Thank you for the article “My Friend, My Savior, My Lord, My God” in the December New Era. As I read the testimonies of each of the prophets, the Spirit overwhelmed me. It made me realize the message that I as a missionary have for the world—the great message that God does live, that Christ is the Savior of the world, and that he has personally picked great men to bear testimony of that fact in these latter days. From the testimony of a living prophet today I learn that Christ is “my friend, my Lord, my God.” What greater message exists today?
Elder Brent W. Reid
Belgium Brussels Mission
Regardless of what the world is saying, I still deeply love the Church and always will. As I look around me at the turmoil, I am even more thankful for the gospel. It is one of those precious possessions that I wouldn’t trade for the world, especially lately! Advertisements, newspapers, television, and all types of media are filled with materials to pollute the mind and corrupt the soul. The New Era is like a breath of fresh air in the midst of all this chaos. President Kimball is truly inspired when he admonishes us to become a Zion people. This way we can still be in the world but not of it. Even with all the counsel we receive from our beloved leaders, many are being deceived. With all the controversy around, all we can do is be examples. Our example can be the greatest teaching tool we possess. I am so grateful for the New Era and feel that it is one of my best friends. It is so neat how good friends can influence us! I am eternally thankful for the existence of such a quality magazine.
I don’t know how to thank you enough for the way the New Era motivates me in my work. I felt homesick and lonely as an English missionary so far from home, but “The First Christmas” by David F. Barrus (December issue) really sunk in deep and spurred me on again to work toward my goals.
Elder Stephen Wiles
Alabama Birmingham Mission
I have been a regular reader of the New Era since it was first published in 1971, and I’ve always enjoyed the many wonderful stories that have been published, especially the ones by Jack Weyland. The article “Balm of Gilead” by Elder Boyd K. Packer in the August issue touched my heart deeply. I felt as if Elder Packer were talking to me while I was reading it. The New Era has helped me a lot in strengthening my testimony of the gospel.
Melita L. Preston
Dagupan City, Philippines
I am a 19-soon-to-be-20-year-old elder enlisted and serving in the U.S. Air Force at Hahn Air Base in the Kaiserslautern Germany Servicemen’s Stake, Hahn Ward. I look forward to receiving and reading both the New Era and the Ensign each month. Thank you for the messages from the General Authorities and for the fiction. I too enjoy the stories by Jack Weyland. This brother has truly learned to develop his God-given talent. I also enjoy the art in the New Era, and I must make a statement in defense of Brother Preston Heiselt who illustrated “The Last of the Big-Time Spenders” (September New Era). I thought he did a very good job. The New Era has played an important part in helping me develop my testimony and my burning desire to serve my God on a full-time mission as soon as possible, with His help.
David C. Lloyd
As I sat at my desk, pondering the events of the upcoming day, I caught a glimpse of the early sun trying to pierce the dark clouds. My eyes focused on a nearby calendar in the corner of the room. It was the first day of October, and I had been on the England Manchester Mission staff for nearly five months. I could not believe how quickly the time had passed.
My thoughts were interrupted as I gazed at the morning mail heaped upon my desk, just waiting to be sent to eager missionaries. I quickly sorted through the letters and found several addressed to the mission. I carefully tore open each envelope, expecting to find referrals, bills, or notices.
The last envelope, however, contained a letter and a return envelope. Puzzled, I read the letter.
“My name is Ian Holden, and I will soon be 16 years old. I am writing to you after reading the New Era magazine.
“Last Thursday, I went to Halingden Library, as I often do after school. I went into the reference/periodical room, where I usually read magazines, newspapers, or use the reference books. On looking through the magazines, I noticed one I had not seen before, the June 1976 edition of the New Era.
“After reading through the magazine and finding it very interesting, I decided to further my knowledge of the Latter-day Saints by asking my Religious Education teacher if I could borrow any books that she might have on the Mormons. The result was my reading a critical booklet. Although the booklet was very critical, I was still deeply attracted to finding out more.
“Therefore, I must ask you to help me find my ‘new era’ in life. Please could you send me further details of the Latter-day Saints. I know that my parents would not mind me becoming a Mormon.
“Please reply soon.
My head pounded with excitement as I shared the letter with the rest of the office staff. I immediately looked up the missionaries in Ian’s area. He lived in an area assigned to the zone leaders in one of the Preston zones. The zone leaders happened to be coming in that very morning for supplies.
When the zone leaders, Elders Brown and Johnston, arrived, I rushed them into my office and let them have the news. They were also very excited and said they would drop by the following evening and try to meet with Ian.
Meanwhile, I quickly sat down to the typewriter and composed a short note to Ian, telling him that the missionaries would be coming by. I added a few brief words on how his letter had touched me, and ended with my testimony. I popped it in the letterbox right before the morning mail was collected.
Four days had not passed when I received a letter from Ian. He said that Elders Brown and Johnston had come by, and he expressed some of his inner feelings concerning Joseph Smith and his gratitude for the missionaries who brought this message.
He also recounted a little opposition that he was going through in gaining a strong witness of the truth. It was evident that he was studying the message out very deeply and sincerely in his mind. He had become a little depressed and expressed his feelings of doubt. I wasn’t too worried because many investigators experience feelings of doubt before a real testimony is gained.
I quickly jotted another brief note to Ian, trying to motivate and comfort him. I also sent an inspiring poem that my mother had sent me.
I kept in close contact with Elder Brown and Elder Johnston as I was anxious to hear of Ian’s progression. They assured me things were fine.
Another week passed, and I received yet another letter. This letter was full of excitement. Ian openly expressed how he had felt as he received his answer. His letter radiated gratitude for the gospel and what it was already doing for him.
He said, “I know that Satan will try harder, but now I have a stronger armour. My armour of faith is growing. In contrast to last week, which was one of depression, I have experienced great happiness. Today, for the first time in many years, I almost cried with happiness.” He also expressed another very special thought—he hoped to serve a mission. My head burned within me as I tucked the treasured letter in my desk drawer.
Ian’s next letter contained the exciting news of his upcoming baptism on the 26th of October. He said, “When the elders gave me the challenge, my eyes quickly filled with tears and I found it hard to give a reply.” He also mentioned that he had the highest respect for all missionaries, and he was looking forward to the day when he would be a missionary himself.
Weeks have passed, and Ian continues to write to me and share with me his growing experiences as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Many people throughout the world are waiting to discover this “new era,” the gospel of Jesus Christ, as was this curious young man, Ian Holden.
Elder Mark E. Christensen
England Manchester Mission