Learning to Be a Light to the World

    “Learning to Be a Light to the World,” New Era, July 2016, 37

    Learning to be a Light to the World

    Victor de Jesus Cruz Vargas lives in the Dominican Republic.

    candle and missionaries

    Photographs courtesy of Victor de Jesus Cruz Vargas

    I was born in the Dominican Republic and was raised in the Church. I grew up surrounded by great leaders who tried to help me follow the right path. I dreamed of serving a mission and helping people.

    Because my father moved to the United States to try to find a better life for us, my mother raised my sisters and me alone. Sometimes I felt alone, but I never was because I could talk about any difficulties in my life with my Church leaders.

    When we moved to the United States, great trials began for me. We attended a small branch and I had great leaders who wanted to help me, but my school friends tried to pull me off the gospel path. Unfortunately, I began to speak to my mother in an unkind way and rarely listened to her counsel.

    I would go to church every Sunday, but I really didn’t have the desire to go, and I didn’t know if I wanted to go on a mission anymore.

    One morning I opened the Book of Mormon, and it opened exactly to the page of my favorite scripture, 3 Nephi 12:14–16:

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

    “Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;

    “Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

    It gave me great joy to read this because it helped me remember what I learned in seminary and how marvelous the plan of our Father is. So I decided to try to be a light to the world.

    I invited two cousins to come to church. One was less active, and he became active. The other was not a member, and I was able to baptize him.

    A year later I received my mission call to serve in California, USA. As I served, I saw without a doubt that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. As I helped people, my testimony grew more and more, and every time I read my scriptures, I always recited the passage in 3 Nephi to be a light unto the world.