is visible in my life if I just look for all the things that “work together for [my] good” (Romans 8:28).