Fernando’s reading the Book of Mormon, and said he had to read 1 Nephi twice to understand it. He still wasn’t quite sure, but he decided to keep going, an when he got to 1 Nephi 11 (where Nephi explains the vision that’s in 1 Nephi 8), he was like, “I got it all right!” We taught him the Word of Wisdom, and he said he didn’t understand what was bad about coffee and black tea, but he could feel that it was the word of God. This week we taught him how the Church of Christ was lost and changed during the Great Apostasy, and how it was restored in 1820 , and he decided to set the goal of April 18 for baptism. But when he came to the stake center to watch Meet the Mormons on Friday, he truly received his answer. We were sitting in the movie with some other investigators, but when it was over, we found him and asked him what he thought. He said, “You young ladies have a lot of work ahead of you.” And we were like “…” haha because we weren’t exactly sure what he meant. “I AM getting baptized on April 18. I know now that this is what I’ve been looking for. I’m not confused and there is no doubt.”
I’m not confused, either. There is no room for doubt in me, either. I knew this church was true when I decided to come on a mission. Trust me I would not have left all y’all and everything I had going for me if I wouldn’t have known. But on the mission, my understanding of God’s plan for me and for every one of us has deepened and strengthened even more. I have been reminded that God knows me. I have been reminded of who God wants me to become.
I have learned that growth is painful and difficult; often we doubt ourselves—can I really do it? I’ve learned that growth is a choice. He will give us opportunities. We can seek out opportunities. But God doesn’t force anyone to grow. I have learned that when we seek and accept opportunities to grow, that is only the first step. Persevering is necessary. And our perseverance will yield many more fruits if we rely on him during the journey.
I want to inspire every one of you to accept these opportunities with joy. To seek these opportunities with confidence in yourself, in your Father in Heaven, and in your Salvador. Jess wrote me a couple months ago that the pain of growth is a good thing: “It's kind of like playing a sport and your muscles hurt and you can barely breathe, but that means you're doing it right, so it's miserable and wonderful at the same time. That's the challenge of a lot of the things we do and care about in life. They come with a little bit of pain and difficulty. Homesickness is hard because no one can see your homesick or sad or whatever is going on inside. So it's a kind of silent suffering. But that feeling of homesickness is a reminder that you are on your mission! That you have people to love! That you have family and friends and a wonderful life to come home to! If you think of it that way it would be worse to not be homesick, right? So maybe when you're feeling homesick, you can be like YES I'm homesick! Kind of how an athlete says, YES I can't breath because I'm running as hard as I can make my body run.” I thought that was pretty smart. So let’s accept the challenge to become better. In every aspect, but spiritually, above all.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.Matthew 6:33
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.” And President Hinckley, "You cannot afford to do anything that would place a curtain between you and the ministering of angels in your behalf." This next weekened is General Conference, and I invite you all to prepare! With lots of prayer and meditation, write down some questions you have and leave space for the answers. I know the Lord is aware of you and will help you recognize in what direction to go.