I was 10 or 11 years old. Aunt Kristen, Devin, Corey and I were relaxing in a gray raft in the middle of Mirror Lake, fishing. I was hoping to catch an albino trout--something about a fish being albino just made them more exciting. Tall mountain peaks, principally Bald Mountain, towered up into the sky blocking the skies around us. Without any warning, a storm rushed over the lake and a downpour of rain and lightning began to rage around us. Aunt Kristen, bless your heart, began paddling with all her might towards the shore amidst the stormy waves. Corey and Devin began to cry a little, and I said a little silent prayer, a child's plea for safety. All my lessons about electricity in Mrs. Beckstrand's 3rd grade class began rushing back to my mind and I remembered strongly that lightning and water don't get along. Amidst wind, storm, rain, and lighting we made it safely to shore, my blessed Aunt paddling we 3 little ones all the way. When we arrived, our families were anxiously awaiting. They helped us out of the water and on to safe shores, where we quickly changed into warm clothes and cuddled up in our sleeping bags in the warm safety of our tents. I didn't find out till after I was in the warm safety of shelter that I had, amidst the storm, caught an albino trout at the end of my pole.
I have reflected upon this experience from my childhood this week as we have encountered hundreds of people truly lost in the sins of the world, lost in the tempests of temptation that rage recklessly around us. My heart breaks for every pregnant teenage mother, every smoker, every youth with gaged ears, every drunkard in the street, people that we pass by and try to teach daily. My heart breaks to see the sins of the world and the confusion that the Adversary invokes in the hearts of the people. I want them, so desperately, to stop and listen to the message we have to share! They are lost amidst a storm that will not stop until the Savior comes, in a relentless sea with winds and beasts of men and devils.Where is their pilot? Where is their lighthouse?
I have also been reflecting this week upon the story that we read in Ether about the Brother of Jared and his people. Under the direction of Father in Heaven, they build 8 barges to cross the sea to the Americas. The Brother of Jared supplicates the Lord for the light that his family needs during the journey by touching the 16 stones that he forms out of ore. The Lord grants his request, and the 16 stones shine to light their way during their year-long journey. In Ether 6:3 it says, "And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness." Although they were many times "Buried in the depths of the sea," they had light during the storms. Verse 7 we read "And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah, therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters." Finally, after a journey of wind, hail, storm, they finally land in the promised land. It states in verse 8 "It came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters, and thus they were driven forth before the wind." The winds NEVER ceased for them. But they were lighted and guided along their way. They made it safely to shore, and once there, they sang praises of thanks to the Lord.
My dear family, Where is our lighted stones of our day, to guide us amidst the troubled waters where we find ourselves? I want to testify that they are the scriptures, they are the words of the living prophets, our light comes from family values and choosing only to watch clean media and choosing to share the gospel with other people. Where is our light? I KNOW that as we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and his servants we will be strong, we will have the power to make it to Shore as Aunt Kristen did and the people of the Brother of Jared. It does not matter what faces us. If we hold fast to that which we know, we will not fear however wicked this world becomes. We will not only be guided by light, but will also become lights for others to follow during the storm. See "Brightly Beams our Father´s Mercy" in the hymnbook for more details. "Master, the Tempest is Raging" and "Jesus Savior, Pilot me."
Sometimes we may think that we can go a day without reading the book of Mormon, or why we should have to listen to old folks talk about food storage in general conference. DONT LISTEN TO THOSE THOUGHTS! Remember the Titanic? Nobody thought it could be sunk. And then this giant ship, this unbreakable, unbeatable, great artwork of a Ship got Sunk by the piercing of an iceberg. Remember the song? "It was sad . . . SO SAD! It was Sad . . . SO SAD! It was sad when the great ship went down, to the bottom of the SEA . . . " (I have Dad's voice singing it in my mind right now.) We cannot afford to sink. Never forsake your light, never forsake the lighthouses on the shore--the Apostles and Prophets. And never forget the master who calmed the storms of Galilee and gave Peter the power to walk on Water. Our Savior does the same for us in the latter days. But we can never afford to take our eyes off him, or we will lose our faith and sink among the waves.
I love you. Keep the faith. Keep your light! And other seamen will be saved by your example as you shine. I love you all with all my heart!
Con todo mi alma,