January 2023

“Connect,” For the Strength of Youth, Jan. 2023.


Tojonirina R.

17, Madagascar

young man

Photograph by Valisoa Rakoto

My name is Tojonirina from Antananarivo, Madagascar. I love listening to relaxing music, reading books, and playing basketball and soccer.

When I was eight, I chose to be baptized. As I was immersed in the water, I felt a special happiness that came from the Spirit. Shortly after my baptism, my mother passed away. I felt sad, depressed, and frustrated. No child should have to know how it feels to lose their mother.

However, three years later we went to the temple and were sealed as a family. The special feeling of the Spirit came back that day, and I felt that my mother was there by my side in the temple. I have faith that I will see her again someday.

I strive to always remember what I felt at the temple. I keep the Spirit with me by reading the scriptures and studying about the blessings of the temple. When worldly messages try to confuse me, I study the scriptures and trust in the words of prophets. They encourage me and strengthen my faith.