By Cristina B. Franco
Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency
We have a loving Father in Heaven, who is waiting for us to turn to Him to bless our lives and the lives of those around us.
One of my favorite Primary songs begins with these words:
I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I know who I am.
I know God’s plan.
I’ll follow him in faith.
I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ.1
What a simple and beautiful statement of the truths we believe!
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know who we are. We know that “God is the Father of our spirits. We are … His children, and He loves us. We lived [with Him in heaven] before we [came to] earth.”
We know God’s plan. We were there with Him as He presented it. Our Father in Heaven’s “whole purpose—His work and His glory—is to enable each of us to enjoy all His blessings. He … provided a perfect plan to accomplish His purpose. We understood and accepted this plan … of happiness, … redemption, and … salvation” before we came to earth.
“Jesus Christ is central to God’s plan. Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ fulfilled His Father’s purpose and made it possible for each of us to enjoy immortality and exaltation. Satan, or the devil, is an enemy to God’s plan” and has been from the beginning.
“Agency, or the ability to choose, is one of God’s greatest gifts to His children. … We must choose whether to follow Jesus Christ or follow Satan.”2
These are simple truths we can share with others.
Let me tell you of a time when my mother shared such simple truths by simply being open to having a conversation and recognizing an opportunity.
Many years ago, my mother was returning to Argentina for a visit with my brother. My mom never really liked flying, so she asked one of my sons to give her a blessing of comfort and protection. He felt prompted to also bless his grandma with special guidance and direction from the Holy Ghost to strengthen and touch the hearts of many who were desirous to learn of the gospel.
At the Salt Lake airport, my mother and brother met a seven-year-old girl who was returning home from a skiing trip with her family. Her parents noticed how long she had been talking to my mom and brother and decided to join them. They introduced themselves and their daughter as Eduardo, Maria Susana, and Giada Pol. There was a natural and warm connection to this sweet family.
Both families were excited to be traveling together on the same flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina. As their conversation continued, my mother noted that until that moment, they’d never heard about the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
One of the first questions Susana asked was “Would you tell me about that beautiful museum with the golden statue on top?”
My mom explained that the beautiful edifice was not a museum but a temple of the Lord where we make covenants with God so we can return to live with Him one day. Susana confessed to my mom that before their trip to Salt Lake, she had prayed for something to strengthen her spirit.
During the flight, my mom bore her simple but strong testimony of the gospel and invited Susana to find the missionaries in her hometown. Susana asked my mom, “How will I find them?”
My mom replied, “You can’t miss them; they are either two young men dressed in white shirts and ties or two nicely dressed young women, and they always wear a tag showing their name and also ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’”
The families exchanged phone numbers and said goodbye at the Buenos Aires airport. Susana, who since then has become my good friend, has told me many times that she felt so sad to leave my mom at the airport. She said, “Your mom glowed. I can’t explain it, but she had a brightness about her that I didn’t want to leave behind.”
As soon as Susana got back to her hometown, she and her daughter, Giada, went to share this experience with Susana’s mom, who lived just a few blocks away from their home. As they were driving, Susana happened to see two young men walking down the street dressed as my mom had described. She stopped her car in the middle of the street, got out, and asked these two young men, “Are you by chance from the Church of Jesus Christ?”
They said, “Yes.”
“Missionaries?” she asked.
They both replied, “Yes, we are!”
She then said, “Get into my car; you’re coming home to teach me.”
Two months later, Maria Susana was baptized. Her daughter, Giada, was also baptized when she turned nine. We are still working on Eduardo, whom we love no matter what.
Since then, Susana has become one of the greatest missionaries I have ever met. She is like the sons of Mosiah, bringing many souls to Christ.
In one of our conversations, I asked her, “What is your secret? How do you share the gospel with others?”
She told me, “It is very simple. Every day before I leave my house, I pray, asking Heavenly Father to direct me to someone who needs the gospel in their life. I sometimes take a Book of Mormon to share with them or pass-along cards from the missionaries—and when I start talking to someone, I simply ask them if they have heard about the Church.”
Susana also said, “Other times I just smile while I am waiting for the train. One day a man looked at me and said, ‘What are you smiling about?’ He kind of caught me off guard.
“I replied, ‘I’m smiling because I’m happy!’
“He then said, ‘And what are you so happy about?’
“I answered, ‘I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that makes me happy. Have you heard about it?’”
When he said no, she gave him a pass-along card and invited him to attend the upcoming Sunday services. The following Sunday, she greeted him at the door.
President Dallin H. Oaks taught:
“There are three things all members can do to help share the gospel. …
“First, we can all pray for desire to help with this vital part of the work of salvation. …
“Second, we can keep the commandments. … Faithful members will always have the Savior’s Spirit … with them to guide them as they seek to participate in the great work of sharing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Third, we can pray for inspiration on what we can do … to share the gospel with others … [and] pray with a commitment to act upon the inspiration [we] receive.”3
Brothers, sisters, children, and youth, can we be like my friend Susana and share the gospel with others? Can we invite a friend who is not of our faith to come to church with us on Sunday? Or can we perhaps share a copy of the Book of Mormon with a relative or a friend? Can we help others find their ancestors on FamilySearch or share with others what we have learned during the week as we have been studying Come, Follow Me? Can we be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ, and share with others what brings us joy to our lives? The answer to all of these questions is yes! We can do it!
In the scriptures we read that “members of the Church of Jesus Christ are sent forth ‘to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men’ (Doctrine and Covenants 138:56). This work of salvation includes member missionary work, convert retention, activation of less-active members, temple and family history work, and teaching the gospel.”4
My dear friends, the Lord needs us to gather Israel. In the Doctrine and Covenants, He has said, “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.”5
In addition, He has promised us:
“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
“And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”6
The Primary song I began with concludes with this profound statement:
I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’ll honor his name.
I’ll do what is right;
I’ll follow his light.
His truth I will proclaim.7
I bear witness that these words are true and that we have a loving Father in Heaven, who is waiting for us to turn to Him to bless our lives and the lives of those around us. May we have the desire to bring our brothers and sisters to Christ is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.