Stop Right Here

“Stop Right Here,” New Era, Apr. 2005, 26

Stop Right Here

Stopping at that house was the last thing I wanted to do, but I was really glad we did.

“Stop right here!” barked the full-time missionary sitting next to me.

“What is it, Elder?” I replied.

“Somebody who lives there needs our help,” answered the short, stocky missionary sitting in the passenger seat.

I looked over at the dark, uninviting house he was talking about, and it was hard not to ridicule the young missionary for thinking something good could come from knocking on that door. But, because he had a sacred calling as a missionary in the Lord’s Church and I was only a 17-year-old convert, I obeyed his request and rolled my car to a stop.

It was a warm spring night in southern California. The only sound I heard as we walked up to the house was the symphony the crickets were performing. Though their music was pleasant, I still had an eerie feeling while knocking on the old door in front of us.

“Elder, I don’t think anybody’s home. We can try some other time.”

“Just wait,” the missionary pleaded.

Just as I was about to drag my temporary companion away from the dark doorstep, the door creaked open. In front of us stood a short, skinny man in his mid-30s. He wore a pair of tattered jeans and an off-white T-shirt decorated with small holes and grease stains.

“Who are you?” the man softly inquired.

“I am Elder Johnson, and this is my friend Gabe. We are here on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Tears began to roll down the man’s face, and he started to sob uncontrollably. We stood in front of him, absolutely amazed at the scene that was unfolding before our eyes. Behind the tears he was shedding, the man’s eyes lit up with hope.

“Are you the angels I asked for?” the man questioned.

It turns out that Sam, the man we were speaking with, had been planning to end his life that night. In a final prayer to God, he pleaded that he would receive forgiveness for what he was about to do. Finally, his last hopeful request was for the Lord to send him an angel in this time of great need.

A fire burned in my chest as I realized the Lord was using this missionary and me as instruments in His hands. I felt so foolish for doubting the elder’s impression to stop.

This experience helped me realize I had something important to do with my life.

I didn’t know how many other people like Sam were across the world, but I imagined it was no small number. If I abandoned the opportunity to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary, would I miss other opportunities to make the Lord’s house calls in emergencies such as this? I dreaded the thought of leaving anybody stranded without the gospel. That’s one reason I decided to serve in the Lord’s royal army of missionaries.

I am grateful for the many people I met during my mission to Brazil who, like Sam, were sad and alone until the Lord used me and other missionaries as instruments to bring them the gospel. It is truly rewarding to serve God in such a wonderful way. This opportunity is available to those ready and willing to serve the Lord as missionaries. Though the Lord has plenty of “angels,” He could definitely use lots more.

  • Gabriel Middleton is a member of the BYU 84th Ward, Brigham Young University Ninth Stake.

Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh