Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tender Mercies from Heavenly Father (or "I Have No Faith in Coincidences - Part II")

On Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014, we had several experiences which remind me that Heavenly Father is directing and guiding the work in which we are engaged.

One of the great facts about our mission is that we mix about equal numbers of Indian missionaries with those from the United States. Church representatives work carefully and closely with the Indian government so that our missionaries may be in the country legally and lawfully. We are grateful for the visas which are granted.

Sometimes the process takes a bit longer than we would like. In December, we received a batch of visas for missionaries whose applications had been pending for several months. There were two additional groups of applications which continued to be pending with the Indian government. For several reasons, I have been concerned that we might see a hiatus in issuance of visas. Shortly before the first of the year I invited all of our missionaries as well as the members of the Church across the mission to join together on Fast Sunday in prayers for the issuance of the remaining visas and for calls to be extended to more foreign missionaries.

When I awoke this morning, I opened an email from Missionary Travel advising me that all pending visas applications, save one, had been granted. The one missing visa appears to be a simple oversight caused by the fact that we received so many in one group. Then, shortly after I arrived in the office, I received notice from the Missionary Department of the call of a new missionary to our mission. I expect other calls to follow shortly.

Just a few days after our united fast and prayers, the doors of the government opened and pending visa applications were granted.

Coincidence? I certainly do not think so.

Elder Ravi and Elder Coombs (Assistants) Senior couples and departing missionaries.

On that same Tuesday, we had our Departure Devotional for seven wonderful missionaries whose missions have finished. We invited each to share a spiritual experience. One related this story:

At the beginning of his mission he and his trainer contacted a man named Prem. They taught him several lessons, and encouraged him to read the Book of Mormon and attend Church. After a couple of weeks, Prem told them that he did not want to baptized. The lessons stopped. Our missionary was very discouraged.
Departing missionaries in the Mission Office

Then, as he neared the end of his mission, our Elder was transferred back to the same city. Recently while walking on the street with his new companion, the missionaries saw Prem. They called to him. Prem came to seem them. In the course of the conversation, Prem said he was ready to be baptized, and wanted the missionaries to again teach him.

Coincidence? I certainly do not think so.

As we were holding our departure devotional in the Whitefield Chapel (located adjacent to the new mission office), my two missionary assistants left the meeting and were gone for 20-30 minutes. When they returned, they both had big smiles on their faces. At an appropriate point, I asked them to share the cause of their happiness. One of them said: The spirit has been so wonderful in this meeting that we think it has spilled out onto the street. We just have been with a man who walked into the building and advised us that he has felt drawn into the building. He wanted to know how to join this Church. We taught him the Restoration portion of the discussions and have an appointment to teach him again tomorrow.

Coincidence? I certainly do not think so.

We love this work. We know it is Divinely inspired and directed. We are grateful for the tender mercies which permeate our efforts.


  1. Hello Berrett's! It's been fun to read about some of your experiences in India. There's nothing like missionary work - and there's certainly no other place quite like India. Keep up the great work. ~Arvid & Kelly

  2. President Berrett,
    Our son is one of the Elders that has just received his visa, and will be heading there on Feb.3, along with the other Elders. We are so grateful for your fast, and are thrilled for the prayers that have been answered. We have enjoyed reading your blog, and getting to know the areas that our son will be serving in. Thank you for all that you do. -Todd & Jodi Brimhall (Elder Trey Brimhall)