While serving as a missionary in Mozambique (South-Eastern Africa), I met many people who had extraordinary faith. One such person is a convert named Ilda. She is a remarkable person who left an unforgettable impression on me.
Ilda was always one of the first people seated in the chapel on Sundays. As she waited for the meeting to begin, she would sit there with the most peaceful and light-filled smile I had ever seen.
I quickly noticed that this Sister also had the sightless gaze of the blind.
One day, my companion and I visited Sister Ilda. After we finished reading a chapter in the Book of Mormon with her, we asked her who had been walking her to Church. She didn’t live by many active members, so we were interested to know which member had so dutifully taken up the responsibility of helping this sweet Sister walk the 45-minute distance to Church (part of which was through undeveloped, jungle terrain).
Ilda replied, “No one walks with me to Church.”
We looked at each other in complete confusion and then said, “But if no one walks with you to Church…how are you able to make it on your own?”
Ilda beamed with her characteristicly knowing smile and responded, “Elders, I may not walk by the light of the Sun, but I can walk by the light of Christ.”
She continued, “I pay my tithing and I keep the commandments. And when I get ready to leave in the morning, I pray and ask God to lead me as I walk to Church. If there is a snake, a pit, or other obstacle in my path, he tells me how to go around it. He guides me as I walk to Church.”
Sister Ilda continued to be an active and faithful member. Before I left Mozambique, this sweet blind sister was called to be the Relief Society President. And I was overjoyed to learn that Sister Ilda recently had the opportunity to travel to the South Africa, Johannesburg Temple where this faith-filled woman was endowed with power from on High.
Someone might see this blind Sister and pity her lack of sight, but that is only because they do not understand. Sister Ilda sees far more than most. We may see with our eyes, but Ilda has learned to see by her faith.
Consider the teachings of Paul to the Saints:
“We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal… [In this life we are to] walk by faith, not by sight.”
If we, like Sister Ilda, learn to walk by the light of Christ, instead of merely by the light of the sun, then we too will see.
By Dustin Phelps