Well, to be honest not too much has happened since Thursday! Well, that’s not entirely true. A lot has happened! I got to go back and visit Blackburn for Gail’s baptism! That was great! I loved seeing everyone there! That saying is so true, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” In this case, I didn’t know quite what Blackburn had until I was gone. But I love that place as I love all the other places I have served. Much love to you in Blackburn!
This week, a lot has gone wrong to be honest. A lot has gone right, but a lot has gone wrong. If I were some of you at home, I would be wondering, “Why is he still out there? Why is he in England? Why isn’t he running or something? Why is he Mormon? Why does he put up with those hard things?” I would be wondering those amongst a million other questions. And so to be fair and to explain myself, I will answer all of those questions in one story, because all of those questions have one answer.
A little over 28 months ago, I had lost my faith in God. I didn’t believe. But, everything good that has happened in my life since then started even before that, with reading just a couple verses from the Book of Mormon.
It was Moroni Chapter 10, versus 4 and 5 (page 529). They read as follows:
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”
When I read this scripture, I took it mean that I could ask God and He would let me know through the spirit. I didn’t know what the Spirit was, but I prayed that night. Nothing happened. For the next 3 months (up to early February) I prayed every now and then with no noticeable answer or feeling or anything. Not only was I not receiving answers to my prayers, but everything was going downhill. It was my Senior year in High School. I wanted to break the state record, but an early season nagging knee injury prevented me from running the 800 until later in the season. Not only was track going poorly, but my patience was being tested daily by people at school wondering why I quit football and that I was injured anyways so that it was a bad decision. Furthermore, I had everyone and their mama trying to tell me where I should go to college. In my mind I knew Stanford was the better logical option over BYU. It had better diplomas, better weather, better books and desk and buildings. But in my heart, however, I felt that BYU was the best option for me. Though I knew BYU was the place for me, I tried fighting it for so long, simply because I wasn’t a mormon, and never intended to be. Especially if I wasn’t getting answers from God to know if it was right. Feeling like I would never get an answer, I stopped reading in the Book of Mormon and stopped praying for nearly a month. In short, I stopped believing.
Then one night in early March, everything changed. I was up late, around 3 AM doing a school project that was due the next morning. I had procrastinated and would be up all night just to finish it in time. As I worked on my project, however, I kept feeling this gut feeling to go and read the Book of Mormon. I kept ignoring it, realizing that I had a project to do. After about 15 minutes of constant feelings that I should go read the Book of Mormon, I did.
I went into my room, with everyone else in the house asleep and sat on my bed. I grabbed he Book of Mormon from the dresser and started reading it from a random spot in the book. As I read each and every word, I felt something happening. This feeling that I had never had before seemed to be filling me up. It started small, but as I read I felt more and more full. I started feeling like I was going crazy. For some reason that night I wanted to read as much as I could. With every page I turned I felt like I was getting closer to what I had been looking for. To this day, I do not remember what I read. But I do remember that after what seemed like 10 or 15 minutes I was on my knees, crying. I remember being confused as to why I was crying because I never cried! (I was supposed to be tough right?) I then looked at the clock. It was 5:50 in the morning. Somehow, someway, I had been reading for nearly three hours straight. All the while thinking it had only been 15 minutes.
As all this happened I felt to pray one final time. If I didn’t get a definite answer, I would give up and conclude that God did not answer prayers and that mormons were wrong. I knelt. I prayed. And I received an overwhelming witness, a sudden rush of understanding and enlightenment that I had never before had. In an instant, I knew that the entire Book of Mormon was correct and true. I knew that God answers prayers. I knew that He had been giving me answers the entire time, piece by piece or in other words, “line upon line, precept upon precept.” I knew that it was vital that I be baptised with the proper authority into Christ’s church. These things are true. This is how I came to know, for mysef, that this church is true.
When things are hard or when I feel weak; when I feel down or tired or discouraged. When I feel like giving up and going home, all I have to do is remember. Remember that night and the way that God answered me. Remember that because I know He loves me, I have reason to be cheerful. I have reason to smile! That is why I have the strength to be and stay happy. Simply because I found out for myself that God is there! Everything else followed.
Your turn! Go give it a go or share your story with a friend. It will help them, I promise it will.
I love you!