She received a Book of Mormon. Then she died...
3 weeks later. She was only 62. In my blog entry, I described her as "... a smiley person, [who] gave off a good vibe, kind of like a halo." That was May 29, 2009. She died unexpectedly in June 2009.
We had exchanged cards. I still have it on my desk. I recently rediscovered it while rummaging. I decided to Google her name to see if she had done anything online. I was startled to find her obituary and two notices of her passing in local religious publications. She had been a minister/pastor for over 20 years, and had graduated from a local theological seminary.
During our encounter she said to me that she wanted to read the Book of Mormon, which essentially was a request for one.
My mind races with thoughts of possibilities, the idea of God's foreknowledge of all things, and how we must acknowledge His hand in all things.
So there she was, three weeks prior to her unforeseen passing, not only willing, but desiring to read the Book of Mormon (I don't think she told me that just to be polite, after all, she said it before I offered her one), and the Lord somehow arranged for her to meet someone who was willing to offer her one and deliver it on the spot.
Who? Little ol' me? But I'm nobody special! Though no specific spiritual promptings were involved on my end, the Lord surely had His hand in this little coincidental meeting. There the Lord was, getting ready to "call her home", and I was possibly her last contact with the church, or her last opportunity to get a Book of Mormon "in time."
Obviously, not everyone accepts the gospel in this life. So, over the years, I've often thought about what will happen in the post-mortal Spirit World with the people to whom I've given material. Will they remember it? If they ask the missionaries in the Spirit World "How come no one told me about this?" * will the missionaries remind them of the material that I offered/gave them? Will reading the material (Book of Mormon, Gospel Principles, Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet, etc) in mortality help them in the Spirit World even if they didn't believe it here? (I think so.)
I suppose that some of them could be told "the Lord arranged for you to meet that guy so you could have something in writing about the restored fullness of the Gospel." I suppose that could serve to let someone know that the Lord knew about them individually, and sent (or arranged for) someone to meet them and give them a clue or hint.
I also suppose that some of them might even incredulously ask "That doofus? The LORD sent him?" To which the spirit-world missionaries might have to say: "Unfortunately, there just weren't enough LDS willing to share the gospel, so the Lord had to scrape the bottom of the barrel." They might even quote 1 Corinthians 1: 26-29
There aren't enough missionaries to contact all the people who the Lord wants contacted. Everyone needs to be some kind of missionary, or at least a "contacter."
* From the January 2009 Ensign, President Eyring's article:
Years ago I worked for a man in California. He hired me; he was kind to me; he seemed to regard me highly. I may have been the only Latter-day Saint he ever knew well. I don’t know all the reasons I found to wait for a better moment to talk with him about the gospel. I just remember my feeling of sorrow when I learned, after he had retired and I lived far away, that he and his wife had been killed in a late-night drive to their home in Carmel, California. He loved his wife. He loved his children. He had loved his parents. He loved his grandchildren, and he will love their children and will want to be with them forever.
Now, I don’t know how the crowds will be handled in the world to come. But I suppose that I will meet him, that he will look into my eyes, and that I will see in them the question: “Hal, you knew. Why didn’t you tell me?”
(Okay, I admit I made the title a bit sensational to draw people in. It's a common thing in the 'nacle, right?)