INSTANT MESSAGES is a new section that features personal experiences, favorite hymns and scriptures, and other uplifting thoughts. If you have a personal experience that has strengthened your testimony and you’d like us to consider it for Instant Messages, please send it to

New Era
Instant Messages
50 E. North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

Or e-mail it to

Please limit submissions to 300 words. They may be edited for length and clarity.

No Time?

“Let’s go! They’re waiting for us,” I said anxiously. I was nervous, the crowd was waiting, and I was ready to perform.

My friends Carson, Mark, Tyson, Bryce, and I had formed a dance group called Saturday Knights. After performing well in a competition, our group had become well known in the community. Tonight we were dancing during the intermission of a scholarship pageant.

As we were about to go on stage, Mark suggested we say a prayer. We always have a prayer before and after each performance.

“No, let’s just go,” I said. “They’re waiting for us. We don’t have time.”

Mark looked at me intently and said firmly, “There is never enough time to thank the Lord for all He has given us. We have time to pray.”

I was struck dumb. I stood there feeling terrible. Correcting myself, I knelt with my friends, said a prayer of thanksgiving, and then went on stage.

Mark’s comment gave me a new perspective on gratitude. He was right. There really isn’t enough time to thank Heavenly Father for all of His countless blessings. Because of Mark’s example, my testimony was strengthened. I have never forgotten his words, and my life has been greatly blessed because of them.

[photo] Photograph by John Luke

Todd Christensen is a member of the La Costa Ward, Del Mar California Stake.

Hymn in My Heart

The day before I left for my mission, youth from our area gathered for a meeting. For the closing hymn we sang “Be Still, My Soul” (Hymns, no. 124). While singing I could feel my nervousness and worries vanish, and warm feelings replace them. I could feel every word of the hymn being engraved in my heart.

Now as I serve in the Lord’s vineyard, this hymn still helps me. When discouragement comes, I think, “Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake.” When challenges seem too heavy, I remember that “thru thorny ways [the Lord] leads to a joyful end.” I know if I bear my part well, “all safe and blessed we shall meet at last” as we live forever with the Lord.

Clausel M. Nsondi is a member of the Rennes Branch, Rennes France District.

Sundays with Sylvia

“Sister Sylvia Gaitan was in a four-car freeway accident last week,” explained my Young Men president. “She’s in the Westlake Medical Center, and we need someone to take her the sacrament.”

“Westlake?!” I thought to myself. That was at least a 20-minute drive.

I pleaded for volunteers. One hand went up. “I don’t have a car,” said Russell, “but I’ll go with someone.”

On the way to Westlake, I said to Russell, “Next week we’ll make someone else take this time-consuming drive.”

We arrived at the hospital and wasted a few minutes getting lost. When we finally found Sister Gaitan’s room, my heart fell right into my stomach. Not even five feet tall, she seemed even smaller lying in a giant hospital bed surrounded by medical equipment. Looking at her I immediately felt guilty for having complained.

“How are you feeling, Sister Gaitan?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m all right,” she said, “but I’ll be much better after they perform those two surgeries they keep telling me I need.” I was amazed by how upbeat she was.

Russell and I blessed the small piece of bread we had brought and then blessed the water in her hospital drinking cup. She was so grateful to us for coming. I smiled and said, “We’re just doing our priesthood duty.”

I decided that I would bring the sacrament to her the next week, too. I took Sister Gaitan the sacrament every week until she recovered. Seeing her always made my day brighter.

The brightest day was when I saw her back at church for the first time. I was happy, not because I no longer had to drive to the hospital each week but because she was finally able to take the sacrament with her ward family.

I’m grateful I was able to take Sister Gaitan the sacrament, but I’m even more grateful that she taught me to fulfill my priesthood duties with a smile and a happy attitude.

Brandon E. Barrick is a member of the Springwood Ward, North Salt Lake Utah Stake.

Bullies on the Bus

One day as I was riding the bus to school, some boys who sit in the back were throwing paper balls everywhere. That didn’t really bother me, until I heard one of them say, “Hey, let’s throw them at those Mormons.”

These boys didn’t like me, my friends, or any of the other “Mormons” who ride the bus. They threw paper balls at us and swore a lot.

I wanted to shout at them and tell them to be quiet. I wanted to really lose my temper, but then I had a peaceful feeling. A thought came to mind that said, “It is okay to be proud to be a member of the Church. Try not to listen to their bad language.” The thought brightened my day, and I’m glad I chose not to lose my temper.

That night I prayed that they wouldn’t do the same bad things again the next day, and they didn’t. I’m so glad that I had the Spirit of the Lord with me, and I’m glad that my prayers were answered.

Emily Halversen is a member of the Hunter Third Ward, Salt Lake Hunter Stake.

The Way Is Prepared

A few months ago I was having trouble keeping the commandments. One morning as I was reading my scriptures, I read 1 Nephi 10:18 [1 Ne. 10:18]: “And the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.”

That verse gave me the courage I needed to speak to my bishop. Because of my example one of my closest friends, who also was struggling, spoke to her bishop, as well. Then we were able to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.

I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and that His Son Jesus Christ atoned for our sins. I’m grateful for this knowledge.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Sam Lawlor