Before I joined the Church, my life was full of unhappiness. Following my parents’ divorce when I was seven years old, my father went to prison. My mother was an alcoholic and lost everything that was important to her. I was sent to live with a foster family.
Because of these things, I grew up a lot faster than many of my peers. I never quite felt that I could find my place, and consequently I was constantly in a state of rebellion. When I was still very young, I began smoking and doing other things that I now understand are contrary to the Word of Wisdom. I was certain I was doomed to fail in life.
The one thing I did find happiness in was helping people—whether it was cleaning alongside them or listening to their life stories. I desperately wanted people to know they could depend on me. One year I went on vacation and met an elderly woman I decided to serve by listening to her. She was a Christian and started to talk to me about religion.
I had never really believed in God. At times, when I had thought that maybe He existed, I blamed Him for the troubling things I had experienced. But as this woman described the importance of faith in God, I found myself intrigued. Before I left, she said something that was particularly interesting: “The Mormons follow God’s commandments.”
I wasn’t sure I could start to believe in God, but the missionaries helped me discover that I could not only believe in Him but also know Him. As I began to pray and study the Book of Mormon, I found myself on a beautiful journey of finding happiness. I quit smoking. I stopped blaming God and started thanking Him for the good things in my life. I came to know that His Son had suffered for my sins and for all the pain I had ever felt. On October 28, 2007, I was baptized into His Church.
If I hadn’t personally experienced the change from disillusionment to happiness, I wouldn’t believe it is possible. Today I love my calling in Primary and am grateful to have had the opportunity to help organize a service project at a young single adult conference in Poland. To be able to regularly help others through Church service has added to the happiness I have found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything I do now, I do with pure love because of Jesus Christ. I believe that life is beautiful and that even when we have challenges, if we follow the Savior, we won’t be lost.
The woman I met was right: having faith in God is crucial. We cannot find our place in this world if we don’t know Him. I am grateful to finally have a place where I know I belong.