One night I was kneeling at my bed, asking Heavenly Father if He would help me have more faith, remembering a New Testament scripture where a disciple asked Jesus Christ to “increase our faith” (see Luke 17:5). I had no idea that soon after this prayer, I would face some of the hardest of trials in my life. I’m so grateful that I was already seeking to increase my faith in the Savior when those trials hit, because I don’t know how I would have survived them without my Heavenly Father’s help.
A few days after that prayer, I had a terrible accident where I almost lost my left hand and had to get all my fingers on that hand amputated. Obviously my life was never the same again. Even though I felt the love of my Heavenly Father and of my family and friends through the long process of surgeries and therapies, it was so hard.
One day after my doctor told me that I would have to receive physical therapy for months, I went home in tears and asked Heavenly Father, “How long will I have to endure this?” Immediately, it was as if a tender and clear voice told me, “You can’t progress without trials. You still need even more.”
I couldn’t believe that I had received an immediate response to my prayer. At that moment, I was determined to move forward in faith. I decided to resubmit my mission papers and serve God, despite my challenges. A few months later I received my mission call to the Guatemala Guatemala City South Mission! But getting to that point wasn’t easy either. It took a lot of bravery and courage to accept my circumstances, forget myself, and invite others to follow Christ.
My mission was wonderful. I learned to value the principles of the gospel even more, and I found confidence in myself to share my testimony and bring hope to many people who didn’t know where to find it. I felt my heart being changed by Heavenly Father. I had never experienced what it felt like to love total strangers and be willing to give everything I had for them without hesitation until now—walking day in and day out, rain or shine, my feet tired and sore.
When my mission ended, all those experiences helped me stay hopeful in the chaotic and superficial world back home. I returned home at a very difficult time for my family and my country. There were many political and economic problems, and many families were emigrating to other countries because of the lack of employment and education opportunities. I couldn’t believe that things had changed so much in such a short time, even within my own family. Some of my loved ones and friends had also passed away. I felt so overwhelmed with all the difficulties surrounding me.
One day, feeling discouraged, I took out my study notebook and began to write about the feelings in my heart. I thought of the many experiences I had had while serving others on my mission. Recalling those special experiences was exactly what I needed to lose myself even more in His work, to serve and continue to develop the gifts that He has blessed me with. That day a very special phrase that my mission president’s wife always repeated to us stood out to me: “You can do hard things.” I have tried to remember that continuously, including while learning to use a prosthetic hand and trying to live a normal life.
Throughout the adversity I’ve faced, my testimony has grown—especially my faith in miracles. Miracles happen if we set out to do something with determination, consistency, and faith. Those who believe in Heavenly Father can have always have hope in any circumstances.
I know that the trials in my earthly life will continue, but I shouldn’t fear because trials can bring us closer to Heavenly Father, who can help us know how to progress. My accident and every difficult challenge I’ve been through since remind me to turn Heavenly Father for help. And He has helped me change for the better. I am so glad I prayed for more faith, and I know through my trials, I have been able to serve Heavenly Father and get so much closer to Him. Despite how my life has been altered by my trials, I’m truly happy and I’m so thankful to have come so far with Heavenly Father’s help. I can’t wait for the day when I am resurrected—when I’m able to see Him again and tell Him, “Thank you! Thank you for humbling me, thank you for shaping me, thank you for ‘increasing my faith!’”