I grew up much like any other child in the Church, involved with school, sports, and other interests. By the time I was eighteen, I was looking forward to serving a mission. My older brother had served in Brazil, and my sister was then serving in England. A mission had always seemed like the right thing to do.

But as I approached the end of my senior year in high school, I was getting a little worried. I wasn’t sure I could testify of every part of the gospel—particularly the story of Joseph Smith. One of my best friends asked me, “Why are you going on a mission—just because your dad said to and you’re scared not to?” I thought this over again and again until I came to the conclusion that I had better find out why I was going on a mission.

By this time I had already sent in my mission papers. I turned to my dad for help in preparing. Every Sunday we would spend an hour or two in my room talking about a gospel topic or just reading from the scriptures. My dad encouraged me to read A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, which I finished before entering the Missionary Training Center. I had a good feeling that what I was doing was right.

But after several weeks in the MTC, I felt discouraged. My testimony of Joseph Smith still wasn’t as strong as I felt it needed to be. I started to pray with all my heart. No answer. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong, and so I read the scriptures, talked to people, did everything possible. Still nothing.

Then, about a week later, my favorite teacher at the MTC had us role-play teaching the fourth principle of the first discussion, which happens to be about Joseph Smith. As my companion, Elder Brockbank, began to teach about the Prophet, I received an answer to my prayers. When he finished, I was crying. I will never forget that night. I will be eternally thankful for Elder Brockbank and the way he delivered the message of Joseph Smith. His testimony helped me receive mine.

My testimony has never been stronger in my life, and bearing it every day to the German people is wonderful. I now know, with all my heart, that Joseph Smith was called of God to lead this dispensation.

Photograph by John Luke