Latter-day Saint Voices: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

By Alfonso Castro Vázquez

Print Share

    The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that faith is “the moving cause of all action” in intelligent beings (Joseph Smith, compiler, Lectures on Faith [1985], 1–2). Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ manifests itself in many ways. It may give one person the power to choose the right or the power to be healed or to heal others. Another person may be motivated to seek reconciliation with an adversary or to fast and pray for the softening of family members’ hearts. Faith can teach us to trust in the Lord, even to sacrifice ambitions important to us, knowing that His map for our mortal journey may be far different—but ultimately far better—than our own.

    Wherever members have faith in the Lord, there He will be, blessing their lives and the lives of those they love and serve.

    “I Want an Eternal Family

    At age 23, I thought I had everything a young man in México City could want. I was independent, had a good job, and was almost finished with my higher education. Life had given me much—parents who taught me good principles, instilling in me the ability to work hard and a desire to improve myself. And now I was dating a pretty young woman. The only real problem I had was a few differences between us on the topic of religion. She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I was not.

    I had already met the missionaries, who “by coincidence” were often at her house when I went to visit. I listened to the first discussion a few times, but the missionaries could not get me to read or pray. We never got to the second discussion. I knew they wanted me to join the Church, but I wasn’t interested. Although I was impressed with many of the members I had already met, I wasn’t willing to spend Sundays in church. I preferred to play soccer or go to the movies.

    One day after a series of arguments, my girlfriend and I stopped seeing each other. I missed her and began to think about her integrity, virtue, and maturity. Her standards were much higher than those of anyone else I knew. So one night I went to see her again. After we talked I realized she had missed me, too. As soon as I realized she really did want to be with me, I asked her to go out with me again.

    I was quite surprised to hear a firm no come from her lips. At the same moment, tears began running down her cheeks.

    I thought, What would cause her to say no when she wants to say yes? When I recovered from my surprise and asked her why, she said, between sobs, “I want to be married in the temple—I want an eternal family.”

    An unfamiliar feeling swept over me, and then I, too, started to cry. For some reason, there began to grow in me a desire to do anything I could to have the same feeling about an eternal family.

    I started the missionary discussions again, this time in earnest. Three weeks later I was baptized.

    Now I understand what I felt that night. It was the Holy Ghost prompting me. I’m 25 now and serving full time in the México Guadalajara Mission. My girlfriend is serving a full-time mission, too.

    I’m very grateful to my Heavenly Father for the powerful change in my heart and for the opportunity to share the fulness of the gospel. I’m also grateful to my friend for her faithfulness. Her desire for an eternal family has caused me to share the message of eternal families with other people—people who are now seeking that blessing for themselves.

    “Trust in the Lord with All Thine Heart”

    It was a Sunday afternoon near the end of my mission, and I was washing the dinner dishes in Recife, Brazil. For some reason, I began to think about the Saints in Nauvoo. I remembered that after all their sacrifices and work to construct their temple, they had to flee Nauvoo, leaving the temple and their homes behind. I marveled at the great faith of these people. In the midst of their trials, they continued to have confidence in Heavenly Father and to do all He asked of them.

    Then the thought came to my mind: If Father in Heaven someday took something precious away, something for which you had sacrificed, would you rebel?

    I was surprised at the question, not knowing why I had asked it. I tried to imagine myself among the Saints in Nauvoo, feeling what they felt. I concluded that I did not know what my reaction would be, but I sincerely desired to have sufficient faith to always accept God’s will. I had no idea that just such a test would confront me that very night.

    A few days before, while pondering what I would do after my mission, I had decided to pursue a career in music. Before my mission, I had practiced as much as six hours each day on the piano and had completed course work at a music academy. Just recently, my teacher had sent me a letter, promising to help me launch a career as a pianist.

    We had three baptisms arranged for that night. Our meetinghouse did not have a baptismal font, making it necessary for us to go to the center of Recife to hold the baptismal services. It rained much that night, and as the city was experiencing a shortage of gasoline, it was difficult to find a taxi. It was getting late, and I began to worry. Suddenly I saw a taxi a block away and ran in its direction. The rain moistened my glasses, and I did not see a popcorn vendor crossing my path. When I finally saw his cart, I could not stop and I crashed into it. I suffered a very deep cut on my left wrist and was taken to the emergency room at the hospital.

    There I discovered that the tendons had been cut. Two fingers on my left hand were paralyzed. Because a surgery room wasn’t available, I was not able to have an operation immediately. Since I would be returning to my home in a few days, the doctors just sutured the wound and instructed me to seek a specialist in São Paulo.

    On my return home, I received a priesthood blessing from my father and was attended by the best hand surgeon in São Paulo. My recuperation was excellent, and after much physical therapy I was able to return to playing the piano. But I had no illusions about a professional career. My life followed another path instead. Today I am a neurologist with the training and opportunity to help many people.

    I believe God had a plan for my life different from what I had anticipated. When we “trust in the Lord with all [our] heart,” I know “he shall direct [our] paths” for our good (Prov. 3:5–6).

    Faith in God Gave Me Strength

    The year 1998 was a turning point in my life. During that year, though concerned about my studies, I decided to work part time after school to avoid my father. Our relationship had been tense for a long time, but it was now turning into hostility. The anger we both felt was ready to erupt.

    Then a miracle changed our relationship. One night at work, two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paid a visit to one of my coworkers. They shared a brief message with him, and I listened casually to what they said. Curious to hear more, I accepted their invitation to listen to the discussions.

    In the first lesson, I learned I could live with my family even after death. A sense of remorse concerning my relationship with my father filled my heart. I knew it was time to repair the damage. My desire for a happy and a forever family gave me the courage to speak to my father. At first he didn’t respond, but my fervent and constant prayers and my faith in God gave me the strength to keep approaching him. I knew as long as I did my part, Heavenly Father would do His.

    Day by day, God answered my prayers. The misunderstanding between my father and me dissolved, and our hearts softened. God’s love overwhelmed me, and in three months I was baptized into the Church, becoming a member of the Hsin Ying Branch, Tainan Taiwan Stake. I still show my love to my father, just as my Heavenly Father did to me.

    “I Believe in the Power of the Priesthood”

    My grandfather, Elizio Antônio Honório, had suffered a stroke and was very ill in a hospital in Brazil. The doctors said he had only a small chance of surviving. When I learned of this, I went to my room and asked Heavenly Father what I should do. As I knelt, I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost more powerfully than I ever had before. When I ended my prayer, I felt I should speak with my bishop, so I went to see him.

    Though my grandfather is not a member of the Church, I asked the bishop to give him a priesthood blessing. I explained, “I believe in the power of the priesthood, and I believe the Lord can heal him. The Lord has prompted me to ask for this blessing.”

    We went to the hospital, and the bishop gave my grandfather a blessing. The following day I visited my grandfather and found him seated on a chair conversing with one of my aunts. He was much improved.

    I know this is truly the Church of Jesus Christ. I know the priesthood can bless us if we have faith in its divine power.

    [illustration] Detail from Christ’s Image, by Heinrich Hofmann

    [illustrations] Illustrated by Larry Winborg