Firm Foundations

“Firm Foundations,” New Era, July 2018

Firm Foundations

Filled One by One


Illustrations by David Malan

Because of the drought in the area, sometimes there wasn’t any water in the village we were serving in as missionaries.

Since the taps were dry on Sunday, my companion and I had to bring a bottle of water from our apartment for the sacrament.

Before preparing the sacrament, I prayed that the Spirit would be present as I prepared these emblems and throughout sacrament meeting. After placing the cups in the tray, I unscrewed the bottle’s lid to begin to fill them. Normally, we would just sweep the tray underneath the steady stream of water from a tap, filling multiple cups at a time. But this time our water was limited, so I had to change the way I filled the cups. I began to fill each cup one by one, doing my best to make sure there was enough in each individual cup. The process took longer and was more tedious, but I was taught a lesson.

When Jesus Christ suffered for our sins, He felt our pains and sins on a very individual and personal basis. He came to understand, know, and love each of us personally. He paid the price for the weaknesses and sins of each one of us, and He did this so we can come to understand, know, love, and even become like Him.

I felt so much joy right there in the back room of the chapel, and I feel it every time I think of Jesus Christ’s love for me.

Elder Brigham Jewkes, South Africa Durban Mission

On My Pencil


While I was daydreaming at school, a popular guy invited me to his party. “My parents are out of town,” he said. “I hope you can come!” He winked mischievously.

I knew his wink probably meant there would be alcohol at the party. I also knew that if his parents weren’t going to be there, then I probably shouldn’t be either.

Without hesitation, I said, “No, thanks. I won’t be able to make it.” He furrowed his brow and said, “I don’t get you Mormons. You never have any fun!” Then he turned and walked away.

I knew I had done the right thing. But as the hours ticked by, I began to doubt my decision. I thought, “Why don’t I go? It’s not like my parents would ever know. It’s not like I would drink.”

These thoughts continued until my last class. I tapped my pencil on my desk and asked myself again, “Why don’t I go to the party?” At that moment, I looked down at my pencil. Written on the side was the word Integrity. It was the brand name of the pencil I was using, but it was also a little answer to a big prayer in my heart.

I’m grateful Heavenly Father gave me an answer exactly when I needed it, and I’m glad I didn’t go to the party. I know I can make good choices because I am Heavenly Father’s child and I have integrity.

Missy D., Arizona, USA

Picking Up Personal Progress


When I was a Beehive, one of my leaders really encouraged me to complete the Personal Progress value experiences. Soon I had finished one value and was looking forward to finishing them all.

But during my junior year of high school, I quit working on Personal Progress. I was going through one of the hardest times in my life, and I began to doubt a lot of things. I just didn’t see how Personal Progress could help me during my trials. But in the past, doing Personal Progress had helped me see my worth and keep me on the straight and narrow path, and I missed that.

As I started Personal Progress again, I realized I was also heading back to the place my Heavenly Father wanted me to be spiritually. Personal Progress helped me see the worth in myself and in others, finish reading the Book of Mormon, gain a testimony of the gospel, and grow closer to God.

Alexis T., California, USA