A few weeks ago, Church member Jayne Lucas from Laval, Quebec, was on a video call with some friends and mentioned how hard it can be to be a young single adult right now. She then shared her hope for specific guidance and encouragement in upcoming general conference.
“Little did I know that our Heavenly Father was already a few steps ahead of us,” she reflected after listening to a special devotional broadcast with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, on Sunday, Feb. 21.
Elder and Sister Andersen, both speaking fluent French, offered counsel and encouragement to French-speaking young adult Latter-day Saints around the world in one of six devotionals in the next month by senior Church leaders targeted to members ages 18-30.
Rebecca Constant, a member in the French archipelago of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, commented on the special blessing it was to hear from Elder Andersen in her own language. “Watching this spiritual meeting, I was first touched because it is the first time that Church leaders have spoken to us in French without the help of translators.”
From Africa to Tahiti and Canada to France, young adults shared their appreciation, impressions and lessons they learned from the Spirit after having the unique opportunity to hear an Apostle in their native language.(Responses have been translated and edited for length and clarity.)
Read more: In devotional to French-speaking young adults, Elder Andersen extends 6 belief-related admonitions
Sarah Rebecca Stecie Pierre, Frères Ward, Port-au-Prince Haiti North Stake: “Brother and Sister Anderson, I am happy for your beautiful words. I am moved to know that I am a girl who plays an important part to complete the coming of my [Savior]. I have great faith in our Heavenly Father, and I know that He helps me overcome my trials and walk through dark paths. …
“I know I am a daughter of God and his love for me is like grains of sand that no one can count; I know he knows me, and he knows my heart.
Joseph Brigham Dupont, Fontamara Ward, Port-au-Prince Haiti Stake: “I am at a time in my life when I need to make big, good decisions, and today through the inspired words of Brother and Sister Andersen, I have learned that my faith matters much more than I imagined. I know the Lord is here and always hears my prayers. I also know that I need to develop much more faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ. They know me personally and want me to progress on this Earth.”
Sister Franceline Saint Cyr, Cote Plage Ward, Carrefour Haiti Stake: “I liked to hear that I am a daughter of God and that He knows me personally. Knowing that I have divine qualities prompts me to make every effort to keep the commandments and stand up for my faith no matter what. We must keep in mind that no matter our race, our culture, our level of study or our social class, we are a daughter, or a son, of God and our worth is infinite.”
Fabrice Jonathan Augustin, Côte Plage Ward, Carrefour Haiti Stake: “I have learned that faith is real; it is an intrinsic part of each of us. We must believe that we can talk to our Father in Heaven, believe that the kingdom of God is unfolding throughout the world and that each of us is an important element in the preparation for the Second Coming of the Savior Jesus Christ. If we keep the commandments and pray, the Lord will grow our faith, and we can know the things of God.”
Daryl Michaud, Petit Place Cazeau Ward, Croix-des-Missions Haiti Stake: “I am returned full-time missionary this year. This devotional of Sister and Elder Andersen was very inspiring for me. I was very touched by these messages.
“As His sons and daughters, we can talk with Him in prayers and He will answer us as our Father. We should be witnesses of the Savior Jesus Christ. What called my attention was the invitation of Elder Andersen to us to not fear to express our faith with those who do not have the knowledge of the restored gospel.”
Sister Rebecca Constant, Lamentin Branch, Guadeloupe District: “One of the subtitles discussed, which I like, is: ‘Believe That Others You Know Will Embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ.’ We should not lose hope even if we have already shared the gospel with some of our family or friends and they are not at all interested. We must continue to persevere in our efforts by being good examples, by sharing experiences that edify us and allow us to progress.
“As I reread this subtitle, I realized that by writing each preparation day to my loved ones, who are mostly non-members, I could do missionary work. By recounting my missionary and spiritual experiences during the week, by sharing a scripture studied personally or with my companions, by speaking of times when I have been able to feel the Holy Spirit in my heart, I fulfill my mission, which is to share my joy in living the gospel with those around me. …
“I know, like Elder Andersen said, God is a God of miracles. Nothing is impossible. We just have to keep the faith, continue to apply what we already apply in our life and persevere even if sometimes it is difficult, that we have doubts and that we wonder if what we are doing is really useful.”
Diana Joelle, Antananarivo, Madagascar: “Very uplifting devotional, the songs were beautiful. I learned the principles of faith, hope and repentance. I felt prompted to pray more and so that we can draw closer to our Heavenly Father, feel the Spirit, serve.”
Stephy Mong Yen, Puurai Ward, Faaa Tahiti Takaroa Stake: “I feel like I belonged here among young adults, at this devotional with Apostle Neil L. Andersen.
“During the spiritual meeting what touched me the most was Sister Andersen when she spoke about prayer.
“At times in my life I was saying ‘Oh Heavenly Father, can’t He hear my prayers?’ But Sister Andersen’s message answered my doubts. I know the Lord really answers my prayers. Knowing this strengthened and comforted me. I am grateful for coming today.
“It has been six years since I left the Church and it has been almost two months since I have returned to full activity in the Church. I am so happy and grateful to be back because that’s what was missing in my life, the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I can say loud and clear that I am proud to be a member of the Church.”
Chris Delord, Orovini Ward, Papeete Tahiti Stake: “At this devotional, I especially felt the Spirit when Elder Andersen spoke. I did not particularly prepare myself before coming, but I had high expectations from this spiritual meeting.
“And coming here and hearing his message, it made me want to continue with my goals that I have set for myself this year, including prayer, and scriptures study. It is truly a blessing to have this spiritual meeting because it strengthens my testimony and my knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Tiare Tipuu, Oremu Ward, Faaa Tahiti Takaroa Stake: “I was deeply touched by Elder Andersen’s message when he said to believe that others around you will embrace the gospel. I’m the only member of my family, and it’s really hard to be alone. But now I have hope that other members of my family will accept the gospel.
“I was also touched by Sister Andersen when she encouraged us to pray in our times of weaknesses, because Heavenly Father is always there. I am struggling and it reassures me and tells me that I’m never alone. He is always there for me.”
Lizzy Kasongo, Limete Ward, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake: “We are all a piece of the puzzle, and as we work together with patience we will see the glory of Christ and that of the Father on the last day. I also understood that we have infinite potential like Enoch despite our weaknesses.”
Arnold Monga, Kintambo Ward, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake: “Sister and Elder Andersen reminded us young adults that we have a Father who is there to listen to us during this time and that through prayer we can communicate with Him.”
Benjamin Mutombo, Yolo Ward, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Ngaba Stake: “What I learned personally is to believe in God, to believe that we are daughters and sons of God, and that he knows us personally and loves us completely, to believe that we can speak to our Heavenly Father, and He will send His Spirit to us.”
Santos Panu Sans Fil Ward, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Masina Stake : “The most touching for me was the testimony of the Andersen couple about Christ. It was strong and beautiful. I liked the principles taught too — prayer, faith, missionary work. Helped me understand even more.”
Juslain Kalemba, Gombe GB Ward, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake: “We must have faith while praying, put in our heads that God is always next to us and knows us personally and we must bear witness to God and speak of Him everywhere.”
Benedicte Bondo, Yolo Ward, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Ngaba Stake: “I have learned of the importance that each member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has in bringing the restored gospel to others. I liked the illustration of the puzzle made by the apostle. Personally I realize once again the importance of sharing my testimony again with those around me, who often told myself that after my mission I should focus on my life. The apostle has renewed in me the feeling of losing myself in the service of others and God will take care of me. I have also learned that the Lord, no matter our conditions, is willing to listen to our prayers. The apostle spoke to me personally, through his message, of the charge I have of wielding my testimony to save some of my family who have strayed from the truth. I was blessed to follow Apostle Neil Andersen whom I know all he said was the word of God. I make a commitment, today through the help of the Holy Spirit, that I will do my job well of putting each puzzle piece together.”
Célia Roman, Meaux, France: “I was very happy to be able to receive teachings from the Andersen couple. Even from a distance, I could feel their faith and the Spirit.
“I learned that prayer is very important, that we can pray anywhere and anytime. May the Lord know what is good for us and that he has a plan for us. That we are all missionaries.
“I felt prompted to be more involved in the missionary service of my ward. Pray more often.”
Sophie Boutin, Valence Ward, Lyon France Stake: “I have learned that we are an important part of the Second Coming of Christ and that through prayer and inspiration miracles occur.
“It makes me want to have as much wisdom as Sister Andersen.”
Aylen Arechaga, Metz Ward, Nancy France Stake: “I felt the love of our Heavenly Father. I felt that He needed to remind us to believe in Him and to be busy with our faith.
“Thanks to the example of the butterfly that we can see God everywhere, in all things. I learned that even though these are difficult times, it is important to remember who we are and most importantly who we are with.”
Angela Ristic, Chalon-sur-Saône Branch, Lyon France Stake: “Throughout the devotional, I felt the love Brother and Sister Andersen have for each other. It is wonderful to have been able to see and feel their love. It shows me and proves that the gospel really is the key and the way to happiness!
“I also felt the love they have for us all, and this encouragement from them brought me courage and peace. I am grateful for this devotional that was intended for young people. …
“I learned that we are each a piece of the puzzle that is the gathering of Israel. We should not be shy about preaching the gospel, telling our friends about Jesus Christ to our families, at work and at school and everywhere because these people through our testimony can choose Jesus Christ as Savior and be baptized.”
Marion Perfillon Barry, Ypres, Belgium: “I especially appreciated the interaction of Sister Andersen. Maybe because I am a young woman. Its sweetness pierced my heart.
“I felt I could change for the better right now. I felt more peace despite past mistakes. I felt that God brought me hope. Brother and Sister Andersen were instruments of God for the Holy Spirit to touch me. …
“I learned that we are all unique, we are all part of the plan of God the Father, and He needs each of us as we are. If we realize our worth then we will understand that we have a unique and essential and necessary place in God’s plan.”
Timothée Ferier, Brussels, Belgium: “May the Lord truly accomplish His work. I learned that we are important to God because He loves us. I had the impression that although currently life is hard and full of difficulty, it will be fine because God is watching over us if we believe in Him. …
“I felt prompted to speak more openly about the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Hannah Marteeny, Tremblay-en-France, Paris, France: “I was reminded of the importance of knowing who we are, and that we are special in the eyes of our Heavenly Parents.
“I’m going to invite a friend of mine to come to church with me.”
Joanna Raheri, Amiens Branch, Lille France Stake: “I really liked this evening; it was simple and effective. They reminded us of basic principles such as faith and prayer. Elder Andersen and his wife spoke to us with great enthusiasm and simplicity. … I also really liked the choir, especially the hymn ‘Remember,’ it helped bring the Spirit. …
“The teaching that I mainly remember is faith and hope. It is now essential these days to have unwavering faith and trust in God’s plan for our lives. They helped me remember that God loves me, knows me individually and is kind to me.”
Brigitte Ligas, Sainte Geneviève des Bois, Paris, France: “I felt a lot of peace and love in my heart.
“I felt prompted to love more, to give more to our Heavenly Father. To make this gospel the center of everything. That our life should be modeled after Him — that anything is possible for us if we have God as the architect of our life.”
Camillia Mosiman, Quebec City, Canada: “Watching this devotional, I felt prompted to take more specific actions in my life. I want to organize better my life so I can be closer to the Spirit every day and always make the better choices to live with Him again one day. I want to grow my faith and my testimony a little bit more every day. Every one of us is an important piece of the puzzle to gather Israel and to do the work and the will of God.”
Marie-Christine Lambert, Montreal, Canada: “Before, during and after the [devotional], I was happy. Not only because Elder and Sister Andersen made lots of effort to speak French and share an uplifting message to us, but also that I had a feeling that it will be more personalized to our needs at this moment and forward.
“The message that touched me the most was from Sister Andersen who shared the story of a boy who in his childhood, he had had lots of nightmares. And even though his mother’s room was just on the other side of his, he got very scared and asked out loud if she was always there. And every time, with pure love and compassion, she reassured him that she is always here. And every time, he was comforted and was able to make it through the night. It reminded me of a similar experience that I had too when I was younger. I have pondered about these experiences and I told myself that I need to remember more of the Lord’s blessings and miracles in my life and to believe more in Him and in myself, and fear less and less even until it is gone.”
Jayne Lucas, Laval, Quebec, Canada: “I have been very impatient, and my faith has not been the steadiest during the past months. I felt somewhat ‘boxed’ and stuck as if my progression was stunted. It was difficult to see my Heavenly Father’s hands in my life during a world pandemic and a time full of tension due to racism. I was almost convinced that no one could care for me. I went through a lot of personal and common heartbreaks in 2020. The thoughts of not being good enough invaded me. Focusing on my pain, and not on hope, had me doubting that my Heavenly Father was working on helping me reach my personal goals. However, I have come to know through these experiences that the trial of our faith ‘is more precious than gold’ (1 Peter 1:7). There is no growth in being comfortable, and trust me, I was not comfortable in 2020. I have come a long way in my faith in better things to come. However, there is still revelations I am waiting to receive. But I will put a step forward in my faith in my Heavenly Father’s plan for me. …
“I can only express gratitude for the devotional with the Andersens. I needed to be reminded of the truths shared by Elder and Sister Andersen so I could essentially be reminded of who I am in the eyes of my Heavenly Father and what I could do to support Him.”
Alice Watbled, Bayonne, France: “I enjoyed this devotional very much. Church leaders really care about each of us and want to help us realize the full potential that has been entrusted to us. I was once again touched by the extreme humility shown by senior leaders. …
“God loves each of His children. We are part of the work of gathering Israel. Prayer is a wonderful tool given to us to communicate with God. If we pray to Him by calling Him ‘Father, are you there?’ He will listen to us.
“I felt the invitation to pray better and improve my way of praying (according to the exhortations of President Nelson), not to be afraid to show my beliefs (testimony of Christ and love for the Gospel), not to hesitate to talk about it if I feel the inspiration, because what sharing can be that will change someone’s life and bring them on the path to salvation; invited to deepen my testimony of God and of the Savior and to continue to exercise my faith.”
Gustavo Lima de Sousa, Brussels, Belgium: “It was great to have a devotional in French. The message becomes even more personal.
“I learned that it is very important to trust my Heavenly Father with all my heart. [And] to share the gospel with my friends and families.”