Sunday, December 4, 2016

"When ye are in the service of your fellowman"

                                                Outside the Mission Office with our sign!

                                                        Charles E. Boice, Our "Daddy"

I am grateful for the focus on service this month through the church initiative, #LighttheWorld. The greatest example of service during my life has been my Father. He is 81 years old now and continues to look for ways to help those who are less fortunate, lonely or in need of aid. I remember when my dad was my stake president and suffered a heart attack at the young age of 42. I went to the hospital to visit him. He was really suffering in pain and with nausea and all the other after effects of a major heart attack. A man who had been excommunicated from the church came to visit him. After the man left, my father said, "I wish I could do more to help him." I have always remembered that because I marveled at how he could be suffering so much and yet thinking about somebody else and how he could help him. I have two brothers who suffer from problems with mental health and he has tirelessly helped them in every way he can almost everyday of his life. My brother Billy is almost 49 years old now and my Dad still continues to help him with love and patience. I don't know how he has done it. I know that when he and Linda lived in Sacramento, they had 8 or 9 people that they picked up for church every Sunday who would not have been able to attend otherwise. They bought a van so they could do this and other service.

                                        This man had the privilege of baptizing his wife and
                                            his two sons. They are now united in the gospel!

I remember widows coming to our home on Christmas day, babysitting the children of single mom's in our home and taking in a foster child. My Dad always took us to help at our stake's welfare project,the "Paper Project" in Modesto, CA where I grew up. It was always a drag, not very fun, but he always acted like it was the greatest thing in the world to do. He served valiantly as a bishop and a stake president and now is on the High Council of his stake at the age of 81. This is his fourth time in his life serving on the High Council. His patriarchal blessing says that he will be a strength to the stakes of Zion. That is definitely true! And he is still doing it! He is amazing to m

                                                         A few pics at Zone Conference!

The work in Chiclayo Peru continues to move forward. It is very slow, but it is moving forward. We had Zone Conference in November. I think it was the best one we have had. We were supposed to have a mission tour with a seventy, but it got canceled, so we were left scrambling to put together a Zone Conference. I feel that in our great need, the Lord blessed us with much greater help. We had felt for a long time the need to re-emphasize the family. I had had this message about the family in the back of my mind for a long time. Preach my Gospel says that we should focus on teaching families. I also felt the need to teach the missionaries how to teach the gospel in their families. So many of them are converts or come from less active families, so they have not had the example that I did growing up. We taught them the doctrine of the family and focused on the importance of family prayer and daily reading of the Book of Mormon to protect their families from the false teachings and doctrines of our day. (2 Nephi 28:7-9) We talked about the blessings in our family of holding family home evening, of teaching the gospel and giving love and support to each family member.

                                                   Sister Yucra will go home on Monday!

                                                                   Sister Butterfield
                                                     For thanksgiving, she wrote me a
                                                    of  note of thanks. It made my day!

My husband had the idea to contact some of the parents and have them share their feelings about the family through videos. We asked them several questions like: How have you seen the blessings of the family in your home? What have you done to teach your children the gospel in your home? How did you prepare your son/daughter to serve a mission? The responses were wonderful. The words and testimonies of the parents brought the spirit so much stronger into our conference and bore a second witness of the things we were teaching. It was beautiful! I feel I have been very lacking in sharing my gratitude to all the parents of our missionaries and of the support they give to their children and to our mission. We could not do this without their support! They are amazing and wonderful!

                                            Having a little coconut milk. The coconuts and
                                            mangos grow wild in Jaen. They taste amazing!

The Coconut Man

A missionary did one of the sweetest things for me the other day. In my office, I have a huge chart with the names of all the Latin missionaries in our mission (about 90 of them). On it we track the progress with English of all these missionaries. They have 25 modules (chapters) they are encouraged to complete. In order to take the CPIc test at the end of the mission this is required. For each module that they complete, we place a gold sticker on the chart. The missionaries love seeing their stickers accumulate on the chart. Then they receive a candy bar for each module they finish. So my husband came home from the office one day and he had a little mini chart with ten tasks to complete to learn Spanish and he had affixed ten stickers on it for the things I have accomplished in learning Spanish. There was also a little bag with some treats in it for me! So cute and so appreciated by me. It meant so much to have my efforts acknowledged and rewarded! These missionaries are so thoughtful.

                                                                  My own little chart! So cute1

When we go to visit rooms, we always take a plate of goodies with us for the missionaries. One day we visited a room and took a plate of brownies to four elders. Later we went to do some shopping. When we arrived home, I noticed that I had missed a call. When I called the elder back, he said, "Oh Sister Williams, I just called to tell you thank you for the brownies! They were so delicious!" I was so touched that he made that effort to express his appreciation. It meant a lot to me. It is like the story of the ten lepers. It is so nice when someone expresses their gratitude!

                                                             Visiting another room!

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to teach two lessons with two sisters. In between the lessons, we had some free time, so we stopped by to visit an elderly man named Alfredo. The sisters wanted to sing to him. When we entered, he and his wife were seated in their living room. They greeted us and thanked us for coming and then we sang two hymns for them. The last one was O My Father. When we had finished, Alfredo began to sob. He said that he had heard the word of God today and that he felt so much joy. He said, "We have so few times when we feel happiness. Thank you for coming and singing to us." It reminded me that very small and simple acts of service mean so much to the ones who are served. Even just saying thank you!

                                                    Our Stake President and his family.
                                            Their oldest son is serving a mission in Chile.

What touched me even more was the love and compassion of this couple's daughter-in-law. I don't even know her name, but she reminded me of Ruth in the Old Testament because of the love and compassion that she had for her father and mother-in-law. She is not a member of the church, so like Ruth, she has a different faith. She lives above Alfredo and his wife. She came in the door right after we had sat down. She came in quietly and hugged and kissed both of them. She sat down and listened for a few minutes, then, while we were singing, she got up and got a glass of water for each of them. Then she brought them a little napkin to wipe their mouths. When Alfredo started to cry, she tenderly removed his glassed and wiped the tears from his eyes. I could imagine the Savior doing that. As she did this, I noticed that she had tears running down her cheeks. What was she feeling? Had she felt the spirit? Had she felt the truth of the message of the hymn? I wondered about this in my thoughts. But now as I write this, I realize that these were tears of joy because of the joy that Alfredo felt. I think that she loves him so much and has seen him suffer so much, that she felt great joy for the joy that Alfredo he was feeling. What empathy! What a great example for me! I hope and wish that I could feel and exhibit that much love for my family members and especially for my in-laws.

                                                     Thanksgiving 2016. Last in Peru!

I love to watch the Bible videos. I love to see the acts of kindness and healing that the Savior did for all of those around Him. He truly "went about doing good." He is a perfect example of service for me and I want to be exactly like Him. I am grateful for this initiative by the church this December for us to have the opportunity to try and be like Him and share His light with the world. The way we do that is by giving service. The church has given us a theme each day and many ideas of small and simple things that we can do. It does not take much to brighten someone's day and to help others feel the love of the Savior in their lives. I hope that we will all make the effort to serve those around us this month!

                                                               Thanksgiving Feast

Today we attended a stake conference. The choir sang, "The First Noel." I felt the message through the spirit of the words and the beautiful spirit of those who were singing. I felt so much joy for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I never get tired of the story of the nativity. The other night I watched it on the Bible Videos three times and I cried every time. (I know at this point, my sons are not surprised!) I cried because it is so beautiful and so sacred and because I know it is true! The witness of its truthfulness has been manifest to me by the power of the Holy Ghost on too many occasions to count! I know that Jesus Christ lives and that this is His church. It has to be! How else could the organization of the church be so perfect! How else could the gospel be exactly the same in Peru as it is in the United States? I marveled about this today in our stake conference as everything was done the exact same as it is everywhere else in the world! This church and this work are a miracle. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true!

                                                     After almost 2 1/2 years in Peru, we
                                                       finally made it to Macchu Pichu!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

More Missionary Moments, Messages, and Memories

                                              A family Mark had the privilege to teach.

I know that my posts are getting farther and farther apart, but it is such a challenge to find the time to write! We just go from one event to another. This afternoon we had the privilege of teaching a lesson with the sisters to a very special woman named Thomasa. She is around 60 years of age and has been a widow for fourteen years. She has two children and six grand children. Her daughter and those two grand-kids live with her and she takes care of her them while her daughter works. She also takes care of her mother of 97 years of age who is pretty much bedridden. The first time I met her I was so amazed at all that she does for so many and was humbled by her willingness to serve.

                                           One of our Missionary's Mom sent us a cake mix.

Today was her final lesson as an investigator because she will be baptized on Saturday. She is looking forward to this opportunity to make covenants with the Lord and to having the blessings of the gospel in her life. As we talked to her today, it was very evident that she is converted to the gospel and that she is a sincere and humble person. She expressed her appreciation for all that she has learned and expressed her desire to continue learning more. Her family does not really understand what she is doing but have told her they will support her if this is what she wants and if it makes her happy. She assured them that it does and feels that her life has already changed for the better. It was such a great opportunity to feel the Spirit and know that she is pure and honest in heart. I hope I can attend her baptism. She has been prepared and chosen. I have learned a lot from her example.

                                            We attend district meetings every Wednesday!
                                                It's so fun to hang out with missionaries!

                                     My birthday gift from Edna. She keeps us going!


We also learned a great lesson from our "Employee of the House," Edna. In our mission we have a branch called Chachapoyas, (because it's in Chachapoyas). It is not in the boundaries of any stake so our mission is responsible for it. It is an eight hour drive from Chiclayo. About two months ago, a member of that branch, who is a recent convert, began having a mild heart attack. He was advised that he needed to go to a hospital that provided state medical care, so he was driven by ambulance to a hospital in Chiclayo, over eight hours. He had open heart surgery and stayed in the hospital for 30 days. The only way they would allow his wife to stay with him was if she slept in the hospital. So she slept on a little mat for 30 days.

When he was discharged, this couple could not go to Chachapoyas because the man had to have three follow up visits and the eight hour drive was too much for him. This newly baptized couple had no where to go. As my husband discussed this problem with one of his counselors, he had an idea. He would just pay someone to let them live in their house. Then he thought of our maid Edna. She has two children in the mission field now, is a widow and he thought that she could use the extra money. He told her about the situation and before he had even finished, she said without any hesitation that it would be fine for them to stay with her, but that she could not take any money for that. My husband reminded her that it was for thirty days! She said, "No problem." We drove to the hospital to pick the couple up and take them to Edna's home. When we came in, we found that she had moved out and prepared her own bedroom for them to stay in, so they would be more comfortable. She did not even know this couple, but was totally willing to sacrifice for and serve them.

                                           We ordered "Hawaiian" pizza at a new Italian
                                            Restaurant. It came with pineapple, peaches
                                                and marachino cherries! Very original!

Last month I had the opportunity to train the pensionistas in our mission. These are women who open their homes to the missionaries to feed them every day, three times a day, sometimes for years. I am constantly amazed at their willingness to serve and sacrifice. Some of them have been doing this for 15-20 years. I don't think I could ever do this. I am way too selfish. In one of the meetings, I was thanking the women for their service and said that I know it is a sacrifice of their time. One pensionista raised her hand and said, "But Sister Williams, you don't understand. It is such a great blessing for us to have the missionaries in our home. They bring the Spirit with them when they come and our families are blessed." We have learned a lot from the Peruvians about willingness to serve.

I went to a lesson with two sisters, one from Ecuador and one from Lima. We entered a humble home with cement floors and very little space. Peruvian homes are built right next to each other. They share walls that have no insulation. A lot of times they have very little privacy. This home had a huge window in the wall with their neighbor. The window was open and there was music blasting pretty loud. As we got ready to start the lesson, the sister from Lima went to the window and yelled, "Can you turn down the volume please? We're having a lesson!" I thought this sister was pretty bold to speak to a neighbor like that. Then she told me that the neighbor was a member of the church. That made me feel a little better. At least they understood what was going on. They did turn the music down!

                                                              "Cambios" or transfers.

The sister introduced me to the investigators. There was a 74 year old woman, her daughter-in-law and her granddaughter that we were teaching. Her son was also there. He was a less active member of the church. So I met this cute little 75 year old woman for the first time. We talked about our families and I told her that I have 13 grandchildren. She gasped in surprise and said that I didn't look like I was old enough to have 13 grandchildren. I said that I was and told her I had my 55th birthday two days before. Again she gasped and cried, "Oh, I didn't know!" like she had done a terrible thing in forgetting my birthday. She had already forgotten that she just met me two minutes before. It was so cute and pretty funny! Bless her heart, she treated us to a dessert she made us after the lesson. It was some kind of pudding, I guess, made from corn starch and milk. It was very sweet of her to make it for us. Many times when the people feed us, they give us food, but they don't eat with us. They just sit and watch us eat. That is very unfortunate when it turns out to be something that you don't like. I just eat very slowly so time runs out before it is all eaten!

                                                Enjoying lunch at Leadership Council

We do lots of role plays

                                                    "Us" on my 55th Birthday. My favorite
                                                     comment on Facebook was from Pam,
                                                          "Your last birthday in Peru!"

So much has happened in the last month and a half, but the highlight was to have Lisa and Hayden come to visit us! They were here from September 24th to the 29th and it was really fun to have them here. We only had about three days to do all the tourist stuff, so we packed in all that we could! They got to see the Pyramids of Tucume, the Central Market, The Sipan Musem, Pimentel Beach, Eten Beach and do some souvenir shopping in Monsefu. They got to taste Chica Morada, Huancaina and Picarrones! They loved every minute of it! The highlight for me was that they were here for my 55th birthday! It is not often I get to have my kids around for my birthday, so to have one of them here while I'm in Peru was quite a miracle. All of my children surprised me and came home for my 50th birthday, so Lisa was the only one around for my 50th and my 55th! She was excited about that. We ate at our favorite restaurant, 409 Grill, which has excellent food and then went to Chani's, a dessert place. The man who owns it, studied the culinary arts in New York City in the United States and the desserts are amazing! It's always a treat to go there!

                                   Lisa's face the first time she saw her Dad in over two years.

Picnic dinner on our patio with the new arrivals.

Saying goodbye is the hard part!

We get asked to speak at a lot of different events. Last month we spoke to two different wards about marriage. This month Mark was asked to speak at a Stake Youth Conference. They asked him to speak for one and a half hours! Mark did such an excellent job and is so good at keeping the youth's attention. He showed some different videos, had them do some role plays of how to do missionary work and bore his powerful testimony of many things. When we drove up to the church, these two little street urchins were playing in the dirt street next to the church. They had a little piece of blue cloth that they were pretending was a blanket and they were sleeping under it. Then they would get up and "wash" their hands in a mud puddle. They were so cute to watch. There are a lot of children in the world who have no idea what a yard or a grass lawn is, unless they go to an LDS church or a park, if there is one. They were thrilled when we gave them a coin and a little gem stone.

Cute little guys!

We are in the middle of interviews right now. It will take about five days of interviews for us to get to talk to all the missionaries. We talk to 28 in each day and it is pretty intense. The other day I had a really special experience. I asked a missionary to share with me something that he had learned in General Conference. He had really enjoyed a talk by Elder Nattress. Elder Nattress shared how his mother had read to them from the Book of Mormon everyday. His words had caused this missionary to reflect on all that his mother had taught him and all she had tried to do for him. He shared the scriptures in Alma 56:47-48 that tell how the stripling warriors rehearsed to Helaman that their mothers had taught them if they did not doubt that God would deliver them from the Lamanites.

                                            These Elders gave me flowers for my birthday!

In that moment, I suddenly had a memory of my mother reading Book of Mormon stories to me. She was the first person who shared the story of the Stripling Warriors with me. I had not thought about it for a long time, but she was the first person who really instilled in me a love for the Book of Mormon when I was only a young girl. After I had this thought, the Spirit said, "And look how that love has grown and grown throughout your life." I was really touched with gratitude for what my Mom had done for me. The love she instilled in me inspired me to read the Book of Mormon for myself and to find out if it was true.

                                             The "Sapo Guapo." A nickname first used by
                                                    Koko Head. The handsome Toad!

This is a park where we walk frequently.

The first time I read the Book of Mormon, I was 15 years old. I decided to read it during the summer when I had more time. I had the exact experience described in Alma 32. Each day as I read "the word began to swell within my breast" as I felt the Spirit very strongly each time that I read. The word began "to enlarge my soul," "to enlighten my understanding" and "to be delicious to me." (Alma 32:28) I found myself anxiously looking forward to that time each day when I could read the Book of Mormon. Needless to say, when I finished reading it I already knew it was true. The Spirit had told me it was true everyday, every time that I read. I have shared this story with many missionaries and many investigators and I always feel the same witness that it is true. My love has grown for this book each day as I have continued to study it and have tried to follow it for the last forty years. It is truly an amazing miracle. I feel so much gratitude for a faithful mother who diligently read me the stories of the Book of Mormon everyday. I am also grateful for a humble missionary who has gratitude and love for his mother.

Today I interviewed a missionary who is about to finish his mission. He will be returning home in 11 days. I asked him what he had learned from his mission. He told me many things: He has learned to really love and understand the power of the Book of Mormon, how to study the scriptures, how to get along with other people and how to really love other people, to have more patience with himself, to trust in God. He bore witness to me that he has seen miracles everyday. He also learned that as we grow closer to Christ, we become more like Him because he changes us and we develop and grow in charity. As Elder Bednar has said, "A mission is not the best two years of your life, but the best two years for your life." I felt this was so beautifully stated by this very young, but very faithful and wise missionary. I am 55 years old, but I can honestly say that this mission has changed my life. I will never be the same person I was and hopefully the changes have made me a better person. I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve and to grow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Saints of the Latter-Days!

                                          Our picnic stop on the way to Jaen. No rest stops.
                                           No grass or tables. We just stand while we eat.

This may sound a little weird, but there are two things that I really look forward to in Peru: Chocolate and owls! It has become a tradition on our road trips to Jaen to watch for a little city called "Chocolate".  I only noticed it a few months ago. We had only driven to Jaen at least 15 times before we were even aware that it existed! It is very unique. Every single business, cafe and restaurant in Chocolate is called "Chocolate". I have counted and there are 28 signs that say Chocolate something. The funny thing is that there are only about 28 people in this town. Okay, maybe 100, but it is tiny! One day we decided to stop, because there are also many signs that say "Vende Chocolate" or "Chocolate for sale". We stopped and asked if they really sold chocolate and they started pulling out all kinds of chocolate in all shapes and sizes. The lady said that she had a "factory" in the back and that she makes all the chocolate herself. The chocolate wasn't that good, but it was very interesting.

There are at least 6 Chocolate Cafes in Chocolate.

This is the really classic one. It is an abandoned,
falling apart building.

I just noticed on our last trip that just before you come into town, a few hundred yards before, there is a sigh that says "Chocolate Armageddon". Somebody in Chocolate has a sense of humor!

Zone leaders and Elders in Jaen. Sometimes the 
rooms look like a very nice garage.

A common sight on road trips. No space is ever
wasted in Peru!

Now about the owls. I have mentioned before that we have a whole flock of burrowing owls that live in our neighborhood and I have fallen in love with them! They are so adorable and fun to watch!

They peek up from over the sidewalk or from the bushes. It is amazing how they blend in with the surroundings. The way they hop around is adorable. These are one of the common birds that cause problems at construction sites because their burrows are in the ground. So now I have a little owl collection and some Elders that I mentioned it to have even contributed! It's fun!

My owl collection. They paint gourds and make 
owls out of them. They also carve them out of rock. 
I know no one cares about the
owls, but I do!

The house across the street is coming along, very
slowly. Sometimes the workers do not get paid,
so they stop working. It's hard to see, but there are
all kinds of sticks to support the second floor. They
are just getting ready to pour the cement for it.
Construction is very different here.

Hermanas teaching

We attend baptisms every Saturday. Of course, they
are always a highlight. This is why we are here!

This is a popular, famous park in Chiclayo called 
"Las Musas". We had a little date and walked 
around one night. It was our first time to see it in two years!
 The park has a dozen statues of Muses.
 This is the one that inspires knowledge.

Visiting another room in Olmos.

This is how some families travel, believe it or not!

This chicken got left behind! This is how chicken is transported.
No, this is not a refrigerated truck!

The baptism of this lady was pretty special. She 
lost one of her legs not too long ago and did not
have a lot of hope about life. She said that she felt
something special the minute the sister missionaries
walked in her door. The gospel has totally changed
her perspective about everything in life. She has
a new peace and hope that she never had before.
This is why we are here!

My husband really likes to take pictures of me
when I am eating and I really don't like it! I am
trying to smile and look happy in this picture.

Another great group of missionaries going home. 
It gets harder to say goodbye every change. We
grow to love these Elders so much.

The Sister Leaders with me at Leadership Counsel.

The cuy (quinea pig) eating machine! I don't think
he will ever eat it again. I got the Elders
to eat mine. I just couldn't do it. I have
a hard time eating meat that is so rubbery
 that you can't cut through it.

 If you want a McDonald's breakfast in Chiclayo,
then you have to make it yourself. This is my
healthy version of egg biscuits. They were
actually pretty tasty! Much better than cuy!

Many times when we visit rooms,
my husband ends up fixing something.
He is quite the handy man!

 Multi-Zone Conference role play in Jaen.
My husband always has to be a part of it!

They are all smiles on the way to the airport.

Zone Conference lunch in Jaen. 
Chinese food is actually
very popular in Peru.

Sweet Sister Cachi visiting from Bolivia.

We just finished up Multi-Zone Conference last week and we felt like it was a huge success. We felt the spirit in abundance and felt the great spirit of the missionaries. They are so amazing! They are literally the best young adults in the whole world! We constantly marvel at their dedication to the work and their desire to find the elect that have been prepared to receive the gospel. These missionaries literally see miracles on a regular basis. Not every day is perfect. Missionary work is tough. They suffer a lot of rejection, but they just keep going! Through diarrhea, parasites, ingrown toenails, pulled ligaments, painful feet and aching backs! They just keep going. I cannot believe what they are willing to endure sometimes. The sacrifices they make are great, but of course, the blessings in their lives are to phenomenal. 

Mark taught them about the significance of living in "the latter days". He taught us that we are in the "eleventh hour" (D&C 33:3) and that the Savior is coming at "midnight" (Matthew 25:6) Therefore, our responsibility to teach the gospel "this last time" (Jacob 5:70-71) is extremely urgent. I followed up with a discussion of D&C 133. It is an amazing section of the Doctrine and Covenants. We discussed the importance and responsibility of preaching the gospel and declaring repentance because Christ is coming! I love a quote in Preach my Gospel that says, "As you teach people to understand the Restoration of the fullness of the gospel, you "declare repentance." The missionaries do this every day! They do not need to stand on a street corner and "cry repentance." They simply need to teach that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored and that a living prophet gives us guidance about how we need to live.

My husband did such an outstanding job of teaching the missionaries. He has a gift for teaching by the Spirit with power and authority. The missionaries love to hear him teach! There is never a problem with missionaries not paying attention. They have such a great desire to learn and are like sponges that absorb every word! A wise leader once told us that the missionaries will listen and do whatever you tell them. You just have to tell them the right things to do. 

My husband shared this quote given by President Ezra T. Benson to the youth of the church. He said: 

"For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord...God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest and most valiant children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. That is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God. In all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it--you are a marked generation."

My husband asked me today what I learned from Multi-Zone Conference and I told him that it is how elect and chosen the missionaries really are. In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord says, "And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days. And they shall go forth and none shall stay them for I the Lord have commanded them." Those that "go forth" have been chosen by the Lord to be a voice of warning in these last days. I have a firm testimony of this from the experiences I have had the last two years.

It is always a great opportunity to spend this time with these fabulous missionaries. We love them so much! We role played teaching the Word of Wisdom, tested their knowledge of Preach my Gospel with a game, introduced a new booklet from the church about using technology in the mission and just had a great time! One missionary wrote me and said, "Well thanks for the Multi-Zone. It was amazing! I won't forget that moment." We feel the exact same way!

President Benson also said, "There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been so well organized." We are at war. As the faithful of the lord, we are all under attack constantly. I have felt the fiery darts of the adversary at various times of my life, but never like I have in the mission field. All I can say is that I know that Satan does not want us to succeed in the good work that we are doing. In the scriptures, we are told two very important things: In D&C 45:57, it teaches us, "For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived. . . shall abide the day." And Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:37, "And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived." Unfortunately, it seems that in our day most of us, including "latter-day saints" are taking the internet for our guide, rather than the Holy Spirit and the scriptures. Because of this, many are being deceived! It is so troubling to see the untruths and confusion that are being spread through modern technology and to see all those who accept them without searching the right sources.

We have a great responsibility to seek the Spirit, to search the scriptures and to flood the earth with truth and with our testimonies. We also have a living prophet on the earth to guide us in these troubled times. Why would we not give heed to his counsel? The counsel of prophets has been a blessing in my life and the life of my family. I am so thankful for the organization of the church, for its ordinances and the huge blessing they are to me and my family. I know that President Monson is the mouthpiece for Jesus Christ and that Christ leads and guides His church. I am so grateful to be a part of His church and His work. What a privilege it is to serve Him as a Latter-Day Saint!