At age 15 I came to the realization that some of the religious traditions my parents had taught me did not agree with what I read in the Bible. I also realized I needed to leave behind activities that were wasting my time—and my youth. I determined not to do things just because others were.
I decided I needed to look for the Lord’s true Church. Fortunately my mother’s coworker invited us to attend a meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one Sunday. I was nervous, but when I got to the building, my feelings changed. The atmosphere was one of reverence, and I felt a spirit of calm in my heart. At church that day I learned to pray.
The following week my mother and I started receiving the discussions from two sister missionaries, and a month later we were baptized. Although I didn’t know all the doctrine of the Church before my baptism, I exercised enough faith to know that the Church is true and to receive a witness from the Spirit.
I know I wouldn’t have been able to continue as a faithful member of the Church without the members and leaders who extended their hands to me, offered me their friendship, and watched over me during hard times. I don’t know what would have become of me if I hadn’t found the truth and those good people during my youth. Their examples strengthened me and helped me weather the difficult times that lay ahead.
I was in my fifth semester of studying systems engineering when I turned 19. My parents told me if I went on a mission, they weren’t going to help me with my schooling when I returned.
During that difficult time of decision, the stake mission president shared a scripture with me I will never forget: “He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:38). Another verse also touched my heart and helped me make my choice: “Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s stake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matt. 19:29). I decided to obey the will of God and serve Him full time for two years.
My mission wasn’t just the most enriching experience of my life—it was a commandment from my Heavenly Father. Despite the difficulties that always seem to arise, I know that when the Lord gives us a commandment, He prepares a way (see 1 Ne. 3:7).
I served in the Colombia Cali Mission. Teaching in my homeland, the land of my ancestors and my relatives, was not only one of the greatest blessings of my service, it made me—in my small way—a fulfillment of prophecy: “For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true” (Alma 29:8). How grateful I am to have heard and to have shared His wise counsel.