Steady growth. Good steady growth.
That is what we see with the expansion of the church in Virginia.
In 1841, Joseph Smith commented on the expansion of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He wrote about it in the Wentworth Letter:
” . . . the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” (Ensign July 2002).
We love the young people we see come into the church.
We are especially pleased with the testimony of the restoration expressed by the new members. Here are the thoughts of one new member.
“Sometimes God requires us to let go of the little we have so there is room for Him to grant us greater things. This is my case. I was content attending Florida International University in Miami, FL. I had made amazing friends, joined welcoming organizations and was excelling academically. All was good, however God had other plans for me. God desired that I would transfer schools. At this point in my life I was trying to form a stronger relationship with God. I no longer had my parents to tell me to pray or read my scriptures. I needed to learn to do these things on my own. Yet, this opportunity of independence from my family allowed the gift of dependence on God. Thus, when I received personal revelation that I must transfer it was an opportunity to see how much my relationship with God had grown. It allowed me to see how much I trusted God and how obedient I would be.”
“I applied to six schools, only one school accepted me and that school would facilitate my transfer expenses. Transferring was not easy. I had never been to Virginia and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had act with faith that God was going to guide my way. Thus, when I arrived at the University of Virginia, I expected that God’s purpose to bring me was so that I could receive a better college education. This is true, but God had something else in mind.”
“As I began to grow accustomed to UVA I started to realize there were Mormon missionaries on campus. The first time I saw them I felt a promoting to go and speak to them, yet I did not. The second time I saw them I felt a prompting to go and speak to them again, but I bluntly told God, “I don’t want to speak with the missionaries.” Let me tell you, it is never a good idea to argue with God. Finally, the third time I saw the missionaries I felt a such a strong surge of emotions I knew I had to speak to the missionaries immediately.”
“I went up to them and asked, are you guys elders and how can I get plugged into the church? Those words would change my life. Who would have thought that God wanted me to move to Virginia to become a Mormon. But here I am, just baptized and sharing my testimony. While learning the gospel through the missionaries and through members of the church I have been able to gain a clarity and understanding of God’s will that I asked constantly for God to grant me. God has answered my prayers. I know I still have much to learn, but I am eager to do so and progress as I endure to the end. For this reason I know this is the true church and where God desires me to be.”
Once again, we love the young people we see come into the church. We know they will be blessed as they make and keep sacred covenants. They are certainly a blessing in our lives.