Category Archives: Personal Stories

So I wanted to highlight a friend of mine on my blog by reposting his Mormon.org profile. Ryan Bills is serving as a full time missionary like me in the same area but he works with Spanish speakers and I work with those who speak English and/or American depending on their grammar and word choice.

Ryan and I have been able to serve around each other and get to know each other and I admire him for lots of different things but his love for the Savior and commitment to Him is one of the top ones. I hope you enjoy his witness and testimony.

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Me, Elder Ryan Bills, and Elder Jenkins (from Wales, he speaks English, not American.)

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Recently the people that I have been teaching have been going through a lot of adversity. Anything from family issues surrounding health problems, relationship troubles, or discord between family members. They all have been experiencing challenges that has been causing them pain in some degree.

My short message today I hope can highlight something that can relieve and strengthen anyone who is going through any type of struggle.

Turning to the Lord for comfort and strength is the only way for lasting relief. There is no bandage big enough or pill as potent as the Atonement of Jesus Christ to alleviate our pain and suffering in our trials.

A verse in the Book of Mormon explains this very well.

Taken from the seventh chapter, 33rd verse of Mosiah.

“33 But if ye will aturn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all bdiligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.”

I know that this scripture is true and many other beautiful passages in the Book of Mormon that bring comfort and peace.

For a wonderful sermon given by a modern day Apostle about enduring our trials. Click here


Elder Kjar loves jelly beans and America!

So I next person I wanted to showcase is my new companion Elder Matthew Kjar (blog, Facebook, Mormon.org) Anyways I am excited to spend time with him here in Santa Rosa. Here are some of his own words a bit about who he is and why he is a Mormon. Enjoy!

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

“I was born in Utah and raised in Wisconsin. I have been a member of the church my whole life and have had the wonderful blessing of seeing my family actively participate in the Church.
I attended a High School with a unique Biotechnology curriculum. I graduated from that school in June 2010.
During my sophomore year of High School, our family moved to Kobe, Japan for a whole year. There I attended an International Private School where I had the opportunity to become friends with people from all over the world! There I learned the language best I could, met wonderful people, and saw places that would bring the most wonderous awe to your eyes. The strength of the saints was made manifest to me as I attended our small english branch of about 5 families.
Some of my hobbies that I love to do include yardwork, movies, motorcycles, video-games, camping, 4-wheeling, and drawing pictures, of whatever I feel inspired. I love the wonderful talents that God has given me, especially my love for music. I have played the trombone all through school and love listening to the wonderful music played by others.
Because of my decision to serve as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have had the blessing of witnessing first-hand the fruits of my labors that come from serving those around me, here in the Santa Rosa California Mission.”

Why are you a Mormon?

“I was born a Member of the Church. My whole life I was given the wonderful gift of having the opportunity to grow up in the gospel. But as I grew up, I soon learned that I had to find out for myself the truthfulness of the message which I go around as a full time Missionary, trying to share. My faith was shaken. My foundation was made from weak, loose sand. I was even ashamed to be a part of the gospel and would hide it in fear of being rejected by my peers. But, never did I turn away, or deny Jesus Christ as my Savior.
Even though I have made mistakes in my life that may have seemed impossible to overcome, I knew that it was never to late to return to the flock, and heed the Shepherd’s call.
After researching for myself and learning all that I could about the Church, I knelt down in sincere prayer, knowing that my Father in Heaven would answer me. I testify that He did! I felt the greatest peace come over me as every doubt was being pushed away forever. I know this is the true Church because God loved all of us enough to reveal to Joseph Smith those precious truths that were lost over the centuries of Darkness that filled the earth after the death of the Apostles. Christ Lives! He is my Savior, your Savior, and the entire world’s Redeemer. Because of him, I could repent, and become the faithful saint He wanted me to be. Now I can share this message with everyone as a Missionary for His Church.
It’s the highest honor to wear His name next to mine when I put on my name tag everyday before I go to labor in His Vineyard.”

How do you live your faith?

“I actively try to remember the Savior’s Love for everyone and try my hardest to be like him. I want to always follow after His example of service, and show my charity for my fellowman, anyway I can.”


Watch the clip and then read on. 🙂

So lately I’ve been thinking alot about time and doing your best.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not a good example of those things.

Nevertheless, within the last few day I have been taught by the Spirit of the amazing power of change and gratitude that can come from Jesus Christ. I am grateful that I didn’t have to experience something so traumatic as being blown up in a Humvee in Iraq like Erick Lund.

Let us at the beginning of this new school year rethink our standing, set goals, and make plans to execute them. I know that where there is a desire to change, an opportunity will arise and we can fulfill the desires of our hearts. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Elder Trey Williams himself.

So I next person I wanted to showcase is Elder Trey Williams! (blog, Facebook, Mormon.org) We were called to be online missionaries at the same time back in February. That was my first opportunity to meet him. I later got to be in the same zone and we have served around each other for the last two months. He is a really funny guy with a light heart and a cheerful attitude. It’s been really enjoyable to share in his love for Big Foot while serving in the heart of Big Foot country, Humboldt County, California.

Anyways, here are some of his own words a bit about who he is and why he is a Mormon.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

“I’m a lot of different things to different people. I’m an intellectual; I love to read and learn and listen to everything that comes my way. I’m a musician, mostly on the guitar but I “doodle” on the piano. I LOVE my classic rock (Tom Petty, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Beatles are my favorites)! I’m an artist; not that good, but just enough to express myself, and maybe even turn you into a cartoon.:) To some, I’m a loud, outgoing, life-of-the-party goofball. To others, I’m a quiet, thoughtful, timid friend who doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. To you, I’m a college aged young man in a white shirt and tie, with a little black namebadge.
I did go to college for a year. I majored in journalism, with the hope that I could one day see, and maybe even change, the world. I see now that dream is being realized, but not in the way I expected.
As a missionary, I and my companion strive every day to offer what we believe to others. Not to change, belittle, or disrespect others’ beliefs, but to share what has changed my own life with those who have perhaps lost their way, or hope, in today’s world. It’s a big job, a full-time job; one where our only pay is changed lives.
I love my job. :)”

Why are you a Mormon?

“I, like most people, was trying to find myself and whether there really is a God. I come from a family of intellectuals (whom I love very dearly); among us are teachers and musicians and artists. I was raised to learn things for myself, to ask questions, and to follow my feelings. There are two sides to every story, and we must know both to make a rational decision.

There came a time where I gave up the notion of religion altogether. I was disgusted with the violence I saw, in history and on the evening news, and how it all seems to stem to religion. “How can something claiming to be good cause so much bad?”, I often asked myself. Why didn’t God answer my questions? Why didn’t he answer my prayers? Why didn’t I feel Him in my life?

Then, one day, He answered me.

My testimony is that God gives us a second chance. He hears every single prayer we offer. He loves us, and that is something that is not conditional on our decisions. God doesn’t turn away from us, only we can turn ourselves from Him.
Therefore, on the other side of the coin, only We can turn ourselves To Him.

Our Heavenly Father has given us everything we need to be happy. It’s up to us to decide if we are going to be, or not. I know that Christ, His Only Begotten Son, died so that we can return to live with God again. Christ knows our pains and our joys, our failures and our triumphs, and He is with us every step of the way. I only know this through the restored gospel, given to us from God, through the Prophet Joseph Smith. He still speaks to us today, in His love, through the prophet Thomas S. Monson. I know this is true, because I’ve personally asked my Heavenly Father if this is true.
I testify to you, It Is.”

How do you live your faith?

“I serve as a full-time missionary. You’ve seen us riding bikes, but have you ever wondered why? I hope you’ll ask the next one you see, it could be me. P I believe very strongly in not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. I won’t ask someone to do something that I myself am not doing. I’m not perfect, but I strive constantly every day to try a little harder to be a little better. That’s all Christ asks of us.”


Elder Rob Vomocil

So I wanted to share with everyone some stories about people who I have been privileged to serve around while on my mission.

The first person I wanted to showcase is my first companion, Elder Rob Vomocil. (blog, Facebook, Mormon.org)  Check it out, he is an awesome guy, I love him to death. I learned so much about life from being around him for three months.

Elder Vomocil and I

Here are some of his own words a bit about who he is and why he is a Mormon.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

“I love music! I’ve really enjoyed sharing and playing music all throughout my childhood, and really found myself at home with my band. I played football in high school, and since have been involved with a lot of different things. I love to hike, read, play video games and snowboard. After my mission I will go back to school, but I haven’t decided what I really want to do with my life yet.”

Why are you a Mormon?

“I’ve had church around me a lot growing up, but was never really forced to go. Because of it I grew up not really having a desire, or anything to do with any of it… After living by myself, and just trying to figure life out, I knew I wasnt really happy. My brother has always been such a happy guy, and everything seemed to work out for him. Deep down inside, I knew it was because he had a relationship with God and Jesus Christ.

With my brother and some friends, I came back to church. The solid foundation that it gives what was probably most appealing… I found myself wanting to know more, and to do more to grow closer to God because life just… started getting better. As I did the things that I knew my Father in Heaven wanted me to, I found myself in a place I never dreamed I could be. I had found happiness.”

How do you live your faith?

“I try my hardest to help build my friends up, because when they are happy, I’m happy. Right now I am serving a mission, out trying to find people all around Northern California (and the Internet) who are looking for purpose and direction. Mostly, I teach people and invite them to do things that will help them strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ, but I love to serve those in the community any way I can.”


So for today I wanted to share the story of how I came to know that the Mormon church was true.

Let’s jump into the time machine and dial it back to August 2005, shall we?

The current Prophet of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley wrote an article and challenged members of the church to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. He promised that if we do this “there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”

Naturally there was a lot of talk about “President Hinckley’s Challenge” and how everyone was planning on doing it by themselves and as a family. This excitement was contagious and I decided to take upon the challenge.

At this point in my life I wasn’t getting into trouble and felt good about the church but I was still not sure if the Church was totally true for myself. My friends in middle school were starting to get into the things that teenage boys get into at that age and it sure looked like fun and an exciting time. But I was taught otherwise. I had been taught to not be apart of those things and that wickedness never was happiness.

I was presented with an opportunity to choose how I wanted to live my life. To continue down a pathway that I’ve been walking down since birth or to start traveling down roads with people and friends who were having a good time and having a ton of fun in the process.

I started reading the Book of Mormon as much as I could. I wasn’t very consistent about it, but I kept at it. Fast forward to when the ball in Time Square drops at midnight and I am still not finished. I was pretty discouraged especially when everyone at church was asking “Did you finish it? Did you finish it?” and I had to man up and say “No not yet, I’m getting there.”

So I still had that desire in my heart to follow the Prophet and read the Book of Mormon even when I felt like the promised blessings would not take effect in my life because I didn’t “complete the assignment” on time. Thank goodness I was wrong and I kept reading.

I eventually finished the book one night and decided that this was the moment. This was going to be the make or break moment in which I would put it all on the line to get an answer of truth and validation. I went and locked the door of my bedroom and knelt down in prayer on my bedside. I laid it out specifically and clearly to God that I want to know the truth.

Is what my parents been teaching me right? Is the Book of Mormon true? I think it is, but I want to know. I knelt there pour out my heart to my Heavenly Father asking for an answer.

The feeling that I felt can’t be described, but I can try using the very limited vocabulary of the English language. It can best be explained as an electric surge coursing through my body emanating from the very depths of my heart and the core of my being followed by a flood of soothing enveloping feeling of calmness and peaceful stillness in the matter of a few seconds. It was a feeling I had never felt before, and never have since but I knew what I felt.

I knew that what I felt was from God and I had received an answer to the question I had in my soul. I knew that I had received an answer because I was willing to act upon the message I received and I was truly seeking for it in my soul.

From that moment on, I knew the feeling I had and knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it. I choose to follow His example and continue down the road I had been on, but this time with confidence and courage that whatever lie ahead I had the Lord on my side and He would never fail me.

Has the road been rough at times? It has but I’ve come to learn that that is what makes us grow and develop our character is the rough times.  Despite my own personal struggles and challenges I have never denied the spiritual witness that I received and kept on the road as best I can.



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