What Sacrifice Means To Me

Hello all! It has been a while so I thought that it would be good if I took this opportunity to share a few of my feelings about sacrifice with you. We have just finished a season remembering our progenitors and the sacrifices that they made during the Revolutionary War which ultimately lead to the formation of this great country. We also remembered the pioneers with their sacrifices that paved the way for the church that we cherish today. We are currently studying the early Christian Apostles and their sacrifices to spread The Gospel throughout their known world. Not too long ago we celebrated Easter when The Savior sacrificed His life for our salvation.

Sacrifice can mean many different things to different people. And we each sacrifice many different things for different causes. In church we may sacrifice time and devote talents to fulfill our callings. We may sacrifice time and money to go on a mission, or to support someone else that is on a mission. We also make sacrifices for our families.

As with the New Testament story of “The Widow’s Mite” we cannot judge a person’s offering by its size. What may be a monumental sacrifice for one person may be just a normal occurrence for another. Only God knows the heart of the giver, and how much it means to them.

Looking back on my life I can see many choices that I made, or sacrifices, to benefit others. That is what I see is the true measure of a sacrifice, the motivation. If an action is motivated by obligation, selfish thoughts, etc. it is not a true sacrifice. If it comes from a selfless place or love then it is a true offering.

The best example that I can think of from my life happened around the time of my son’s birth. At the time my family was living in Missouri. We moved there after I graduated from Snow College and was unsuccessful finding employment here in Sanpete. Becky’s parents live there and we had some hopes of better prospects over there, but nothing ever panned out. Eventually I took a job as a part time cashier at the “local” (half hour away) Walmart. It was good to have some sort of income, but with travel I did not see my family much. At the time I felt that I needed to sacrifice my time to provide money for my family – even though it was a horrible dead-end job and I hated every minute that I was there.

Within a few months of Cal’s arrival into this world it was apparent that he was going to have some major struggles just to stay alive. At about 3 months old he was admitted as a resident of a children’s hospital and as soon as possible he underwent open-heart surgery. When we found out the needs of our son I had some choices to make. I knew that with Cal’s medical issues we would need whatever money we could get, but I also knew that no matter what I needed to be with my family through this time of struggles. I decided to quit my job, but it was not because I hated it – I did it because I knew that my family needed my time more than we needed the money.

We spent over a month at that hospital, and I spent every night with my son in his room – with the exception of a few nights that my mother-in-law came up to give me some time with Becky. We pretty much devoted our whole lives at that time to watching over Cal and making sure that the decisions that his doctors were making were what was best for him. As we were there we saw several other children come and go, and most of them saw their families very little. Even though it was the hardest thing that we have done, we know that sacrificing out time and energy for him at that time was the best thing.

Even after he was well enough to leave the hospital, Becky and I spent most of our day caring for, especially feeding, him. It took a year from when he was born to when it was possible for me to enter into the workforce again. Over the last 6 years of having him in our lives I have had to make many decisions based on “what would be best for him?” or “what would be best for my family?” I have always found that as I put others first and sacrifice my selfish way of thinking, everything works out in the end.

I can bear you my testimony that God loves each one of us. I know for certain that everything that He does is motivated by that love. As we try to emulate His love in all our actions, no matter what it costs us personally, everything will work out in the end. I know that we will grow close to Him and this life will be a success.

Brother Calvin Zundel

What is Indexing

Happy New Year, 4th ward family. As temple and family history consultants, we want to put out some information each month to you as the 4th ward. This month, we will focus on indexing.

Some will ask, “What is indexing and why should we be indexing?” There is a great article in the December 2018 ensign about indexing. It tell us that “Indexing is a process that helps us organize that data contained in many kinds of records”. There are many kinds of records to choose from birth, death, immigration, military, deed, probate, and so on. Indexing makes records available and searchable. The indexing process now transforms the information into digital format, and searches that used to take hours, days or even years, now can be accomplished in seconds.

Millions of searchable names are added to Family Search through indexing efforts. It is the main source of new information added the system, ready to be utilized by the system. Maybe you have tried indexing in the past, but now it is so much easier, and there is an incredible array of help available online. You can choose the difficulty level that you want, and there is now what they call a “Quick batch” that can be completed in as little as 5 minutes when you don’t have much time, and are great for younger indexers. Our 9 and 8 year old granddaughters love to help index. It is a great project for all the family to be involved in. We have instituted an indexing challenge in our family this year.

Never has service been so easy or convenient. You can help build the kingdom as you serve at home, even in your pajamas. In just a few clicks of the computer mouse the blessings of temple and family history work can begin to flow into your life.

We as temple and family history consultants would love to be invited into your home to get you started. Give us a call and we would love to help with indexing or temple and family history work.  

Let us each put our “shoulder to the wheel and push along”.

 Angie Jorgensen

Families and Christ

Hello our beautiful ward family! We are so grateful to have moved to the Mt. Pleasant 4th Ward area in June!

We moved here from West Valley, UT. Before that we lived in California where Wes was learning Mandarin Chinese for the military. And before that we lived in different locations in West Valley, Midvale and Sandy. We have moved more than 10 times since getting married in 2002!

We are enjoying getting to know our new ward and neighborhood friends! We would like to introduce you to our family. Wes and I both grew up in Sandy, UT, but we didn’t meet each other until attending Snow College in 2000. We both feel very blessed to have found each other, and have enjoyed our lives together so far! Wes is currently a federal police officer. I have been a stay at home mom most of our married life, and I am so grateful for this blessing! It has allowed me to serve and help at the schools and in our neighborhoods.

We have four amazing children who are always teaching us new things and testing our patience! Bradley is almost 15. He loves to play the cello and is a very analytical thinker. He is always coming up with new ideas and questions that we can’t seem to grasp! Connor is 13 and is such a loving and positive person. He loves to read and is looking forward to high school so he can be in the drama program there! Halley is 10 and is our only girl. She loves to color and play the piano, and she is very organized and methodical in everything she does! Dallinis our baby. (Don’t tell him I said that.) He turned 8 in August, and seeing him get baptized was such a beautiful and special time for us. He loves to play with cars and transformers and dinosaurs of any sort. We love our children so much and tell all of them all the time that they are our favorites.

As we reflect on Christ, particularly at this time of year, we are so grateful for all that He has done for our family. We have truly felt the love of Christ in all the things we have accomplished and even through all the tough times we have gone through. HE IS THE SAVIOR AND REDEEMER OF ALL MANKIND. We know that He lived and suffered and died for us. One of the things I have been most grateful for throughout all my life is the knowledge I have that He suffered,not only for my sins, but for all the pain, suffering, stress, tears, and loneliness I have ever felt. One of my favorite words that describes the Savior is the Comforter. He can comfort and succor us through all our pains and sicknesses. (Alma 7:11-12)

We are thankful the Savior is part of our family and our lives. When we are doing what He asks of us, our family is blessed beyond measure. We can feel His love, and it strengthens our desire to serve Him and the people around us.

We wish you all a very wonderful and merry Christmas! May the light of the Savior shine in your lives and homes throughout this season and all year round!

Trisha Power

Learning Gratitude as a Family

Our topic this month is Gratitude. There is nothing on this earth that I am more grateful for than my family, so I will start with a brief introduction. We are the Johansen family, who moved here from Wyoming. Ben worked in the oil and gas industry for a long time so we have moved around quite a bit, from Rock Springs, Vernal, Arkansas, and Pinedale. Parkinson’s has changed our plans and brought us home to be near family. We both grew up (at least that’s what they say you do in High School) in Sanpete County. So, a Hawk and a Templar can get along! Bringing children into our family was a bit of a struggle but we were blessed with 3 boys and finally a daughter. Along the way Heavenly Father called one home and another one will forever be a child even as his body matures. It’s amazing how many wonderful things he teaches me. Our oldest son is serving his mission in Bogota, Colombia and loving it right now. Although, he says everyone feeds him rice and fried bananas. Our youngest is a teenage girl, so, you can guess how that’s going…but we love her dearly.

Gratitude can be a tricky thing. When things are going great it’s easy to be thankful. Blessings seem easy to identify when our situation is full of positivity, until we get so used to things being good that we start to forget who is blessing us. When times are tough, it’s sometimes a struggle to find the good things to be grateful for. It is so much easier to say why me, instead of thank you, Lord, for the refining process. Albeit, I have found when I feel things are at their lowest, it’s pretty easy to find joy when unexpected good things happen. So how do we find the right balance? How do we know we are thankful enough, in the high points of life when everything is going our way or at the bottom when we feel we are losing the fight with a trial? Can we find gratitude in every situation, even the toughest trials? I say yes we can.  In certain situations, my yes might come eventually, but it does come. I don’t think our Heavenly Father expects any one of us to always have a heart full of gratitude, without an occasional complaint. He knows that we will have times when things are just plain hard, times when we feel broken or lost. There are going to be times when we do question, why me or can you just pass this one on to someone else? Even Christ in the garden asked, is there not another way? He understands what it’s like for things to be tough. Christ completely understands how it feels. Tears and trials, were part of the plan, because they teach us to appreciate and long for smiles and laughter. They make us hope for happiness and gratitude.

I have had times in my life when I was not especially grateful for things that were going on around me. When it was hard to find something to say thank you for, but later I realized I wasn’t looking hard enough. I couldn’t see beyond the trial right in front of me. On the other side of the trial I see the blessings that my tears were hiding. Looking back always helps me catch things to be grateful for that I missed at the time. I see how prayers were answered for my benefit, even when they weren’t what I thought I wanted. I find that when I try to find something to be grateful for, even if it’s something minuscule it makes my day better. After all, we each have a Heavenly Father who loves us individually, and a brother who made all things possible for us. None of us are perfect but we can one day be, because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and that is enough to be grateful for every day.

Donnell Johansen

Eliason – Prophets

Hey everyone! We are Tyler, Shelby, Deklan (5), Myla (3), and Cohen (9mo) Eliason. We moved in to the ward this summer ALL THE WAY from 100N Mt Pleasant. We moved 2 blocks south in to the Finks Dorm at Wasatch Academy.

Tyler – I’m a Dorm Parent and a filmmaker. I run a commercial video business with a partner out of SLC. I love making movies, playing drums, and doing just about anything outdoors. I served a mission in northern Paraguay.

Shelby – Girls Volleyball Coach at Wasatch Academy. She played college Softball at Snow and Volleyball at Weber. She loves adventures of all kinds and loves being a mom! She was about to go on a mission…but then I married her!

Deklan – Loves riding his bike, fishing with Dad, watching movies and playing outside with his cousins.

Myla – Loves riding her bike, fishing with Dad, dressing fancy, and playing with her cousins.

Cohen – THE happiest, most content baby of all time.

We’re so happy to be here and have felt at home here in the ward since day one!

We were asked to write a little something about Prophets. We truly believe that God chose Joseph Smith to be the first prophet in this last dispensation. We are so blessed to live in a time when we are given direction from God’s mouthpiece today, Russell M. Nelson. We love and support him to the fullest. We anxiously await to hear what Heavenly Father has revealed to him when he addresses us in General Conference this month.

Mosiah 3:13 And the Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come, the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceedingly great joy, even as though he had already come among them.

2 Nephi 9:2 That he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.

Tyler & Shelby Eliason

Baptism of Fort Washakie Indians

Pioneer heritage is a great topic! As we study our ancestors we can see wonderful examples of Christ-like service and missionary work. The Zundel family has been a part of the LDS church since 1836 when my Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Johann Jakob  Zundel, was baptized. His son, Isaac Eberhard Zundel is one of my favorite ancestors to learn about. This is an excerpt from his biography written by Elizabeth S. Zundel Gibbs and Alice C. Harding found in “John Jacob Zundel Family Book”.

Isaac Zundel was chosen Bishop over the Shoshone Indians, with Alexander Hunsaker and Moroni Ward as counselors. The white men had learned the Indian language and could converse with them easily. Many of the Indians were now being baptized.

In the summer of 1880 a band of Indians from Fort Washakie came to the Indian farm on Bear River and requested to be baptized. It was not known who converted them, for at that time the Mormon Elders were not permitted to preach the gospel on the reservation. The Indians got permission to go on a hunt for their winter meat. Instead of going on the hunt, they traveled almost day and night, arriving on a Saturday afternoon to tell Isaac Zundel what they had come for. He and the missionaries killed a beef and took them several sacks of flour, which was a customary token of friendship. That evening they held outdoor meetings because the church house was not large enough for the group.

On Sunday afternoon they all assembled by the banks of the Bear River. After a short prayer meeting Bishop Zundel began by baptizing 30 people. Alex Hunsaker and Moroni Ward continued by baptizing 30 Indians apiece. Then 2 of them confirmed and 1 baptized until the ordinance work was completed on all 386 Indians. This was verified by Phebe Zundel Ward, the eldest daughter of Bishop Zundel. She goes on to say, “I can never begin to tell how we all felt. I never again expect to witness the heavenly spirit that was there. It seemed that the spirit of the Heavenly Lord was poured out in great abundance. It was wonderful. When all were baptized the Indians immediately broke camp and left for the reservation.”

Calvin Zundel

Covenant Reflections

Since being invited to write this article, I’ve spent some time considering what covenants means to me. It’s fitting that last month’s topic was on the Restoration, because understanding covenants begins by having an understanding of the Restoration.

My early understanding of the Restoration began during my mission on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Currently, there is a Visitors’ Center, restored homes, sculptures, and groomed paths at the Restoration Site in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. But during my time there the Visitors’ Center was not yet built, and only the sculptures alerted those passing by that the location marked something of significance. I remember the peace I felt when visiting the location, but it would be many years before I would grasp a deeper understanding of what the Restoration and making and keeping covenants means for me.

We enter into covenants through the power of the priesthood. Through the Restoration this is possible. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know that covenants are important because they demonstrate our commitment to God. For example, our foundational covenant is performed through baptism. This is when we promise to take upon us the name of Christ. We know that each Sunday we can renew this covenant by partaking of the Sacrament. Other covenants can be made in the temple, qualifying us to spending eternal life with Heavenly Father.

Because the priesthood is restored, we can make covenants with God and be deeply affected— we can pledge our commitment to take upon us the name of Christ, family relationships can continue beyond death, and ultimately we can qualify to return to God’s presence. The doctrine of the Restoration and the principles of making and keeping covenants brings me great peace. We are not alone. God’s power is on the Earth today, and through it we can show our willingness to be a disciple of Christ and embrace those tools (covenants) that will qualify us to return to live with Heavenly Father. Though I do not bear the priesthood, I can be affected by its power through the covenants it provides. That is empowering!

Kami Walker

Walker1

The Blessings of the Restoration

The restoration of the church and the true gospel of Jesus Christ has brought many gifts into my life, everything from Relief Society sisters to Priesthood blessings to a Patriarchal blessing to the temple. By far, the greatest gift I received was the sealing of my parents (both deceased) to each other and my sealing to them in the Manti Temple in 2017. That was easily one of the most profound spiritual experiences I’ve ever had. An immeasurable amount of light poured through me, through my two friends who served as proxies for my parents on that day in the sealing room, and through all the people who were present as witnesses–it was a palpable, awe-inspiring experience. Many tears of joy were shed, and Jesus infused all of us with an immense, remarkable amount of love.

In addition, the restoration has allowed me, a Jewish woman, to partake of the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ while continuing to embrace my genetic and cultural heritage. I see the gospel as an expansion of my spiritual path, not an “either-or.” I still celebrate Passover and other Jewish holidays–often with my LDS friends–as those holy days align with the gospel, I also can now fully embrace Christmas and the glory of Easter. I have learned that, through the restoration, there is room in this gospel and this church for everyone.

Alyssa Wolf

What the Atonement means to me

When I think of the Atonement I think of my personal conversion. I was raised in the church, but as many teenagers do, I stopped going to church at age 14. During the next 5 years my life went seriously downhill. But at one point I felt something missing in my life. As I started looking into friend’s churches, taking yoga classes, etc. someone close to me had an emotional crisis. He was an emotional wreck, and nothing anyone could say would console him. I remember the conversation that night well. Even though he was the one with the problem, I felt so lost. I wanted to help him, tell him it was going to be alright; but who was I to tell him something like that? What right did I have to comfort someone else when I wasn’t living up to my potential? As I pondered these questions I felt an overwhelming urge to tell my friend that the only way he would find peace was to bring his problem to the Lord.

I never found out whether my friend took my comment to heart, but I felt that was a turning point in my life. My feelings of inadequacy deepened as I went home, but I felt awe as well. It boggled my mind that with my life in shambles God could still use me to try and touch someone else’s, that I could still receive promptings from the Holy Ghost. That night I got on my knees and prayed the most heartfelt prayer I have ever said. The Spirit witnessed to me that The Church of Jesus Christ is true, and directed me how to cleanup my life. It wasn’t easy, but I got my life on track because I knew how much Jesus loved me. That is what the Atonement means to me. That Jesus loved me enough to die for me. That even though I am a sinner He still loves me, and has provided me a way to change – repent.

Calvin Zundel

Listening to the whisper of the Holy Ghost

Listening to the whisper of the Holy Ghost can bring comfort to others. A few years ago, we lost a very close friend and many of us traveled back East for his funeral. One of my friends was unable to attend, but her husband drove back with Roger and me. My friend was very nervous about her husband traveling. Since our friend had just died very suddenly, all she could think about was, “What if I lost my husband?

As we were driving, I had this strong feeling to text her and let her know that we would return her husband home to her safely. She quickly responded, “How did you know I needed to hear that right now? That little act calmed her fears.

Heavenly Father knows each of us and has given us a great gift–the Holy Ghost. We just need to listen.

Melissa Davis

It takes a ward/family …

Most people know about the accident that I had three and a half years ago. It had been around six months since the accident and I was asked an interesting question.  Alyssa Wolf and I were talking about it, and she asked me if I had learned anything from my experience. Aside from not riding a bike at night without a helmet, I told her that I had. Our ward is the most giving and charitable ward that I have ever been in. That’s saying a lot because we have been in three wards just in Mt. Pleasant. Our ward fed our family for two months while I was healing after I got home. I had many visitors. Angie Jorgensen brought me a bunch of videos to borrow and watch, which was great because sometimes the days were very long. Sue Johansen brought me a fan because we don’t have air conditioning. I was working at the Drive-In at the time and Molly Anderson and all the employees that I work with gave me part of their checks for the rest of the summer. There were countless others who visited me in the ICU, even when I was unconscious and I found out later that they had been there to see how I was doing. I know I will never be able to repay all that everyone did for me, and I am thankful for this opportunity to thank this wonderful ward. You are truly Christ-like. Sometimes it is hard to accept charity, but it was humbling and deeply appreciated.

Crystal Bailey

Sharing The Good News

While I was serving a mission up in Montana, I had the great privilege to meet a man by the name of Milo. He had been investigating the church for a while and when I got to the area he was able to share his story with me. He grew up in a polygamist colony down in Mexico, so he knew a lot about the church. However, he was part of a break-off group, and once he left the colony he never felt to find out more about the true church. He had many family members who had left the colony and joined the church. After much time, his nephews invited him to attend the YSA ward activities. Once he did, he slowly came to church and then took the discussions. Milo’s life was completely changed, and he came to know many things for himself and to know they were true. His most special experience was when he came to know that the prophet today is called of God.

Milo changed a lot; he knew the gospel was true and was changing him. He felt a desire to share it and to help be a good example to other family members and friends who were not members of the church. It was amazing to see how quickly he started to share the gospel and wanted his family to have that same joy and goodness he felt. He was the perfect example of taking the blessings we receive and sharing the good news of the gospel with others who don’t know it yet.

                                           Austin Ison

Missionary Christmas

As a sister missionary, 15 years ago, I was lucky enough to spend two Christmases on my mission. Surrounded by the splendor of Oregon at Christmas – famous for its Christmas tree and Holly Berry Farms; I reveled in the joy of the holiday season. But, as a missionary I wanted more. Even though my life was focused on studying and teaching about my Savior, Jesus Christ, I wanted to strengthen my personal relationship with Him. I felt impressed to read, Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage in its entirety during the month of December. This was an amazing experience! Elder Talmage wrote this book in the Salt Lake Temple, and the truth and spirit infused in it is profound. I enjoyed the experience so much and was so uplifted that I read it all again my second December in the field.

I am so happy that the book Jesus the Christ can be found for free in the Gospel Library App. I have read it a few times since my mission. I especially love to read it in December. I love my Savior! He has healed me spiritually, emotionally, and physically. He shows His love for me constantly with tender mercies. How blessed I am to be a member of His church! And how grateful I am for this beautiful season of love and giving where we can feel His presence more strongly as we celebrate His birth!

Becky Zundel

Reflections on Gratitude

When I think of Gratitude I think of the old saying “Gratitude is an Attitude”, which I definitely agree with. As I reflect on what I am most grateful for many of them were difficult times in my life. I am grateful that I was born with a spine deformity making me ineligible for military service which enabled me to serve a mission for the church instead. I am grateful for my son. Even with all his special needs he brings a joy and happiness into my life that I don’t know what I would do without it. I am grateful that I have moved around a lot, not that I want to move again, but I have found many places I dont want to live.

Over the last thirty years of my life I have put a lot of thought into what I would change in my past, if I had the power. I have come to realize that I would not change a moment of it; I would not do anything different. I am who I am because of what I have been through, and I am grateful for it all. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the trials and hardships I have faced, and I am grateful that God has gifted them to me – the good times and the tough ones.

I am most grateful for my wife. These last seven years we have spent together have been the best, and hardest, of my life. Becky is my rock. Her love helps me to get through anything. I don’t know who/what I would be without her. I look forward to many wonderful, and stretching years with her at my side.

Calvin Zundel

Testimony of Prophets

When I was investigating the church in the late 1990’s President Gordon B. Hinckley was the prophet. I felt an immediate trust in him when I watched General Conference. Even today, when I view videos his talks, his kind, wise, loving voice still inspires me to do the right, keep my covenants, and deepen my testimony. I can actually hear his voice in my mind at times; I always feel comforted when I think of him and remember his counsel. I trusted who he was (and who he is!) and the message he imparted; that was part of what led me to my baptism in December of 1998.

My first real introduction to President Thomas S. Monson was through one of his talks during an April General Conference. I remember clearly when he asked a question of the viewing audience. He looked straight into the camera and asked if any among us were lonely, if we were struggling, etc. He invited us all to “Come unto Christ.” I still reflect on that moment – I was, indeed, lonely at that time, and (of course) it seemed as though he were speaking directly to me. When I get down or discouraged, I still remember his invitation to “Come unto Christ,” and I pray to be open to the unconditional love and peace “which passeth all understanding.”

I think all of us have prophets and apostles with whom we connect most directly. For me, having been baptized in 1998, the only two prophets I’ve “known” in a direct way while still alive were/are Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson. Both hold a very dear place in my heart because of the good counsel and love they have extended to all of us and the world.

 Alyssa Wolf

Token of Grace

At many points during my mission I was given small tokens of grace by Heavenly Father. One point in particular was at a time when I felt like my testimony was at its lowest. Being on my mission I felt like the weight of the mantle I carried plus my questioning of the church, and the scriptures, was almost too much too bear. I felt like I couldn’t find my way.

This came about because before my mission I had never studied the scriptures in depth. On my mission that’s all I was doing. I couldn’t help but ask questions, and find specific things that boggled my mind. The troubling thing was that the answers weren’t always there. I always felt the spirit of the scriptures, and had always trusted in them – but my anxiety over a specific question had overcome me. What scared me the most was not feeling like I could offer anyone a genuine testimony. One Easter Sunday, in Sacrament meeting, I was fasting and praying to receive an answer. I wanted a specific answer to my question regarding the scriptures.

Instead, the Spirit instructed me to get out a pen and paper. Obediently, I found a pen and scrap of paper and started writing the words that came to my hand. I didn’t save the paper so I can’t remember exactly what I was specifically told, but it was to the effect of “Don’t trouble your heart any more with this question; it is not important at this time for you to know it. You need to get back to work and focus on the needs of the investigators and the less-active. Their questions are more important. Be calm and know that in this way, your question has been answered.”

An answer like that normally wouldn’t make me any calmer. However, I felt calm. I felt happy to continue on and not be troubled anymore. His grace in answering my question and calming my anxiety helped me through my mission and has helped me carry my testimony. I can rely on the small miracles I have witnessed in the past so I can be a disciple now. I can genuinely say that prayers are answered in better ways than we expect. I know this church is true and I know that Heavenly Father cares deeply for each of us. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Ashley Reid

Finding Faith

As a child, I always knew there was a God. I knew there was something or someone who was looking over me. Growing up in a home where religion or God was not talked about, I could still always feel His presence. However, I never knew what our Heavenly Father had prepared for me in life!

At the age of 15, my home life had deteriorated to nothing at all. There were drugs, and abuse abounded. I knew that there was something more in life, and I wanted out. I prayed and prayed to God that if He would elevate me from my current position in life, I would always try to serve him. One week before my 16th birthday, that prayer was answered. I was adopted by a family in Sandy, Utah. They took me in as one of their own children and saved my life. I was introduced to the church and quickly gained a testimony of its truthfulness. My life completely turned around. It was a miracle!

I know that all of this was possible because of faith! I knew even amidst all of the craziness of life that there was a God and he knew me. I don’t know how I knew. It was just something that I felt. If we put faith in our Heavenly Father and allow him to bless our lives, he will! All we need to do is ask in faith!

Andre Rainey

Freedom From Mistakes

I had an experience on my mission that I will never forget.  I was in the city of Dandenong, Australia. It was a cold and rainy day.  We had tracted all day and had not found much success so we looked forward to our dinner of fish and chips; they taste soBegging good in Australia.  We bought our meal wrapped in brown paper and went to sit down on a bench.  The warmth of the food and the smell made our mouth water with anticipation. Just as we were ready to eat a homeless man, smelling of alcohol and looking very hungry, came over to ask for money for food.  We had spent all of our money and told him so.  We also judged him as one who would spend the money for alcohol so we really did not want to give him any money even if we had any.  He left in a hurry looking embarrassed.  As we sat there, we both realized we could have given him our food!  We did not feel like eating our dinner after this and we got up and looked for him to give him our food.  But he was nowhere to be found.  I thought of the scripture that said people “entertain angels unawares” and felt we had been tested to see if we were truly the Lord’s disciples. As we went to people’s homes that night to teach them about the gospel, we did not feel like His representatives at all.  I will never forget the heart-felt prayers I said that night asking for forgiveness.  I vowed that night that if anyone ever asked me for money for food, I would give them food.  I was grateful for the experience I had a year later when I was visiting San Francisco with friends. A homeless man came BeggingAppleup to me, again smelling of alcohol, and asked for spare change for food.  I did not hesitate at all, even with his alcohol smell, but I immediately jumped at the chance to help him – I think this startled him. We went to a local convenience store and I bought him an apple and some cheese.  He was thankful for the food.  I was grateful for this opportunity to be free of the guilt I felt for that mistake I had made in Australia as a missionary.  Repentance is a great blessing and I am thankful for the gospel, which helps me to be free from the guilt that comes from making mistakes.

Sara Staker

Scripture Study

I like to get up early in the morning and study my scriptures. I find my mind is a lot more clear at that time, and I like starting my day off with something spiritual. I feel it helps my day go smoother, also. I can’t think of a specific incident while reading the scriptures that would be considered a big spiritual experience, but the scriptures seem to testify of their truthfulness over and over again to me. There’s an app I like to use called “My Daily Book of Mormon Devotional.” I also use “The Gospel Study Series,” by David J. Ridges. They really help me in my studying.

I try to read a conference talk after reading my scriptures also. A talk that has had an impact on me is Elder Holland’s talk “None Were With Him.” It’s probably my favorite. Another one that really helps me is Elder Christofferson’s talk on trials called “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten.” It’s a good one to listen to or read often.

I remember the first time I saw the “Praise to the Man” movie at the Legacy Theater. It was so powerful! I don’t think there was a dry eye there. It made my faith and testimony in Joseph Smith grow so much!

I have a testimony that I know if we read and study our scriptures and study the words of our prophet and apostles that they can help with the problems we our having in our daily lives.

Julie Pehrson

Personal Study

About 2 years ago, I was really struggling with some personal things going on in my life.  Prayer has always been difficult for me not because I didn’t believe in it I have just never had those great experiences you hear people talk about where they just felt the Savior’s arms around them while praying.  I have never experienced that.  But I knew that I needed to get some answers to some questions and help how to deal with the issues I was having.  I started for the first time really in my life being very diligent about praying and reading my scriptures every day.  I had never done it consistently I would pray here and there or read my scriptures here and there but never had been consistent every day.

As I began to study and pray, and not just read to get through it but really try to understand what I was reading, I couldn’t believe the difference of things that I was able to understand and actually retain or how something would jog my memory of another scripture, it was amazing!   For the first time in my life I finally completed the Book of Mormon!  And I actually had a desire to keep reading so then I read the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price too.  I couldn’t believe it, I had never been able to do that before but something had changed.  I don’t know if it was because I was earnestly trying and needing so much help from my Father in Heaven that I was able to do it but it was wonderful.  I have since slacked off again and I notice the difference, why I can’t keep on rolling is a question I am still wrestling with in my own head, but when I reflect back to that time and how I was really trying to study how the answers came so clear and prayers were answered I know it was because I was doing what needed to be done.  Although Heavenly Father and our Savior already know what we are dealing with it is our responsibility to go to them in prayer and to study and to ask for that help.  They are there and they are willing we just need to do our part, so as I have tried to apply that in my own personal study I have seen the blessings that come from it.  I am grateful that each day we get to start new.  I fail daily on so many levels but the knowledge that I can start again and just a little harder the next day keeps me going, and that is all that they expect of us is to just keep trying, never giving up.

I love the quote by Elder Jeffrey R Holland that says “Don’t you quit.  You keep walking, you keep trying there is help and happiness ahead.”  My testimony is simple of personal study, it works if we just keep trying and applying the principles that we learn while studying and the blessings are there we just need to ask.

Kristie Ison