When I was just a young girl, I became seriously ill. Each day the illness became increasingly severe. Nothing the doctor recommended helped. At that time the dreaded disease of polio was raging in almost epidemic proportions in the land. It was taking the lives of many, and those who didn’t die were often left crippled.
One night my illness became critical, and my father and grandfather administered to me using consecrated oil, and through the power of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood, which they held worthily, they called upon God for healing, help, guidance, and comfort. And then my parents took me to a doctor in another town who immediately sent us to the hospital—two and one-half hours away—with the admonition to hurry. I overheard the doctor whisper that he was certain it was polio.
When we finally arrived at the hospital in Salt Lake, there were medical personnel waiting for us. They grabbed me from my parents’ arms and whisked me away. Without a word of good-bye or explanation, we were separated. I was all alone, and I thought I was going to die.
Following the painful diagnostic procedures, including a spinal tap, they took me to a hospital isolation room, where I would stay by myself with the hope that I would not infect anyone else, for indeed I did have polio.
I remember how very frightened I was. It was dark, and I was so sick and so alone. But my parents had taught me to pray. I got on my knees, and I knelt beside the railing in the criblike bed and asked Heavenly Father to bless me. I was crying, I remember. Heavenly Father heard my prayer and sent His comforting power, which enveloped me in quiet love. I felt the power of the Holy Ghost, and I was not alone.
You too are loved by the Lord. You are loved more than you will ever know. He wants you to be successful in your life’s mission! You don’t have to face the experiences of this life alone, nor have you been sent here to fail.
For this reason a holy gift was given to you at the time of your baptism and confirmation, when hands were placed on your head and you were told, “Receive the Holy Ghost.” It is almost as if your Father in Heaven gave you a gift to celebrate your official entrance into His kingdom on earth. The Holy Spirit can be with you always and guide you back to Him, but in order to enjoy the benefits of this holy gift, you must truly receive it, and then you must use it in your life.
The Holy Spirit has the power to guide. A 15-year-old girl felt that she needed to find new friends. She wrote to the Young Women office, “Now, I don’t know if you have ever had to change friends, but it honestly was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.” She decided to put her problem in the hands of the Lord, and she also counseled with her parents. She says that after several months “she wanted to just give up.”
One afternoon she was casually talking to her seminary teacher, and she confided her problem to him. Then he said, “I really don’t know why I am asking you this, but do you happen to know these girls?”
This girl answered with a yes. And then he said, “Have you ever thought about being friends with them?”
“I told him that there was no way that I could fit in with them. He then asked me if he could talk to one of the girls. I decided I would let him, if he promised not to embarrass me.
“Well, that next day I received a phone call from one of the girls. Now, you have to understand that this girl was on student council, and I hate to use the term, but she was ‘extremely popular.’ She asked if I would like to go to the basketball game with her that night. It was one of the funnest, most peaceful nights of my life. The next day at school, she introduced me to two other girls. We all instantly became friends.”
She concludes by saying, “I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have the Lord, who knows the outcome of everything, direct my life than me, who just sees things as they are at the time. He is right by our side, walking us through life, even when we feel so alone.”
Your Heavenly Father will help you find the right path as you seek His guidance. Remember though, after you pray you must get off your knees and start doing something positive; head in the right direction! He will send people along the way who will assist you, but you must be doing your part as well. By the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, you can be guided in your trip through life.
The Holy Ghost is also a testifier. This Holy Spirit can help you really understand deep down inside the most important truth ever known—that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that because of Him every one of us who ever lived will one day live again. And because of Him we can repent of wrongdoing and get on the path that leads us back to our Heavenly Father. That is what the Atonement is. The Holy Spirit will testify of that truth to our hearts as we seek to know, and He testifies to others as we bear our testimony of these truths to them.
The Holy Spirit is a comforter, a guide, a testifier. And you have the right to His influence and inspiration! How blessed and loved you are! Now, because you have been given so much, you too must give. And so, with this in mind, we would like to make a very special request of you. It is an invitation, really, and we hope you will accept it, and we hope you will act upon it.
Will you reach out and bring one other young woman or young man into full activity in the Church this coming year? Surely each one of you knows of someone who is less active or a recent convert or who is not a member. We are asking you to reach out and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with one other young person so that they can also enjoy the sweet blessings of heaven.
Think of how many lives would be blessed, how many young people could be comforted and guided and have stronger testimonies. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in your effort. Your parents and your leaders will also help you know what to do and how to do it. We will be eager to learn of your experiences and your successes.