May we all help our brothers and sisters who are lost and lead them to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is waiting with arms open to receive them.
One Thursday evening, my companion and I drove down to the mission office for a meeting. When we arrived, I walked into the main office room and immediately noticed that all the senior missionaries were bustling around a well-dressed older woman, seating her and offering her water and snacks. After a few minutes of observation, I came to understand that they had pulled this woman in from the outside sidewalk because she was lost in the city and exhausted from the hundred-degree heat.
The mission secretary asked her where she had come from and where she was heading, but the woman could not describe her situation. They asked her about her family, but she couldn’t quite remember her children’s names or where they worked. It became evident that her memory did not function, either because of old age or mental illness. They checked her purse; all she had was some lipstick and a small mirror. Finally, they extracted the only piece of information she could give them: her name, Janice Welch.
Someone went out to the hallway to call the police for help, and someone else went to the computer to contact the surrounding nursing homes, so I decided to sit down next to her and talk with her to keep her occupied. Janice expressed to me that she loved Mormons, and that we were well-known all over the world for being so kind and generous.
After about twenty minutes of talking, she began to make motions that she was getting ready to leave, but the police still had not shown up and we were afraid that if she left the mission office she would again get lost in the city. Quickly, I jumped up and asked her to stay “just a few minutes longer” so that I could play her a song on the piano. She agreed!
We led her into a room with a piano, and a few other missionaries and the mission nurse sat down and began to sing her some of the hymns. Someone suggested that we sing “Lead, Kindly Light”, so we turned the hymnbook to song 97 and began to sing:
Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.
As I sang and played for Janice, the irony of the lyrics began to dawn on me. “The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on!” Although Janice was lost physically, we are all at times lost spiritually. Sometimes we are overburdened with guilt, remorse, or loneliness. Other times, we feel pain because others have acted wrongly or unfairly. Janice was not able to help herself, and we aren’t either.
Whenever we are lost, confused, or depressed, the Savior’s hand is outstretched to pull us into the pavilion of His hiding place. He is the Kindly Light and the Good Shepherd. Just like the police officer that entered the room soon after we started singing, Jesus Christ enters in at just the right moment, even if we have to wait some time before the soothing ointment of His Atonement can be applied.
May we all turn to the Savior in our time of need. Furthermore, may we all seek to help our brothers and sisters who are lost and lead them to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is waiting with arms open to receive them. As we do so, our conversion will be strengthened, our sensitivity to His spiritual promptings will be intensified, and our joy will be made full.