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Ensign » 2009 » June

Finding My Purpose

By Susana Lyou Mantle

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  • Susana Lyou Mantle, "Finding My Purpose," Ensign, Jun 2009, 44-45

    My family sought truth from many faiths, but I still felt empty.

    I have never been able to forget the feeling I had when I gazed into the sky as a young girl. I always felt there was a Being up above who watched over me. And like most Chinese children, I studied a lot. But I also liked to question things, a habit not encouraged in my culture.

    When teachers beat me for not earning perfect grades, when loved ones suffered because of choices they had made, or when less-fortunate individuals felt only destiny controlled their lives, I would ask myself, "What is my purpose in life?" I wished for a Supreme Being who could answer all my questions. Sometimes I felt so empty and anxious for the truth that I would look into the sky and say to that Being, "Please, tell me the reason for my life, and I will do everything I can to achieve that purpose."

    I was raised Buddhist and Taoist, but the teachings of those religions confused me and did not bring joy to my heart. My family later joined an Eastern religion that sought to take truths from all faiths. I was never satisfied. But when I was introduced to Christianity, I felt something I had never felt before. Jesus seemed so different from the founders of other religions. After spending many years as a Buddhist trying to forsake all relationships and cares of this world, I felt a warmth fill my heart as I learned that Christ taught of love and service, of believing in all things and hoping for all things.

    Focusing on Christ

    At age 14 I met a preacher at a train station who taught me how to pray in a Christian way. From that time on, the name of Jesus Christ became part of my life. For three years I prayed almost every day in Jesus's name. I would tell Him everything-how I felt, what I wanted, who I liked, and why I cried-everything. Without a tangible statue to worship, as I had been accustomed to do with Eastern gods, praying to Jesus felt as if I were talking to myself. But as I focused on the name of Jesus Christ, a clear communication channel was established. I constantly received promptings to solve my problems, courage to stand up for the right, and protection when I faced darkness. Many small miracles started to bless my life, and I began to know I was not talking to myself after all. The more I trusted in Him, the more my life was guided. I was blessed with such peace and security that I started a habit of praying whenever there was empty space in my thoughts.

    Learning to pray in the name of Jesus Christ was the best training I have had in this life, and it was the only way I could truly know my Savior. I learned to discern my Savior's voice before I learned about His scriptures and Church. I knew of God's existence and recognized His help in my life. My ability to communicate with my Heavenly Father prepared me over the next three years to receive the true gospel.

    Listening to the Spirit

    One summer I was having a great time serving on the staff of a children's camp with several friends when a distinct voice, which I recognized to be from God, said to me in my mind, "It is time for you to join my Church." It was totally unexpected, but I began acting on the prompting immediately. I went to many Christian churches and spent time listening and learning their teachings about Jesus, but I did not receive a confirmation as to which I should join-until I came to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    I still remember the first time I walked into a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse. A missionary greeted me, and I asked: "Why is your church's name so long? What does 'Latter-day Saints' mean? I just want to learn about Jesus. Can you teach me?"

    Unlike the native Christian preachers I had met in Taiwan, the sister missionaries were not able to speak enough Chinese to respond to everything I asked. But when I had questions about doctrine and teachings, the Spirit taught me and urged me to study the scriptures. Two months later I was baptized.

    I once felt small and insignificant, but God has lifted me and led me to His true Church. My testimony of the restored gospel has been strengthened by a full-time mission and an eternal marriage. Now, as a mother of four precious children, I gratefully teach them to seek after the living God, who daily teaches me that through faith and sacrifice I may taste eternal joy.

    Illustration by Gregg Thorkelson

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