Thirty years ago in Ghana, a young college student named Doe stepped inside an LDS meetinghouse for the first time. A friend had invited Doe to come with her, and Doe was curious to know what the Church was like.
The people there were so nice and warm that she couldn’t help but wonder, “What kind of church is this?”
Doe felt so impressed that she decided to learn more about the Church and its people, who were filled with so much joy. But as soon as she began doing so, well-meaning family and friends began to oppose her at every turn. They said terrible things about the Church and did all they could to dissuade her.
But Doe had received a testimony.
She had faith, and she loved the gospel, which was filling her life with joy. And so, she entered the waters of baptism.
Afterward, she immersed herself in study and prayer. She fasted and sought the influence of the Holy Ghost in her life. As a result, Doe’s testimony and faith grew stronger and deeper. Eventually she decided to serve a full-time mission for the Lord.
After returning from her mission, she dated and married a returned missionary—the very one who had baptized her years earlier—and they were later sealed in the Johannesburg South Africa Temple.
Many years have passed since Doe Kaku first experienced the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. During that time, life has not always been sweet for her. She has endured her share of heartbreak and despair, including the loss of two children—the deep grief of those experiences still weighs heavily upon her heart.
But she and her husband, Anthony, have striven to draw close to each other and to their beloved Heavenly Father, whom they love with all their heart.
Today, 30 years after she entered the waters of baptism, Sister Kaku recently completed another full-time mission—this time together with her husband, who served as a mission president in Nigeria.
Those who know Sister Kaku say there is something special about her. She glows. It’s hard to spend time with her without feeling happier yourself.
Her testimony is certain: “I know that the Savior sees me as His daughter and friend (see Mosiah 5:7; Ether 3:14),” she says. “And I am learning and trying so hard to be His friend too—not only by what I say but also by what I do.”
We Are Disciples
Sister Kaku’s story is similar to that of many others. She had a desire to know the truth, she paid the price to gain spiritual light, she demonstrated her love for God and her fellowman, and along the way she experienced hardships and sorrow.
But no matter the opposition, no matter the sorrow, she kept moving forward in faith. And just as important, she kept her joy. She found a way not only to endure the hardships of life but also to thrive despite them!
Her story is similar to yours and mine.
Rarely is our journey smooth or without trial.
We each have our heartaches, our disappointments, our sorrows.
We may even feel discouraged and at times overwhelmed.
But those who live a disciple’s life—who remain faithful and keep moving forward in faith; who trust God and keep His commandments;1 who live the gospel day by day and hour by hour; who give Christlike service to those around them, one good deed at a time—are those whose small acts often make a big difference.
Those who are a little kinder, a bit more forgiving, and a touch more merciful are the merciful who will receive mercy.2 Those who make this world a better place, one caring and loving act at a time, and who strive to live the blessed, satisfying, and peaceable life of a disciple of Jesus Christ are those who will eventually find joy.
They will know that “the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men … is the most desirable above all things … and the most joyous to the soul.”3
Teaching from this Message
President Uchtdorf teaches us that the path of discipleship is difficult but that those who live the “peaceable life of a disciple of Jesus Christ are those who will eventually find joy.” Just as President Uchtdorf tells the story of Doe to show how a true disciple of Christ can find peace and joy despite life’s trials, you may consider sharing a story from your own life about why you choose to follow Christ and how He has strengthened you. When you are led by the Spirit, sharing personal stories can strengthen those you teach.
Joy as a Disciple of Jesus Christ
Have you ever had a bad day? What did you do to cheer up? President Uchtdorf knows that “we each have our heartaches, our disappointments, our sorrows. We may even feel discouraged and at times overwhelmed.”
His solution is to live what he calls “a disciple’s life”: “remain faithful and keep moving forward in faith.” When we move forward in faith, we are able to trust God, keep His commandments, and serve others—and feel joy during all of it! As President Uchtdorf said, “Those who live a disciple’s life … are those whose small acts often make a big difference.”
Consider making a list of ways that you can live a disciple’s life. For instance, you could write down a service idea like “Help a parent prepare dinner” or an idea for keeping the commandments like “Praying for more patience with my siblings.” The next time you feel frustrated or overwhelmed, pull out your list, pick an idea, and try it!
When we follow Jesus and try to be kind, we help make others happy. And being kind makes us happy too! Circle two or three things you could do this week to be kind to others.