While serving my mission in the Sunshine City, God not only lit my path but showed me where it leads.
When I first read my mission call to Laoag, Philippines, I had no idea how to pronounce Laoag. So of course, I also didn’t know that laoag means light in Ilocano and that I would learn important lessons about light in this so-called Sunshine City.
Light is used to describe so many beautiful things in the gospel. Christ is the Light, we are to be a light, and the light of the gospel brings joy to our souls and knowledge to our minds. Through many experiences with light and with the song “Lead, Kindly Light,” I came to better understand why God lets us experience both darkness and light.
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!
The first verse of “Lead, Kindly Light” by John Newman took on a whole new meaning for me when I stepped off the plane into an unfamiliar world. I felt both trapped and lost amid “th’encircling” humidity. I was far from home, and I had no idea what to expect. I remember spending many dark nights on my knees, lost and afraid, praying for Heavenly Father to lead me on.
I had come on this adventure, I had taken the first few steps, hoping I would gain a better relationship with my Father, and I knew that relationships require trust. The darkness and fear didn’t immediately leave me after one, or even many prayers. Even with his love for light, there was clearly something Heavenly Father wanted to teach me about darkness—even if it was to open my eyes to my need for his light.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Singing this verse in sacrament meeting was like the morning for me. I don’t remember the area I was in or the companion I was with, but I do remember these words turning a light on in my heart. God had been there all along, never giving up on me, even when I had not yet learned to look to him and his Son. I looked around at the angel faces of the Filipinos and finally understood: by sharing the light of the gospel, we are preparing ourselves and others to go home together.
We all trusted God enough to leave his presence, to leave his light and warmth for this world, so why shouldn’t we trust him now? When we trust God enough to step into the darkness, he will not fail us or forsake us. He will put angels in our path (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88). Those experiences that at first seem so dark and frightening may end up being our most cherished ones. No situation is truly dark when we keep our focus on the source of all light: Jesus Christ.
Listen to “Lead, Kindly Light” by John Newman.
Source: LDS Hymnal
—Laura Fuchs, Mormon Insights Contributor
FEATURE IMAGE BY DMITRY BAYER
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