Martin Van Ginkel and Carl Brouwer were both sixteen years old. With a lot of apprehension, they arrived at our flat at 9:30 am. Both were in white shirts and ties, and other than their hair being a tad long, looked every bit a missionary. Both were fine young men with budding testimonies of the gospel.
Today we have many opportunities to welcome Zorams into our lives. There is the new convert joining the Church, the new family moving into the ward, the new spouse to a sibling. There are always new hurts to heal and actions to be overlooked. We are both Nephi and Zoram in our day-to-day relationships—willing to include others and also being willing to be included—both to love and to be loved, to be loyal and trustworthy.
Mandy’s eighteenth birthday started with quite the excitement-–an earth quake at about 3:00 am. It ended up raining all day, and with Elder Packer ill, I got a lot of reading and writing done. Mandy, and her good friend Tui Hutley, arrived in the evening with some fish and chips for our dinner. Mandy was excited as the zone leaders would arrive the next day to interview her for her baptism. She would be baptized in Nelson a few days later, as there was not a chapel in Westport.
The simple lesson taught to a young missionary in the MTC was a stepping-stone along the journey of understanding and testimony that continues today. My desire is to continue to do as Nephi directs, to strengthen my faith and trust in Jesus, and worship Him with all my might, mind, and strength–with my whole soul. Then with love, try to follow His teachings, for I know it is through Him that we are saved, "after all we can do."
Rarely was contention found in my home. My parents taught that contention and anger were wrong, that it showed a lack of respect, civility, and love for Heavenly Father's children. I was raised with the understanding that it was better to turn the other cheek, better to show kindness and love, than to take part in an angry exchange of words and actions. (Mosiah 4:14-15)
At the beginning of the conflict, the American Revolutionary Army stood with 20,000 men. However, by December 1776 the revolution was in trouble. Without a victory against the better trained and larger British army, the American army was being chased from town to town and morale was dropping. By the middle of December the numbers of men had dropped to about 2000, most of whom were in their teens.
She stated, “I was troubled a great deal after my marriage about religion. We belonged to the Methodist Church and had been married by a Methodist minister, but I didn’t feel satisfied with what that church taught. . . After our first baby came, I fretted more than ever. I was desirous that my baby should be brought up in the right church. . . . But I was not satisfied, so one night in my prayers, I asked the Lord to show me in some way if I belonged to the right church. That night I dreamed of seeing a lot of people being baptized in a way I had never seen before. . . . I was anxious the next day to learn which church baptized in that way. . . . I was very disappointed to learn that none of the churches baptized in that way, because I was sure that my dream was an answer to my prayer.”
“I must preach . . . unto this people, and declare the word . . . which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above the world. And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer . . . and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father” (Enos 1:26-27).
May each of us reexamine our own life and humbly strive to recognize our own need to repent and change our lives, and allow others the same forgiveness we desire for ourselves. May we treat each other with more kindness, respect, and civility. May we be a little more thoughtful, careful, and caring. May we revolutionize the world through love, friendship, and understanding.
The Bible tells us Noah was not successful in saving anyone but himself and his family. Perhaps not unlike missionaries today, who serve faithful missions in a wicked world, who do not find success in conversions, but who strengthen their own testimonies, thus saving themselves and their future family.