The Gift and Guide

By Elder Jorge L. del Castillo

Area Authority Seventy
South America South Area

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    Where I grew up, just outside Buenos Aires, Argentina, soccer is very popular. When I was 10 or 11 years old, the boys in my neighborhood would get together to play in an empty lot on a corner where the truck and bus traffic was heavy.

    One day as I sat on my bike at the curb watching some older boys play, I heard a voice say, “Jorge, scoot over.” I looked around, but there wasn’t anyone there with me. I was alone.

    But I paid attention. I moved my bike just around the corner of the lot and went on watching the game from the curb of the other street. No more than a minute later, two trucks collided in the intersection and slid into the curb where I had been standing.

    If I had stayed there, they would have smashed me. But someone told me—and I know who it was—that I should move just around the corner.

    As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we are blessed to have the gift of the Holy Ghost. If we will obey His promptings, we will be protected—not just physically, as I was at the soccer game, but spiritually as well. Doing what is right isn’t always as easy as pedaling your bike a few feet, but cultivating the Holy Ghost as our guide can protect us as well as lead us to a testimony of the truth.

    Standing Firm

    As a teen I studied in a technical school for young men. It was hard to be a member of the Church in an atmosphere where there were other beliefs or no beliefs at all. Being the only member in school was difficult because I felt alone; I felt different. My classmates were relatively good, but many didn’t share my principles.

    I remember well one time when they wanted to get me to smoke. They didn’t say it directly. Instead, one of them lit a cigarette while we were in our classroom waiting for the professor. We weren’t supposed to smoke inside the school.

    I was sitting in the back. The guys at the front of the room lit the cigarette, and they each took a puff and passed it on. Everyone was watching to see it get to me. Finally the guy in front of me took a puff and turned around.

    I didn’t take the cigarette.

    He said, “Come on. Go ahead.”

    “No, I’m not going to smoke.”

    He took the cigarette and put it to my mouth. So I hit him. He hit me back. Then almost everyone in the room started to fight, though we quickly calmed down before the professor got there.

    Now I’m not saying that was the right way to respond, but I was only 13. I didn’t know how to respond. I just knew no one was going to make me smoke.

    After class I found the boy I had hit and asked his forgiveness. With some emotion, he told me, “No, I’m the one who needs to ask your forgiveness.”

    If I had lowered my standards, would the Holy Ghost have stayed with me? Or would I have lost my guide?

    By choosing the right, I allowed the Holy Ghost to be my companion. With Him as my guide, I had help making the right decisions, and my testimony was strengthened.

    With the Help of the Holy Ghost

    When I was 14 or 15 years old, I worked for my father in the family dry cleaning business during what free time I had. That summer, business was slow. So I said, “OK, I want to read the entire Book of Mormon—from the first page to the last.” And I did. The reading excited me.

    In the edition of the Book of Mormon I had, Moroni’s promise was printed on one of the opening pages. That promise struck me. If someone read the book and then asked God, He would answer (see Moro. 10:3–5). I had heard the promise before, but in that moment the Holy Ghost impressed it upon my heart.

    After finishing the last page of the book, I knelt in a small private room at work and prayed to Heavenly Father. And through the Holy Ghost I received the testimony I sought. From the tip of my toes to the last hair on my head, I felt that the Book of Mormon was the word of God and that Joseph Smith was a prophet.

    As the years have passed I have had other sacred experiences with the Holy Ghost, but I have always remembered these first experiences. The Holy Ghost has helped me make good decisions. He guided me as I tried to live the gospel. He guided me in my decision to serve a mission. He guided me in finding a wonderful spouse—one of the most important decisions anyone will make in this life.

    If you will strive to live worthy of His companionship, the Holy Ghost will guide you too.

    Illustrated by Barbara Kiwak