Instant Messages

By Andrea Cartwright


[illustrations] Illustrations by Sam Lawlor

Food for Thought

For a school project, my friend was assigned to perform an act of kindness. Rather than doing something quick or convenient, my friend wanted to serve those around her in a real, meaningful way. She organized a group of us to make hundreds of sack lunches and distribute them to the homeless.

We stayed in groups for safety and walked around downtown San Diego with armfuls of bags. Some people were so anxious for food that they’d run across the street to take a bag. Most people we found were out on the sidewalks, sitting on piles of dirty sleeping bags and pieces of cardboard—all they owned sitting under or around them.

Oftentimes there would be an empty sleeping bag next to someone, and they would take an extra bag for their friend. These people, in all their need, were still thinking of others. I’ll never forget the look in one lady’s eyes when she pleaded, “Pray for us.” This humble woman had not turned her back on the Lord. She recognized, in all her despair, that the Lord had not forgotten her.

That night, I thanked Heavenly Father for all I had and sincerely prayed for those people—children of God who are often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of daily life. I realized that day that these were my spiritual brothers and sisters. And I was blessed to see others a little more as our Heavenly Father does.

I can’t change a world of hunger, but I can change myself. I made it a goal to pay more attention to others. Everyone around us needs nourishment—physical, spiritual, or otherwise. We can be instruments in the Lord’s hands to help fight that hunger, whether it’s with our food or with our love.

No Match on Sunday

A few years ago our son Russell was the USA Missouri State Wrestling Champion at 150 pounds. The finals were held on a Sunday. Russell was not a member of the Church then, and he had not had much formal Christian teaching. In the year after he won the championship, however, he joined the Church. During the championships that next year he won the semifinal match at 165 pounds on a Saturday evening and offered to wrestle his last opponent for the championship that same evening. His opponent refused to do so, and Russell walked away from the championship so that he could be in church, keeping the Sabbath holy, the next morning. Many people have told me that he shows exceptional character and devotion to his Heavenly Father. Russell has won many first-place medals, but for us, his second-place award for the state championship is by far his finest.

Lead Thou Me On

“Lead, Kindly Light” (Hymns, no. 97) is one of my favorite hymns because it continually talks about how we should let the Lord lead us. It teaches that God will never lead us astray, and He can certainly help us find the light when we are in darkness. Part of the second verse reads: “I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that thou / Shouldst lead me on. / I loved to choose and see my path; but now, / Lead thou me on!” I like this part because sometimes we don’t want Heavenly Father to guide us, and we want to do it on our own, but in the end we find out that we really do need the Lord’s help! We realize that even though we thought we could do it alone, we need Him. I know that God is always there to help us if we will ask, then listen and act upon the promptings He gives us!

[illustration] Jesus Christ © Simon Dewey—may not be copied

The Answer in Alma

One day while at work, I had a big argument with my manager. I felt really bad about it. From day one, I have not got on well with the manager. So I turned to the Lord and the scriptures for help and guidance.

I turned to Alma 26:27. I read Ammon’s words over and over to help me overcome these challenges that had me depressed about life and work.

“Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren … and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.”

After telling my manager about my beliefs, I told her that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My manager told me about her beliefs, and we have been able to respect each other. Because of that experience, my testimony has been so strong.