This is a world of conflict. Everywhere you look, on television, at the movies, and maybe even at school, there is fighting. This spirit of contention is not what Heavenly Father wants us to have (see 3 Ne. 11:29).
by Tamara Leatham Bailey
The Lord has told us he will give us peace (John 14:27). By sharing this gift we can become peacemakers:
For personal peace—
Strive every day to make Christ the center of your life. This solid foundation will bring you peace of mind and strengthen you in all of your activities.
Make prayer and scripture study a part of your daily routine.
Make use of the gift of repentance. True peace is only possible with an unburdened conscience.
Don’t compare yourself with others. Accept who you are and do your very best all of the time.
To help others find peace—
Accept and love your family members. Find the things you like in each person and focus on those attributes. When you have an opportunity to pay a family member a compliment, do it!
Speak kindly. Remember the saying “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Allow others to express differing opinions without a quarrel. Variety keeps life exciting, and that includes opinions. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but recognize and respect the right of others to have their own views.
Express your own opinions calmly.
Join in when your family prays together. When it is your turn to pray, pray for peace and love in your home.
Share the gospel of peace by bearing your testimony.
Respect the religious beliefs of others (see A of F 1:11).
Let your actions represent your beliefs. Sportsmanship, honesty, and fair play will help to create peace.
Serve others. Even small acts of service can bring peace to another person.
Pay a generous fast offering. This money is used to help people throughout the world who are in need. This gift can help bring others peace of mind.
Forgive and forget the wrongs done to you.
Ask forgiveness of others.
Spread the peace that is in your heart by spreading the gospel daily and serving a full-time mission when the opportunity comes to you.
Toward the end of his high school career, Mike Schwartz of the Malad Idaho First Ward, Malad Idaho Stake, started having nightmares about people forcing him to stay home from school. There was nothing he could do but just give in and stay home.
Sound more like a dream come true to you? Well, Mike was working toward a goal very few people ever achieve. In all of his schooling, Mike has never missed a day of school. That’s right, beginning with his first day of finger painting, and ending with his high school commencement, Mike has had perfect attendance.
In order to be in school all 2,340 days, Mike relied on good luck, good health, and help from his family.
“My family never put pressure on me to miss school,” Mike told an Idaho newspaper reporter. “In fact, when I was going to miss a day for my grandpa’s funeral, they encouraged me, saying Grandpa would want me to keep my perfect attendance.” Mike went to the funeral, but only missed a few hours of school, instead of the whole day.
Mike’s determination and perseverance has also helped him be a leader in his Aaronic Priesthood quorums and in his high school sports endeavors. Mike is now using his time management skills and determination to help him on his mission in the Texas Houston Mission.
Everyone likes to feel the support of friends and loved ones, and bishops are no exception. When Bishop Robert Stevens of the Mountain View 11th Ward, West Jordan Utah Mountain View Stake, faced his first Sunday at church sporting a new “hairdo”—he had lost his hair because of chemotherapy he is undergoing—the deacons and teachers decided to show their support in an unusual way.
“We shaved our heads so that my dad wouldn’t feel out of place,” says Jonathan Stevens, the bishop’s 13-year-old son. “We wanted it to be a surprise, so we all had to hide from him until Sunday at church. I could tell it made him feel really good, and we all felt great too.”
The bishop is expecting a full recovery.
The youth of the Dublin (California) Ward and the Pleasanton Second Ward had to move quickly. With just three days’ notice from Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, they pulled together a group to put on a party for all the cardiology patients and their families.
The youth manned refreshment tables, a popcorn machine, face-painting booths, and the check-in table. They also gave instruction in ’50s style dancing.
“It was so fun to watch the kids learn that dance,” says Jessica Cooper. “Every single one of them was smiling. It really made me feel good.”
“I’m not sure who had more fun,” says Beth Patterson, “us or the kids!”
Priests Doug Lloyd and Zac White know that school is important. After being on their school’s Academic Decathlon team, it might seem as if that is the only thing that’s important to them—they brought home nine gold medals in their regional competition in varying subjects. All that gold has earned them the nickname “the Golden Boys.”
But these boys from Petaluma, California, both know there are other things that are important, too. Things like keeping the Sabbath day holy. In order to participate, Doug and Zac had to convince the team that not studying on Sunday was a good idea. Because of their persistence, the team agreed to study on a weekday instead.
“Most of the team was actually pretty good about it,” says Zac.
Doug adds, “We actually spent more time studying during the week than we would have on Sunday, so the whole team benefitted.”
Zac and Doug are also successful in sports and Scouts. And they are active in early-morning seminary—further proof that these golden boys know real treasure when they see it.
Randy Thomas and Heather Young, both members of the Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake, take their dogs to church on Sunday. They also take them to stores, schools, restaurants, airports and other public places.
How do they get away with it?
Actually, Randy and Heather are encouraged to do all these things. The dogs they take care of—a new puppy every year—will eventually belong to a blind person and will be their “eyes” when they go out in the world.
“Initially, I got into this project because I liked the idea of getting a new puppy every year,” says Heather. “It’s hard to let them go after you train them and bond with them for a whole year, but it feels good to know that you’re helping someone else.”
Randy, Heather, and all of the other youth involved in the project give mobility and freedom to hundreds of people each year.
“Once I first picked up the harness handle I knew that the world of possibilities now lay at my fingertips,” says one recipient.
For Heather and Randy, comments like that make it all worthwhile.
The American Young Men and Young Women living in Bonn, Germany, hosted a night of Halloween activities for their German, Spanish, French, English, and Filipino friends.
“We gave a workshop called ‘How to Carve a Jack-o’-lantern,’” says Terri Lutz, a Laurel who helped to plan the activity.
Since carving pumpkins is an American tradition, most of the youth had never even heard of it, much less done it.
“As they plunged their hands inside the pumpkin to scoop the ‘goop’ out, you could tell that some of them were questioning this strange American tradition,” says Terri.
After the pumpkins were carved and everyone had a chance to clean up, they ate—what else?—pumpkin cookies and pumpkin bread!
The activity helped bring the youth closer together, says Terri. “We were able to overcome the language barrier and enjoy one another’s company.”
Anita Harlow, a 16-year-old in Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia, is a year-11 student at a private college (equivalent to American high school), and one of only six LDS students. Every year, students take a class titled “Christian Knowledge” in which they study basic Christian theology as well as other religions.
The Christian Knowledge coordinator at the school, Ian Hauser, asked Anita and her parents to review the material the school had on the LDS church. To the Harlows’ dismay, much of the material was anti-Mormon and contained a great deal of misinformation. Because Mr. Hauser respected Anita and her beliefs, he asked Anita and her parents to advise him about the best way to be fair in representing the facts.
“We proposed the idea that we would get people from the Church to come in and talk about us, instead of using the books they had. Mr. Hauser was absolutely wonderful. He and school officials agreed to our proposal,” says Anita.
Anita credits much of her success in the subject of Christian Knowledge to the material she learns in seminary. Anita is on the school Spiritual Development Committee, which plans school devotional activities, and has been instrumental in teaching her fellow students about the restored gospel.
David Brown, a 15-year-old from Leigh Ward, Liverpool England Stake, is surrounded by missionary opportunities. As an associate school boy for one of England’s major league football teams, Oldham Athletic, David has plenty of people to share the gospel with.
Prior to playing for Oldham Athletic, David played for the Little Moss team in Manchester, scoring 32 goals in six games. David made the difficult decision to leave the team after two successful seasons when they tried to get him to play on Sunday.
David is not only a superior athlete, he makes sure he finds time for the truly important things in life—like seminary.
“It’s tiring getting up so early each day, but worth it. Seminary is a very good start to my day.”