Too much for granted

I am looking forward to going on a mission, and I think the New Era will be a good missionary tool. I plan to use some of the stories to explain parts of the gospel. I think we Mormons tend to take the gospel too much for granted. We need to learn about the Church and live it seven days a week the way some converts I know do. I think the New Era can help me to do that.

Rodney Millett Roosevelt, Utah

The right wrong address

I am so thankful to my Father in heaven for causing you to send my daughter’s New Era to me by mistake. I read it before sending it on to her, and I was so thrilled with it that I ordered a subscription for myself. It’s nicer to get a magazine new, and I want to keep my copies as treasures of beauty and truth, especially the May issue. I have been trying to learn how to gain greater spiritual growth through reading, praying about, and pondering the scriptures. I have wondered how to gain a greater testimony of the gospel even though through the power of the Holy Ghost I already have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the fact that God lives. The importance of pondering was explained at BYU Education Week, but I didn’t know how to go about it, and then my prayers were answered with a wrong address. It has also helped the five boys I have left at home. I will read different stories at family prayer time and try to get them to read some. I read the story of “Stephen” over and over to help me when I am discouraged. I wish that I could receive all the New Eras that have been published and read every one because I know I’ve missed many wonderful lessons for my life.

Dolores Kelsey Declo, Idaho

The trial

Thank you for publishing “The Trial of the Son of God” in the April issue. We used it as a devotional at a recent morningside. We chose 12 people who acted as the witnesses, and one who portrayed the counselor. We really enjoy the New Era in our seminary. Once a month we hold New Era Bowls, which are really successful.

Springville Junior High

Seminary Executive Council Springville, Utah

Pondering pondering

I was very impressed with the article “Pondering Isn’t Preposterous” in the May New Era. I’m a convert to the Church of a year and a half and have found many wonderful and exciting aspects in the Church. I try to take time to sit and think every day, and it’s amazing what you accomplish by it. It gives you a chance to realize how the principles of the gospel actually affect your life and what you can do to improve your faith regarding the Church.

Jim Borchers Meridian, Idaho

No mail—just a wire

I am very grateful to be able to read the New Era. I went to pick up my mail at the mission home today and found out that there wasn’t any mail for me. It’s been over a month since I have had a letter from home, but I was happy to see that my March New Era had arrived. I started reading it while walking down the street, and I walked into a wire that anchored a telephone pole! I read the magazine that day, and before nighttime I had read it from cover to cover. I always used to skip a few articles that didn’t seem interesting, but this time I read every article, and they were all interesting.

Elder Joseph Richard Wright, Jr. Philippines Manila Mission

“Bless you, sister”

Tears filled my eyes and overflowed as I read Homer Ellsworth’s “Travail” in April’s New Era. Brother Ellsworth’s beautifully articulated message should indeed reassure us of our Heavenly Father’s love. It is imperative for our growth in his spiritual kingdom to know that whatever we may be asked to endure in this life is for our good. What may appear to be a tragedy can be a blessing.

The blind baby in the article could have been ours. Our baby boy also was born without eyes where blue eyes should have been. I don’t know if that other baby’s earthly parents had been conditioned for the shock and the grief they were to endure. I was, but I didn’t know it until my baby was born. Seven months before our precious little one arrived, I attended the dedication ceremonies of the stake center in Jacksonville, Florida, where our late President David O. McKay dedicated the beautiful Church building. After the closing prayer he moved rapidly past the waiting line of Saints, shaking each hand as he went past. To look upon his angelic face framed by the beautiful shock of white hair was a blessing in itself. As he came to me his smile faded momentarily and his countenance imparted a message I did not understand. With a warm, almost comforting voice he said, “Bless you, sister.” I did not connect that blessing with my unborn child. I did know that he saw my future, and that alone was another testimony that he was truly a prophet of God, a seer, and a revelator. During the next few months I felt an uneasiness, some undefined worry or some unrecognized fear. Again I did not think it had anything to do with my pregnancy, nor did I think of it in connection with what the prophet had said.

When my precious baby arrived, my initial, and I think normal, reaction was of shock and unbelievable grief. As that grief began to subside, I realized that this was what the prophet had seen. The love I felt for my Heavenly Father was magnified, for I knew we had been chosen by him to be the parents of this special spirit who had, such a short time ago, been in his presence. I don’t know why we were chosen, but I thank him each day for this privilege and the blessings we have that are directly related to our having this special one to care for and love. His five brothers know this too. Their love and empathy for anyone with a handicap or affliction is a joy to behold.

Although we have been told that for Rusty sight is impossible, that no operation will ever give him his vision, I believe he will see before his life is over. I have always believed it, and I believe my Heavenly Father has given me this assurance.

Almost 19 now, Rusty is a young man of great faith. His childlike innocence combined with a childlike faith continue to testify to me of God’s continuing love. We are all children of God, and Rusty is one of his special ones.

Joyce Carter Mickiewiez Oxnard, California

Thankful for who I am

I would like to thank you for Elder Delbert L. Stapley’s message on standards in the May issue. I was really becoming discouraged because many of my friends at school have low standards. This article made me thankful for who I am and for the standards that I follow.

Mary Ellen Davis Columbia, Missouri

The second time around

I am a student at Mulholland Junior High School, and I love reading the New Era. I just finished reading “Stephen” in the May issue. The May issue is only the second New Era that I have received since I subscribed. It is the best literature for kids my age that I have seen in a long time. I know that this church is true, and I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I also know that President Spencer W. Kimball is a true prophet of God.

Mary Beverly Van Nuys, California

I shall never forget

I would like to thank you for your articles “Gold Mine” and “Stephen” in the May New Era. Never before have I been so touched by a magazine. I live in the same ward in which Stephen Farrance lived. A few years ago Steve showed me the story “Gold Mine.” It was his intention at that time to have it published in the New Era. After his death I intended to get the story and send it to you. You can imagine my delight when I discovered it in the May issue. It brought tears to my eyes as I read it again.

Stephen was a fighter. Never did I see him give up on anything that he started. He was a fierce competitor and always put up a strong battle at the scripture chases. Stephen loved life and got the most from it. In the last weeks of his life, he was serving others, directing and producing our roadshow. The week before the performance, we practiced every morning at 5:30 A.M. For Steve this meant getting up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning to be at the church on time. He was always there.

The roadshow took place on Friday and Saturday nights. On Friday night Steve was cheering us on. That evening he went to the hospital, and the next morning he passed away. That night we were all surprised to see his family at the church giving us encouragement. We gave it our best, and for some reason I could remember my lines, which I had forgotten the night before. I could hear Steve telling me the words. It’s something I shall never forget. Steve was a wonderful person, with as much drive and enthusiasm as anyone I have known. I feel privileged to have known him. He was a good friend and a fine example of a true Latter-day Saint. I hope to meet Steve again. He touched the hearts of all who met him.

Brian Burgess Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada