~by Victoria

This is an adaptation of a talk that Victoria gave in her local ward congregation (a congregation of young single adults) before beginning her service as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As you will read below, Victoria joined the Church two years ago, and now she is teaching others about it. If you are curious to know more about the Church, see https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/comeuntochrist

I am overjoyed to say that I am about to leave on my mission to serve our
Savior, Jesus Christ. I could not be here without all of the love, kindness, and support of so many people, and the way you inspire me to be better through the strength of your characters and testimony.

I have wanted to be a missionary since I was investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Less than two years ago, I was blessed to be confirmed a member of the Church, and since then, my life has never been the same. Such a transformation is something I could never have predicted, and has changed the course of my life in eternally beautiful and incredible ways, as well as just making every day a thousand times more sweet and meaningful and fulfilling. Life with and without the Gospel of Jesus Christ is starkly different. So to everyone, my friends and family all over, thank you, because you have been an instrumental part of that exponential increase of joy in my life. I know that watching someone
change and choose a new path can be difficult, so for those especially who knew me before and still love me today and are so so supportive, thank you.

As a matter of fact, for all of us, throughout life, we are met with the unexpected, whether it is for me, joining a new church and then serving a mission for that church, or unexpected changes, losses, or successes, and all of these things can throw us if we do not have an eternal perspective only gained through faith. Psalm 61:2, says, “When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” When in the midst of trials, or difficulty like experiencing a global pandemic and mourning the loss of so many people and moments, I am so grateful to know that I trust in Christ as my rock in the midst of life’s ever raging storms.

Learning to trust in the Lord and His plan can be a difficult journey full of humbling experiences. But Christ assures us in Matthew 11:30 that “His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” All we need to do is be willing to take it upon ourselves, to desire to become more like our Savior, and to begin taking steps, no matter how small, towards Him. As Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “if you trust the Lord and obey Him, His hand shall be over you, He will help you achieve the great potential He sees in you, and He will help you to see the end from the beginning.” In order to follow Christ, we have to first believe that He is, trust that He can heal our wounds, and strive to
emulate His example by letting God prevail in our lives.

First, to trust in the Lord, we must have faith that He is. Having faith does not need to be a complicated process, we simply need to give space to believe, even, as Alma says in chapter 32 of the Book of Mormon, a seed of faith, just giving place that the word of God could be true, and allowing that seed to grow within you as you nourish it. For me, this is the story of my
conversion. I did not believe in Christ before I found this church, and I did not have a real desire to, either. It was not until I opened my heart and humbled myself, allowing myself to be teachable, to believe that I could be wrong and to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit, that I could plant my mustard seed of faith that has now grown into a small tree. Now, I could never think to deny Christ.

Developing faith in Christ, even just a mustard seed worth, unlocks the
power of God in our lives. As the prophet Moroni says in the Book of Mormon, God “worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men.” In Alma 32:27 it says “behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle
of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” The Lord does not ask for our faith to be perfect, He simply asks us to try to believe, and by the power of that effort, His
work is manifest in our life.

Second, we will all make mistakes along the path of life, so to trust in the Lord means to trust that He can heal our wounds, that He can love us despite our many imperfections, and that salvation is possible in and through Jesus Christ, essentially to trust that we are redeemable, and
worth redeeming. I remember as an investigator in the Church, I often felt like I could not be good enough to be a member, I saw all those around me as perfect, and myself in all my sins and imperfections.

A hymn that I love says, “Come ye sinners, poor and needy, bruised and broken by the fall. Jesus ready, stands to save you, full of pardoning love for all. He is able, He is able, He is able, doubt no more.” None of us are perfect, but there is one who sacrificed Himself in His perfect glory to allow us to be freed from every mistake. However, it was then that I realized, as Elder Gerrit W. Gong highlighted in his recent General Conference talk, that there is room for all in Christ’s Inn, or His Church, and we are not meant to come perfect, but rather to come as we are. Or as Elder Renlund says, quoting from a mother of a convert in the Church, “the Church is like a big hospital and we are all sick in our own way.’” No member of this church is yet perfect, we are all sinners climbing the paths of repentance and singing the song of great redeeming love together. Through thinking like this, I realized it is okay to come to Christ broken, in need of repairs, and actually, this is exactly how we should come to Christ, for as it says in Isaiah 53:5 and Mosiah 14:5, “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his
stripes we are healed.” Indeed, I have learned in my life that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is not only to heal us from sins and return us to who we were, but to change us into new and better people through repentance. The Atonement is part of God’s plan for each of us, not just because God knew we would make mistakes, but because He knew those mistakes were vital to our progression. In Ether 12:27 it says, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” Our weaknesses, our very sins and trials and challenges are all a part of God’s plan for us, to help us to grow, for if we were perfect, we would have no need for a Savior, if we were perfect, none of us would be here. Sometimes our greatest trials, the very sins and weaknesses that bring us to our knees begging for forgiveness, later help us to minister and have compassion on our brothers and sisters. We become the hands and feet of the Savior, being able to better empathize and love one another as He does. All by the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our greatest shame can change into the foundation of an unshakable testimony and love for the Gospel and the Savior.

Finally, we must follow Christ by learning to become like Him, by using our agency, or ability to choose, to follow God’s plan for us. Christ is our greatest exemplar in this matter, for He knew the end from the beginning and still He chose to allow His will to be swallowed up in the will of the Father, to atone for the sins of all mankind and think not of His own self. For “The
Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19), for “I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning” (3 Ne. 11:11). Furthermore, as our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson said, “only by aligning our wills with God’s is full happiness to be found. Anything less results in a lesser portion (see Alma 12:10–11).” So, how can we better follow Christ’s example and truly align our will with God’s, trusting that His plan is better than our own, or President Russell M. Nelson would say, to “let God prevail” in our lives. As we have faith and repent, we
can better come to know the Savior, to draw nearer to Him, and to better Hear His voice in our lives. This allows us to know God’s will for us that we may follow it.

However, sometimes it may feel like despite our best efforts to seek the will of the Lord, we cannot discern His will. This is not by accident. At times, we have to make our own decisions, to use all that the Lord has taught us to find His will and to follow it, in a way, to show that we are growing into
independent, self-sufficient children who do not need to be constantly lectured in order to do the right thing. The lord provides us the gift of revelation, the scriptures and other tools to help us on the way. He never leaves us comfortless or directionless, and has provided His Holy Spirit to be our constant companion and guide in this life, and to send course corrections when we lose our way. Think of all the beautiful covenants we make with the Lord while on this earth, think of the beautiful temples in which those covenants are made in, as well as the blessings we receive,
inside or outside the temple, and the way all of those things help us remember Him, hear Him, heed Him, and most importantly: trust in Him. It can be difficult when we can’t see the end from the beginning, but we must always trust that there is one that does. And not if, but when we make a mistake, we can trust that through the healing and perfecting power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become not only whole again, but better than we were before. By learning about the Lord’s will for us and aligning our will with His through everyday actions of increasing our faith in Christ and His Atoning Sacrifice, we can learn to make everyday decisions that are
aligned with the will of God. This state, also referred to as “waiting on the Lord” was described by President Ballard and Elder Gong as a state of action, and even in Elder Gong’s talk, a state of holiness.

To me, this makes perfect sense: because having to seek out answers and make decisions for ourselves is a position where we learn to better hear the Savior’s voice in our lives as we strive to learn of His will. As Young Single Adults (YSAs), many of us are in this state of waiting on the Lord, perhaps hoping to get a job, an education, get married and start a family, or many other righteous goals, as well as determining our priorities with how much time we will devote to the Lord in our day to day. These decisions impact the rest of our lives. If we aren’t feeling guided or we feel certain blessings are not being fulfilled quick enough, it is vital to remember that the Lord knows the end from the beginning, and His wisdom is far greater than ours.
For me, I waited over a year to be baptized into the church, and during that time I would sometimes be sad as I watched friends go on temple trips or enjoy other similar blessings, feeling somewhat left out or left behind; it felt unfair. However, I later learned that that time would bless me in unforeseen ways and have prepared me to be a missionary and a compassionate friend, and have equipped me with a testimony I will never forsake.

In my life, I have come to many decisions where I did not feel a strong impression one way or the other, but had to first act in faith, even for large decisions like where I would attend college or how to make a mission possible in my life. I had to first put in the leg work myself, learn all I could, pray all I could, and seek counsel from trusted sources, until ultimately, I just had to make a decision and trust in His correcting influence to steer me right if I got it wrong.

Oftentimes, as (D&C 88:118) states, we must “seek learning even by study and also by faith.” In those moments when we feel we do not know the will of the Lord, let us give thanks that He is trusting us to make a decision, and let us trust Him that He will correct us in our mistakes.

And a word of caution, while the Lord will immediately correct us when we steer wrong, we have to be listening and be humble enough to accept those corrections. And when He tells us we have chosen well, that does not mean we will not face challenges along the way, because trial is an essential ingredient of growth. Trust in the revelations you have received and do not doubt when the winds begin to howl.

I would like to conclude by bearing my testimony that the Savior lives, that He loves us and that we are all children of God.

Yo sé que Jesucristo es amoroso, que Él es misericordioso, y
que Él es la cabeza de la iglesia. Jesucristo es el Hijo de Dios, y es nuestro Rey. Estoy agradecida por saber que soy una hija de Dios, y que Jesucristo es mi Salvador. Truly, the Savior loves each and every one of us and we all have a place in His Church. However bruised or broken we feel, however far, OR close to the path, each one of us can take daily steps to better align our will with His.