Awesome Fasting Experience in Italy
While living in Bolzano, a small city tucked between the beautiful Italian Alps, I had an amazing experience with fasting. There was a long time, older member who had fallen ill with terminal cancer. This man had lived an exceptional life full of service and love for his fellow man. He had lived a Christ-like life and been an example to many around him. It was sad and unfortunate that such an amazing individual would have such a trial in his life. The entire ward loved this man and their deepest desire was to receive a miracle that would spare this man his life.
This man received many priesthood blessings from his sons and church leaders asking fervently for increased health and strength, but then one day a suggestion was brought forward from the congregation that we should fast for this brother’s recovery. It was decided that for a period of two weeks the members of the ward would fast, one person or family each taking the responsibility for fasting for one day. This was a wonderful idea. The members of the church in Bolzano were all unified in this cause. Each day my thoughts fell upon the person for whom we were fasting and also upon the person who was sacrificing for their brother and friend. The day that my missionary colleague and I had volunteered to fast turned out to be a blistering hot day. But we were stalwart in our desire to fast and pray for our brother and friend who had given so much to serve his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My heart was continually filled with a silent prayer for this man. And it seemed that every spare moment that we rested from our proselyting work that day I couldn’t help but think about how I might be able to help this man who was in such great need of assistance. It was a very powerful experience to be so focused on helping someone else, and I could feel the love and compassion that the entire congregation had for this individual. We ended our fast after the 2 week period and left the rest up to the Lord.
Shortly thereafter I left Bolzano to go live in another city in Italy. But several months later I met up with my colleague who had served in Bolzano with me and he recounted the amazing story of how this man had stood up in front of the members of the church one Sunday and informed them all that his doctors had discovered that his cancer was in remission. It was a mystery to these medical experts as to what had exactly happened. Inexplicably this man’s cancer had gone away.
I was grateful to the Lord for letting me here the stunning conclusion to this story involving fasting. And I was especially grateful for the faith and prayers of all of the members of the church that carried such power and had helped save the life of such an inspiring man.
The Power and Effectiveness of Fasting
To be completely honest I can’t remember any particular stories that were “ensign worthy” about fasting. Never did I fast for someone to pop up out of the blue as a new investigator and say that they wanted to be baptized which later came to fruition. My experiences with fasting were more of experiences that everyone usually experiences with fasting. I do have a testimony of fasting. It works. It shows the Lord that we are willing to sacrifice a lot for an answer, or an extra need of strength. There were many times on the mission were I needed a boost of strength, and fasting and prayer did the trick. I remember a few times specifically where we had had bad weeks with teaching, and I didn’t have a lot of hope. In these times I would turn to fasting, prayer and scripture study. Every time, I would feel the extra strength and hope that I needed to get me through the challenges that I was going through. Fasting is also a way that one can gain a testimony of Jesus Christ and the truth. This is a huge principle that has helped me with my own testimony. I have had great experiences with prayer, but I feel that the moments where I was asking and desiring to know of the truthfulness of this gospel, my most firm answers came while I was fasting for the truth. I know that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ because of prayer and fasting, and I have felt the Holy Ghost bear testimony to me that Christ lives, and that this is His church- led by a living prophet of God. I hope that we can all fast and pray more fervently in our everyday lives to find the truth, and draw nearer to our loving Heavenly Father.