Instant Messages

By Carol Ashby


Instant Messages features personal experiences, insights into 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 e-mail it to newera@ldschurch.org or send it to

New Era, Instant Messages
50 E. North Temple St. Rm. 2420
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA

Please limit submissions to 400 words or less. They may be edited for length and clarity.

[illustrations] Illustrations by Gregg Thorkelson

[photos] Photographs by Craig W. Dimond and PhotoDisc

“Get Help!”

It was Friday night and football season at my high school. As drum major of the marching band, I was having a great time cheering with the band and directing stand tunes. Then things changed drastically when I heard a desperate cry: “Get help! Jeff has stopped breathing!”

I found Jeff, a tuba player, lying across a bleacher, slipping in and out of consciousness and gasping for breath. Suddenly the all-important football game faded from significance. My number-one priority was to get help for Jeff. Paramedics arrived, and it wasn’t until after Jeff was safely on his way to the hospital that I even thought about checking the scoreboard.

After the game I realized that too many times in my own life I have allowed myself to get so involved in a fun yet unimportant event of life that I failed to recognize someone’s spiritual cry for help. During the football game it bothered me to watch Jeff struggle for breath and hear the cheers and laughter of fans that had no idea that anything was wrong.

I wonder how Heavenly Father must feel seeing some of His children suffer while others carry on, oblivious of the need for assistance. Heavenly Father loves His children and wants them to look out for each other, but we cannot do that unless we tune in to others’ needs. I pray that I will not let myself be so absorbed in the routines and events of life that I fail to hear a child of God’s cry for help.

An Honor Earned

Because my parents were busy providing for all five of my brothers and sisters, I developed at a young age a self-motivated attitude towards Scouting.*

As I entered high school, I faced the decision of whether to complete my Eagle Scout. As I talked to my friends, they ridiculed the idea of finishing my Eagle.

One day I watched President Thomas S. Monson give a talk on TV on the importance of achieving the rank of Eagle and how much it helps young men. His words motivated me to try my hardest despite what my friends thought about getting my Eagle. So from that day on I made a goal for myself. I knew from that moment on that with the Lord’s help and my willingness to work hard, I would reach my goal.

Because my parents weren’t forcing me to get my Eagle, it was something I decided in my heart that I was going to do. Even though Scouting wasn’t popular in my particular culture, I followed the guidance of my counselor, and at the end I knew that sticking to this goal made me a better person.

If we follow what the Lord wants us to do and stick to positive goals, He will help us through any situation. This experience taught me that no matter what obstacles or challenges come my way, the Lord will help me overcome my shortcomings and weakness (see Ether 12:27). It doesn’t matter what background we come from or if we are rich or poor. We can achieve our goals because we have the Lord by our side.

*This young man is from the United States, but in many countries outside North America, Scouting is not an official Church program.

Looking Up

I love seminary. I have often felt the Spirit there and have left feeling like a better person. On one particular day, however, I not only left feeling the Spirit, but I left with an answer to prayer.

The night before that particular day, I had asked Heavenly Father if the Church was true. After my prayer, I felt peaceful, but I was still not sure. I decided I would sleep on it.

The next day, my seminary teacher started the lesson with a video of some of the General Authorities bearing their testimonies. I felt the Spirit burning inside of me as we talked about testimonies and how little things can strengthen them.

He then put in another video of testimonies of kids who went to my school. I stared at the screen waiting for someone I knew. I saw some people I recognized, but I saw no close friends.

Then it happened. A girl I look up to so much appeared on the screen. As I looked into her eyes, she bore her testimony about Christ’s Atonement. Then she said these words: “I know this Church is true.” The Spirit overcame me. I realized my prayer was answered, and it was answered by one of the people that I look up to the most.

Heavenly Father knew that I needed to hear someone very close to me share her testimony of the Church. I am so grateful for the strong testimonies my friends have. Heavenly Father does answer our prayers.

Everyday Scriptures

I never used to find time to read the scriptures daily, especially with waking up early to go to school and long hours of homework. The only times I read were at Sunday School, in Young Women class, and a couple of times a week for family scripture study. Despite all the promised blessings of daily scripture reading, I always put off my personal study. That is, until my cousin came to visit.

My cousin, a student at Brigham Young University–Idaho, was my roommate at our home while she worked at a Church ranch in Florida. Every night she would pray and read her scriptures and, since the light was on anyway, I would join her. Gradually, I developed the habit also, and when she went back to Idaho, I continued personal scripture study on my own.

I know there is a lot more I need to read and understand, but daily reading has truly blessed me. The scriptures have come to life for me, especially in Nephi, Mosiah, and Alma. Whenever I begin to murmur and complain, I can look back to what I have learned in the scriptures and make changes in my life.

It is fun to find the stories I learned when I was in Primary and read the complete versions from the sacred records of God’s prophets. I am so thankful for the example my cousin set by studying the scriptures daily. I know scripture study has helped and will continue to help me throughout my life.