Something I decided to do while on the mission was to look 5 feet in front of me.
That sounds stupid if you take it literally, but for me it always meant focusing on the most important things in the moment. At one point during my mission it was a struggle to not look too far ahead into the future, or outside of what I have been called to do. But I did it. With one year in my pocket and half a year to go, it was even harder because the end seems so much closer and more real than before. I started thinking about my family, about going back to college, about the food I'm was going to eat... and then I remembered... 5 feet in front of me.
Bonnie L. Oscarson said it perfectly in a General Conference address: "Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs." After reading this, I thought about all the people I still needed to help there, specifically the people RIGHT AROUND ME. So I told my companion we were going to contact our neighboring houses. In our walk to go contact, my companion stopped and said, "This door too?" and I just went with it, and we knocked on a yellow metal door right behind our house. A TON of little kids came running to see who was knocking, and we invited them to listen to a story about Jesus and prophets. They came out and we sat in the middle of the dirt road and taught all 15 children the first lesson. My companion knew exactly how to teach the rowdy kids so they would all understand, and would be interested.
During this lesson it was easy to look 5 feet in front of me.
We also found a young girl named Adelaida through a less-active member. This member helped place an elect soul 5 feet in front of us. The first time we talked with Adelaida she told us she wanted to go to a church, but was just confused about which one to go to. For a missionary, this is prime material, because we can answer that doubt with the first lesson of the Restoration. After the first lesson and an invite to pray to ask if the church was true, she asked us why we went through trials and sadness in our lives. For a missionary, this is also prime because we teach just that in the second lesson. I am so grateful we found this wonderful daughter of God.
My invitation to all of you is to look 5 feet in front of you. Bonnie L. Oscarson said in the same talk from October 2017:
"I can guarantee that there will always be someone at every Church meeting you attend who is lonely, who is going through challenges and needs a friend, or who feels like he or she doesn’t belong. You have something important to contribute to every meeting or activity, and the Lord desires for you to look around at your peers and then minister as He would."
Look around you and join the work force of the Lord. I promise that if you do this, you will receive the wonderful blessings and the joy of the missionary work of the Lord. No effort is lost in the eyes of God.
Sister Madsen served in the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission