“Firm Foundations,” New Era, January 2018
My ping-pong match with my friend Erfrey was interrupted by three knocks on his front door. I heard an unfamiliar voice with a strange accent of Hiligaynon, our native dialect.
Erfrey rushed toward the door, apparently expecting them. “Come on!” he said to me. “I want you to meet my friends!”
They were wearing white shirts and ties and had come to teach Erfrey’s younger brother to prepare him for baptism. I spoke to them in English, and they were impressed enough to ask if I would interpret during their discussion with Erfrey’s brother.
I thought my role would just be the passive interpreter. But I became an active participant as their words took root in my heart. I had an unexplainable feeling, a lingering happy feeling I had never experienced before.
After that experience, I asked the missionaries to teach my family. But when they came, my parents took a stand that a Mormon would never have a place in our family.
I wanted to be baptized, so I put my faith to work. I fasted and prayed. I strived to be an example to them.
Two years later, through my own simple faith and the loving support of Heavenly Father, my father’s heart was finally softened and he signed my baptismal consent. I am happy to say that my testimony of the restored gospel is my most prized possession.
Arnel M., Negros Occidental, Philippines
In eighth grade I was in a book club. Each month we met to discuss a book, and at the end of the year we had a competition to see whose team knew the most about each book. One rule we always upheld was to read only clean books.
One month, when I started reading the next book, I felt like it wasn’t clean. But I needed to read it if I wanted my team to win the competition. I couldn’t let them down. A few chapters later, the book got worse. Finally, I put it down. I knew that I couldn’t read it—my spiritual cleanliness was worth more than winning a competition.
But I was so worried about telling my team. The night before our club’s meeting, I prayed to Heavenly Father to help me have courage to face them.
The next day I was really worried. I sat down with my team. Once the meeting started, I was about to explain to everyone that I couldn’t read the book. But before I could, the leader got up and apologized. She explained that she hadn’t read the book before putting it on our booklist and didn’t realize what was in it. She said she would take it off the list. When I got home, I thanked Heavenly Father.
I know that when we uphold our standards, the Lord watches over us. He doesn’t always take care of the situation as He did for me, but He will always give us the courage to make good decisions.
Ashleigh A., Utah, USA
I’ve always found it difficult to adjust to new situations. That’s why I was nervous to leave Primary and start Young Women. At first the schedule was strange to me. Young Women was a totally different environment—no singing time, no sharing time. We also had Mutual during the week.
I just wanted to fit in and feel comfortable, so I gave my new schedule a chance. I prayed a lot, and I began to adjust to the new routine and bond with the other young women.
As the weeks went by, I started to realize why I was in the Young Women program. I was learning more about the gospel, I was getting more opportunities to have a little goodness each week, and I was able to go to the temple and feel the Lord’s Spirit in His house.
Now I am very thankful for Young Women. I’m happy I gave this change a chance and that my Heavenly Father helped me do so.
Bethany W., Florida, USA