Trying to Be Like Jesus

Lorenzo Presença, age 10,

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    Our First Family Fast

    About a year ago, some friends of our family were hospitalized in very serious condition. Rosana and Angel Blanco Rodriguez and two of their children were in their kitchen when they smelled gas. Brother Rodriguez went to investigate. When he touched a gas hose, a small leak exploded, igniting a fire. Seeing his two small children in danger, Brother Rodriguez used his own body to extinguish the flames. He was the most critically injured of the four.

    When Mama told our family about the accident, she told us of the love she and Papa felt for their dear friends. She explained that because we live far away, we could not help Brother and Sister Rodriguez by taking care of their other children, their house, or their business matters. But there was a special way we could help them, she said. We could have a family fast and pray that the Lord would bless the Rodriguez family. All of us, even the younger ones, could participate. Our parents had always fasted on the first Sunday of the month and on other occasions, but we had never fasted as a family before. We decided to try it.

    We began Saturday at lunchtime. We all fasted—Papa and Mama; Douglas, age 13; Francini, age 11; Debora, age 7; and me, age 9. We said a prayer and asked the Lord to bless our friends. Mama put a reminder—“Our First Family Fast”—on the refrigerator, the water faucet, the microwave, and the kitchen wall, so we would remember not to eat or drink anything.

    I did not feel thirsty during those hours, even with the intense heat here in Amazonas, Brazil. I didn’t feel hungry, either. I was able to understand a little how Jesus might have felt when He fasted for 40 days. I felt how good it is to do something to help others.

    On Sunday Papa gave each of us an envelope for our fast offerings and helped us fill out the form. At church that day, we gave the money to our branch president. We concluded our fast at lunchtime.

    The Rodriguez family eventually returned home with some injuries. As we and many other friends continued to fast and pray for their recovery, the Lord continued to bless them. After several months of care, they were completely cured and were left almost without scars.

    Each month since our first family fast, we have fasted and prayed for a united purpose.

    I am grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to learn about Jesus Christ and how much He did for me. I want to follow His example always.

    [photo] Lorenzo Presença

    The Right Choice

    In our family, we have always been taught to keep the Sabbath day holy. We attend church and try to do other things on Sunday that will help us think about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We write in our journals and read stories from the Church magazines. We avoid activities like going to the park or playing sports.

    I was excited to get an invitation to my friend Gordon’s birthday party last year. But when I opened it, I saw that the party would be on Sunday. I showed it to my parents but didn’t even ask if I could go. I said, “I can’t go to his party because it’s on Sunday.” I was disappointed to miss it, but I knew I was making the right choice.

    My mom telephoned Gordon’s mom and told her I couldn’t come. Gordon’s mom apologized for having the party on a Sunday. The very next day she wanted to talk to Mom while they were waiting to pick us up from school. She said that their family used to go to a church and that she still believed in prayer. This conversation led to lots of opportunities to share the gospel with Gordon’s family. They haven’t joined the Church, but they still show some interest and they understand more about what we believe.

    My mom said if I had not made the right choice about keeping the Sabbath day holy, we probably never would have been able to talk to them so much about the gospel. They respect our values, and this year they had Gordon’s birthday party on Saturday rather than Sunday.

    [photo] Jordan Stangier

    [illustration] Story Time in Galilee, by Del Parson

    [illustrations] Illustrated by Robert A. McKay