After growing up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in northern Colorado and completing a year of university study, I was blessed with the opportunity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a full-time missionary in Pernambuco, a state in the Northeast of Brazil. During my two years as a missionary, I had the sweet opportunity to see the influence that the teachings of Jesus Christ have on those who strive to live according to what they learn. While I witnessed the joy and peace that entered the lives of those who received the message of Restoration and Redemption, I also began to recognize God’s tender love and concern for the well-being of each and all of His children. I came to understand that there is not one of us that He does not love, and I saw that He wants to be involved in the daily details of our lives. During my missionary service for the Church of Jesus Christ, I deepened my conviction that the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly is God’s plan for the salvation of His children, and I came to know more clearly the great joy that comes from sharing and living the gospel.
Years after returning from Brazil, I haven’t had the same full-time opportunities to share my faith, but I continue to recognize the joy that receiving and applying God’s word brings to my life, whether in my graduate studies, teaching, or other personal pursuits. Despite the unpredictability of life, I’ve found good direction and understanding by studying the word of God, whether in the Bible, in the Book of Mormon, or from the mouth of God’s living prophet. In particular, I’ve always found special satisfaction in the words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, especially these verses:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:8-11)
I know that the Lord will never lead us into dead ends. When we put our trust in Him and follow where He leads, He will bless us to prosper just as surely as the rain causes the earth to bud. Everything I write here is based on what I’ve learned as I’ve studied the word of God, and I hope that, somewhere among the things that you read here, you’ll find some small word or reference to scripture that lifts your spirits, helps you to feel God’s love, or encourages you to do something positive. I know that with faith great things are possible, so I invite you to read and to share in the faith that sustains me from day to day.