Edified by the Spirit

“Edified by the Spirit,” Liahona, Sept. 1999, 48

Edified by the Spirit

My first experience as an institute teacher was a disaster. I had taken an entire week to prepare my lesson. But before class began, I forgot many of the things I wanted to say, and my one-hour lesson lasted only 30 minutes.

When the branch president called me to be an institute teacher in the Fatima Branch, Joinville Brazil Stake, I felt uncertain about my abilities. But I did not want to refuse the call to serve. So I prepared myself by studying the scriptures and praying to Heavenly Father for help with my new challenge. But after that first class I wondered if I was cut out to be an institute teacher.

However, despite the discouragement I felt, a voice within me insisted, “Don’t give up.” So I again immersed myself in the scriptures, fasted, and prayed for help to overcome my inadequacies.

When the hour of the second class arrived, my anxiety about teaching had not abated. I wondered why I didn’t feel the comforting influence of the Holy Ghost. I welcomed everyone, and the class sang an opening hymn. During the hymn, a battle raged within me. Would I be able to perform my duties as a teacher? Would the Lord magnify my abilities? Would the students be edified by the Spirit? At the peak of my insecurity, I cried out in my heart: O God, where art Thou? I need Thy help.

A class member offered the prayer, and I arose to begin the class. As I spoke, I felt the Spirit and immediately experienced a transformation within myself—I no longer felt nervous, my voice became calm, and the words flowed from my mouth. I was able to remember everything I had prepared.

When class ended, I felt happy with how the lesson had gone and grateful to Heavenly Father for His help. I could not stop thanking Him.

I have learned that by the Spirit all members of a class can be edified. When we accept callings and persevere in spite of difficulties, we are not alone in our efforts.

Illustrated by Sheri Lynn Boyer Doty