21 years ago today, I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That decision changed the course of my life and made me a different person. February 4th, 1996 was the happiest day of my life.
I remember when my friend, Bryce (on my left in the photo), gave me a Book of Mormon and told me that I should read one chapter then pray to know if the book was true. At that time, I believed in God, but I believed in a God that was silent. I didn't know how or IF Heavenly Father would speak to me.
I started to read the book. Not just the chapter recommended by Bryce, but the whole book. When I finished the book, there was no doubt in my mind that the book was true and good. I did not need to ask God, for somehow I knew it in my heart.
I started going to church and loved the teachings...I decided to get baptized even though my family and others objected and called me crazy. My heart was sad and I felt I may lose my family and friends. But, the feelings inside my heart telling me that I had found the truth were too strong and I could not turn away. Doing what Heavenly Father wanted me to do seemed to be more important than anything else in the world.
That night, right before my baptism, my roommate left me alone to pray. I had never before that time asked Heavenly Father if the gospel was true or if I should get baptized. I simply felt it without having the need to ask. But, because of Jessica recommendation, I decided to ask Heavenly Father. With my baptism an hour away, turning back would not even be possible I thought. Why ask?
Nevertheless, I closed the door behind Jessica and knelt down and prayed. It was that night that I came to realize that God was real and that He was not silent. That He does speak to us. He spoke to me that night and confirmed to me that I had made the right decision to be baptized. The feeling I had in my heart was so amazing that I stayed on my knees for a long time...It was only when Jessica knocked on the door to say we needed to leave that I got up from my knees.
Ever since that day in 1996, Heavenly Father has spoken to me many times. He has asked me to do things, He has directed me, He has enlightened my mind, He has answered my questions many times. He speaks to me through the Holy Ghost.
President Packer said: "No one of us can survive in the world of today, much less in what it soon will become, without personal inspiration."
I hope each of you know that you have a Father in Heaven who loves you and who hears your prayers. He answers you when you pray in faith..."Ask and ye shall receive", He said. "Knock and it shall be opened unto you...for everyone that asketh receiveth."
Some of you may be discouraged. Maybe you have asked many times and didn't hear an answer. Don't give up, keep praying, keep asking...the answer will come in His own due time, but make sure you are listening.
Some of you may have lost your faith. I lost mine one day. Things were very hard and I had no strength left. I wanted to give up. I didn't know if God existed, or if He even cared. I used the last bit of energy I had to kneel down to pray...I said: "Heavenly Father, are you really there?" He was there, and He answered me even though I had a small seed of faith and that was all I could offer.
Please go to Him in prayer. Ask Him the questions you want answered...seek His help...seek His love...He is there, He is real, He is loving, forgiving and kind.