We Should Not Have Come Here

They have been tracting for a couple of hours in Armenian apartments in Glendale, CA. Mostly, they have heard, “No speak English,” or “We are first Christian. We know the God. We know the Jesus. We know everything.” They are close to lunch when they knock a door that probably has no one home–the shades are drawn, and everything is dark. The young man and Elder Judd are about to turn away when the door suddenly opens. A heavyset woman in her sixties or seventies stands in a darkened doorway with a tissue in hand.

“Oh, hello,” says the young man stepping back toward her.

“We’re ministers of Jesus Christ,” says Elder Judd.

“I am Nazani. Come,” she says, waving them in. She motions to a patterned, light red couch, and they sit.

She sits in an easy chair and wipes tearful eyes with a tissue.

“I’m Elder Judd,” says the man’s companion. “This is Elder Laws. We’re missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ, and we’re in the neighborhood sharing a message about Jesus Christ. You said your name is Nazani?”

“Yes. I am Nazani,” she says.

“Do you have other family here?”

She shakes her head. “No.”

The room falls quiet. Elder Judd stirs, then says, “Are you from Armenia?”

She nods. “Yes.”

“Did you come to America by yourself?”

“No,” she says. She blows her nose and wipes her eyes again. “I come with my husband and my son and my son’s wife seven years ago. My husband died of heart attack two years after we get here.”

“Your son doesn’t live with you, I guess,” says the young man.

She shakes her head. “My son’s wife two blocks over. My son die six months ago.”

“Oh wow,” says the young man. “I’m really sorry. You’ve been through a lot.”

Tears flow freely. “My son had two children.”

“That’s really terrible,” says Elder Judd. “Part of what we share is how Jesus Christ offers the promise of eternal life and the chance to live with our loved ones again. Do you believe in God?”

She gazes away from them, wiping her eyes. “My son became a drug dealer here. We should not have come here.”

The missionaries are quiet. The young man focuses intently, feeling that the Lord has led them here today specifically as an answer to her prayers and suffering.

“Your son was a drug dealer?” Elder Judd says.

She nods and looks down, wiping her eyes again. “I tell him all the time, ‘This is not what you should do. You have wife. You have family. You have me.’ But he is making much money and buying things for his family and he say that it is all safe and no problem. And then one day, they shoot him in chest and he is gone and he leave wife and two children.”

“We are so sorry for your loss,” says the young man. “And I believe that the Lord knows exactly what you have suffered. What your daughter in law has suffered. And your grandchildren. I believe He sent us here today.”

She gazes at the darkened shades and acts as though she has not heard them. “I do not leave my apartment since he die. I stay here with shades closed. I don’t know what to do.”

“Our Heavenly Father loves you and your family very much,” says Elder Judd. “He is loving, wise, kind, and perfect. Because He loves us, He has a plan for us to help us return to live with Him. The most important part of this plan is Jesus Christ. How do you feel about Jesus Christ?”

She looks down again and shrugs. “I do not know why we come here. I do not know why my son become drug dealer. I wish we never come here. I cannot go home. I do not want to be here.”

Elder Judd looks at the young man. He looks closely at her. “Would it help you at all to talk more about Jesus?”

She shakes her head. “I do not go to church. I do not go anywhere. I sit in here. In the dark.”

The young missionary nods. “Is there anything at all we can help you with? Do you need dishes done? Or anything cleaned?” She shakes her head. “Would you like us to help get a counselor in touch with you?” She shakes her head. “Can we say a prayer with you before we go?”

She shrugs and says, “Sure.”

When they are back outside, Elder Judd says, “I thought for sure the Lord sent us there to help her.”

“Me, too,” says the young man. “I guess He probably did. I guess she’s too broken right now. I have no idea how she is getting herself out of that.”

“You mind going to lunch a bit early?” says Elder Judd.

“No, I don’t mind. Why?”

“I can’t really talk to anyone after that. Not for a while. Just want to eat and let that go.”

“Yeah, I get it.”

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