Friday, December 3, 2010

Someone Who Changed My Life

Written by Elder  Voss,   Dec. 3, 2010.

Someone Who Changed My Life—Kelly Mann

At the age of about 12, I began to get to know this man.  Our friendship started to grow as he became my Sunday School teacher, and then invited me one week on a fishing trip.  From that one experience, I began to love fishing and during the summer we would have fishing trips almost every weekend.  Throughout my high school years we became very close friends and shared a lot of great experiences. 

He had had a pretty rough life up till the point where he joined the church, and had many health problems as a result of car accidents and a stroke.  Some people might have felt broken and depressed after the kind of experiences he went through, but he was not.  His love and testimony of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and this gospel, was a light that shone through in everything that he was.  The strength and inspiration that I received from him buoyed me up through the struggle that I had, and kept me on the right track when I might otherwise have gone in other directions.

When I was 17, we went on an all night fishing trip to a favorite pond that we knew.  It was a great night.  We caught fish, and I remember us both being very happy and tired as we drove home.  

The next morning in church, I received a phone call from his wife saying that during the night he had passed away.  I struggled.  I had never experienced the death of someone who was that close to me, and at the time I literally felt like a huge piece of my life, of who I was, had been ripped away.  For a very long time, I felt utterly lost whenever I allowed myself to think about all the experiences we had together and the friendship we had built.  

Over time I began praying to Heavenly Father, asking to understand the reason or purpose behind him being taken back.  From those continued prayers, my study of the plan of salvation, and a series of experiences in the temple, I received a very strong impression that he had fulfilled the purpose that Heavenly Father had assigned him here and that he had another mission on the other side to fulfill.  

From these experiences the great thing that I have carried is gratitude.  Gratitude for the incredible example and influence that he was in my life, and for the sure knowledge of the plan of salvation and Heavenly Father’s love and purpose for us, that I was able to gain from him.

The gospel is true!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Miracle Was Me

Written by Sister Eve Hart 

Would it be egotistical to say my miracle was me?  It was.  My miracles are as numerous and as beautiful as the petals of a blooming sakura tree.  They included me, the way the Lord worked through me, and the people who have changed because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I was anti-social and had low self-esteem when I came to Japan.  I awoke from American dreams to the cement suburbs of Japan.  It was a depressing feeling.  I hoped in my heart that something would take me away from a land of no family, an unknown tongue, and a job that stretched me beyond my social limits.

Over time, I learned from my encounters with hardship and disappointment.  I read the scriptures and studied the language.  I wasn’t willing at first, but I was obedient to the sense of duty I felt to God.  I wanted to become better and be like those I saw around me.  I grasped for the love others had for their investigators.  It was through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that I found the desire to change and enough love for myself and others.

I learned to love, to work, to speak Japanese, to believe in myself and others, to trust in the Lord.

A land I first resented I feel anguished leaving behind.  The gospel of Jesus Christ and the people that have been refined by it have become the most important things in my life.
And I can even be social, on occasion.