For the first time ever, I read an issue from cover to cover. The May 2000 issue is great. Our home teachers bring the New Era, the Friend, and the Ensign to our family when they come. I’m thankful there are people in the Church who help out others even in the smallest ways. I made the decision to start going to church again in January of 1999. All of the articles in the May 2000 issue helped me, but “Behold, the Man,” “Coaching the Coach,” and “Slow-Motion Miracle” all have had a great influence on me.
I wanted to write you and thank you for your article “I Didn’t Fit In” (May 2000). When I read it, I felt so grateful that I was not the only one in this vast world that has experienced that feeling of stupidity when you stand up for what is right in a crowd of people who are not doing what’s right. My roommate recently invited me to go with her to another city to visit a friend she hadn’t seen in a while. I agreed to go with her simply because she is my friend and I wanted to support her. When we arrived at the house, I walked in and was overwhelmed by the smell and the smoke. Everyone was doing drugs. I crouched in the corner hoping they wouldn’t see me, but of course they did and they started pressuring me to smoke. It became so overwhelming that I ran outside, got in my roommate’s car, and just cried until she finally came back out. During that time, I prayed harder than I’ve ever prayed. I longed so badly to be surrounded by my good LDS friends. I realized that even standing up for what you believe in is not enough. You have to be in the right places because the Spirit will not dwell where others around you are doing things to drive it away.
Name Withheld (via e-mail)
I just received the June issue of the New Era, and I am so pleased you decided to make it all about missionary work. I can’t wait to go on a mission myself, but I can’t go until I’m 21. I’m only 16, so that seems like a long time to wait. But that issue has given me an idea of what to expect. I can’t wait to go into the MTC and have that feeling of love and companionship with other missionaries. I have read this issue cover to cover—and then some. Thank you so much for inspiring me and so many others with the little taste of a missionary’s life.
Littleton, Colorado (via e-mail)
I am writing this letter for two main reasons—one good and one, unfortunately, bad. I’ll start off with the good. My family and I enjoy reading the New Era every month, and it is obvious that it helps every individual in my family. The stories published somehow always come at the right time, and remarks given by youth always amaze me. I am, however, really sad to say that many people are disappointed that the New Era is mainly based about members of the Church in America. You will always notice that sometimes, and mostly every time, the New Era is only about members of the Church in the United States. In Australia, where I live, the youth do many wonderful things and are never mentioned like the youth are in America. You should widen your views on who to write certain topics on.
Sydney, Australia (via e-mail)
Editor’s note: Because we’re a small staff with a limited budget, we can’t possibly go to every place where there are Church members for articles. That’s why we rely on our readers to send us stories and story ideas from their areas. We’d love to hear from you.