I have felt a nearly overwhelming sense of gratitude and love throughout this week. Last Friday night I challenged a recent convert, Jisaura, to a race to finish the Book of Mormon. I was in Alma 42, so that's where we started from. (We're both reading in Spanish, so it's fair.) If I win, she will make me the best Ecuadorian food that she can. If she wins, I will make her brownies. We both agreed and we continue with the race. The purpose, of course, is not the race itself, and it's not the food (although it is a strong motivator). The Book of Mormon has an amazing power to change our lives. Quite a few years ago, when Brother and Sister Bevans still lived in our ward, Brother Bevans served as 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric, and in a sacrament meeting he shared his experience of reading the Book of Mormon. At the time, if I remember correctly, he had set a goal to read the Book of Mormon in a month. That's quite a task. It requires reading a lot of pages, every day. He told us, in his testimony, that as he sought out the quiet moments of the day, or whatever moment he had, to read from those pages he felt his testimony grow within him and felt the Spirit of the Lord in greater measure. I attribute the nearly overwhelming sense of gratitude and love I have felt this week to the same thing. As I have sought out every spare moment to read from the Book of Mormon I have felt and experienced changes. I am more patient, I feel greater power to resist temptation, and I feel the guidance of the Spirit. The Book of Mormon is truth, pure truth, eternal truth. I love it.
A great difference between those we teach who grow and progress in their faith and testimony, and those who don't, is reading the Book of Mormon. I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is true, and as a result I have "also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah" (Introduction to the Book of Mormon). That is the Lord's promise to each of us. With this knowledge, we have peace and purpose in our lives as we continually strive to live and honor and obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel.
The experiences of our lives are opportunities for us to choose to turn to God and draw nearer to Him. Every experience. He just wants us to do our best. I know He appreciates every effort we make to live the gospel and to share it with others.