Personal Response by Rachel
I have summed up the most significant lesson I learned on my mission in six words: “Come unto Christ and be happy.” This phrase has become a personal motto for the rest of my life. Each morning of my mission we had an hour to do personal study of the scriptures and Preach My Gospel. The more I studied the words of Jesus Christ through His ancient and modern prophets and apostles, the more I came to love Him and believe in Him. My growing belief and faith in Christ led me to follow His teachings, develop Christlike attributes, and testify of Jesus Christ’s restored gospel. As I obeyed the commandments of the gospel and became more like Christ, I felt the Holy Ghost’s influence more abundantly in my life. I felt the fruits of the Holy Ghost, which include “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). I learned that “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17). Every day of my mission was an opportunity to do the things Jesus Christ has asked of us. When I chose to follow Christ, I was blessed with happiness, joy, love, and peace. My dad has often told me that he can always tell when I am happy and acting in a way that is pleasing to the Savior. “You have a sparkle in your eyes,” my dad has said. “So, I know that you are on the right path.”
Book of Mormon, prayer, and the Holy Ghost. James prayed with us and he immediately felt the Holy Ghost testifying to him that the message we had shared was true. My companion and I visited James once or twice a week for the next month until we were transferred from the area. Close to the end of that time, James told us that it was easier for him to read the words in the Book of Mormon. James was also finding it much easier to combat the cravings for drugs and alcohol. After we left, James continued to study the scriptures and pray often, as well as attend Mormon church meetings. Four months after I left the area, it was time for me to complete my mission. Before I came home, I went to visit James. The first thing I noticed when I saw James was the sparkle in his eyes. James was happy. I’ve often heard that the eyes are the window to the soul, but until that moment I didn’t believe that statement. The expression in James’s eyes was clear, focused, bright, and full of joy and hope. I immediately knew that James was still doing all he could to follow Jesus Christ because his eyes were “sparkling.”I saw that sparkle, that light, in the eyes of many people during my mission as they followed the teachings of Jesus Christ. James is one of those people. We first met James when he was in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. His eyes were clouded and unfocused, he had difficulty reading the small print in the scriptures, and he was battling addiction to drugs and alcohol. In the first lesson, my companion and I taught James about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, the Prophet Joseph Smith, the
James and I are not the only people who have experienced the enlightening and joy-filling power of the Holy Ghost. Millions of people around the world have been blessed by the influence of the Holy Ghost, which has testified to them of the truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church). I know that as we truly seek to follow Christ, we will be blessed with the fruits of the Spirit. I also know that the Book of Mormon, as well as the Bible, is the word of God and invites all men to believe in Jesus Christ and obey His teachings. I know that when we follow the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will be happier than if we don’t follow the gospel. The message of the gospel is one of joy and gladness. The Prophet Joseph Smith wrote, “Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! . . . Glad tidings of great joy.” How did serving a Mormon mission bless me and those I served? We were blessed with happiness, joy, and gladness (some of the fruits of the Holy Ghost) when we followed the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.