02290_000_033When Christian Monzón’s friends have questions, they know they can turn to him for help.
What do you do when you run into pornography? One day Christian Monzón of Asunción, Paraguay, borrowed a cell phone from a friend at school to play games on it. He discovered that the phone had pornography stored in it.
There was no doubt in Christian’s mind what his friend should do about that, so Christian helped him see the need to get rid of the offensive pictures. Christian calmly explained how damaging material like that can be. He said, “If you were a father, you wouldn’t want your son looking at that.”
Part of what Christian told his friend came from For the Strength of Youth. Christian says the pamphlet helps him in every phase of his life. “I wouldn’t be where I am without it,” he says. He has also given copies to a couple of friends at school. They told him it gave them guidance they needed with specific problems.
Where do you find help facing the temptations of life? Christian knows that For the Strength of Youth offers help with many temptations that are common among his friends—drugs and drinking, for example. Few of his friends have the Internet in their homes, but they can easily get access to it—and to pornography—in Internet cafés.
Friends at school often turn to Christian and his older brother, Jimmy, for help with problems because they trust that the two Latter-day Saints will have answers. Both are respected for their beliefs by their schoolmates. Christian’s classmates respect him enough that they elected him their student delegate. Among other things, this means he is their representative if they get into trouble at school.
How do you plan for the future? Christian says that knowing a full-time mission is in his plans has helped him set priorities. After he finishes his secondary schooling, he’d like to study information technology. But when you know you’re preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, go to the temple, go on a mission, and get married, it helps you know how to prepare.
And for Christian, so does studying Church doctrine and history. In fact, his favorite stories come out of Church history. For example, he finds strength in the 1834 experience of Zion’s Camp when mobbers threatened to attack the encampment and the Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied that the Lord would not permit it. That evening, a terrible storm scattered the mobbers. 1 This tells Christian that he can prepare for the future without fear because the Lord can protect those who serve Him.
How do you strengthen your testimony? One way Christian has found is to study the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He refers to Doctrine and Covenants 135:3, which says that Joseph Smith “has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.” Christian adds, “Coming to know of Joseph Smith changed my life.”
He says that in studying Church history “you come to understand the part you can play today.” Another of his favorite stories tells of the young men who helped with the rescue of the Martin handcart company in 1856. The young men carried exhausted, starving pioneers through the freezing Sweetwater River. 2 Christian says he hopes he could show that kind of courage if he faced such a test.
Why is the gospel important in your life? Christian has an answer for that question too. A priest in the Aaronic Priesthood, he attends seminary every morning with other young people from the Cocuere Branch, Capiatá Paraguay Stake. The seminary class is in his home; his mother is the teacher.
What he has learned about our Father’s plan of salvation helped him when his beloved grandfather died suddenly. He was able to receive comfort and peace because of “the hope the gospel gives us.”
He says the gospel helps him in every part of his life. “I know the scriptures are revelation from our Father in Heaven,” he testifies. “I know this is the true Church, and I know that Jesus Christ lives.”
Photographs by Don L. Searle
The Martin Handcart Company Rescued by Volunteers, by Clark Kelley Price