Helaman Ayala loves ninjitsu (a Japanese martial art). This priest in the Hacienda Ward, Mexico City Tecamac Stake, has spent a lot of time practicing what he has learned. Often his friends ask him to show them different techniques.
He also loves music and has taken some guitar lessons. “But I don’t have a lot of time to practice,” he says. “So I haven’t progressed much. And I can’t share it much.”
Helaman understands the importance of practicing what you learn and then sharing it. “You can’t just know. You must do,” he says. “We can learn things, but if we don’t put them into practice, they won’t do us any good. And sharing is essential to help you make sure you’ve learned it.”
That’s what he likes about the new Duty to God. “I like the idea of ‘learn, act, share,’” he says. “It has helped me a lot. Knowing more and applying what I’ve learned has helped my testimony.”
He uses the plan of salvation as an example. It’s a doctrine he has heard many times. “But studying it for myself, I saw the love Heavenly Father has for us. The Holy Ghost touched my heart, and I felt inside that it is true. I came to feel the love He has for me that He would send His Son.”
As Helaman sets and works on his Duty to God goals, he appreciates the support he receives from his parents. “My parents encourage me, they remind me when I forget, and they ask me if I’ve set my goals,” he says.
His father, who is the bishop of their ward, spends time helping him. “He helps me understand things I don’t understand,” Helaman says. “My father and mother both support me a lot in that respect.”
Helaman says the goals Duty to God asks young men to set are for their good. Duty to God has strengthened his faith and helped him resist temptation. It has also helped prepare him for the future. “The book helps you to prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and teaches you many of the things you’ll need as a missionary.”
Just as he has progressed in ninjitsu through setting goals to learn, acting upon what he has learned, and sharing with others, Helaman knows that “to progress in life, we need to set goals and look to the future.”
Using Duty to God and with his parents’ help, Helaman has made a good start.
Diligence and Trust
“Just a few weeks ago, I saw a new deacon start on [the] path of diligence. His father showed me a diagram his son had created that showed every row in their chapel, a number for each deacon who would be assigned to pass the sacrament, and their route through the chapel to serve the sacrament to the members. The father and I smiled to think that a boy, without being asked to do it, would make a plan to be sure he would succeed in his priesthood service.
“I recognized in his diligence the pattern from the new Duty to God booklet. It is to learn what the Lord expects of you, make a plan to do it, act on your plan with diligence, and then share with others how your experience changed you and blessed others. …
“You will become more diligent as you feel the magnitude of the trust God has placed in you. There is a message from the First Presidency for you in that Duty to God booklet: ‘Heavenly Father has great trust and confidence in you and has an important mission for you to fulfill. He will help you as you turn to Him in prayer, listen for the promptings of the Spirit, obey the commandments, and keep the covenants that you have made’ [Fulfilling My Duty to God: For Aaronic Priesthood Holders (booklet, 2010), 5].”
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “Act in All Diligence,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2010, 60–61.
Photographs by Adam C. Olson