Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This is the conversion story of my friend Aleks. He is an amazing person and is 17 years old. He lives in Jakarta and speaks fluent English, Indonesian, Dutch, and Arab I think. He reminds me a lot about Joseph Smith. 

My Conversion Story
By: Kristoffer Aleksander
From: Jakarta, Indonesia

My name is Kristoffer Aleksander and  I live in Jakarta, Indonesia with my parents. I’m the only child in the family.  My story begins when I was about 14 years old. That time, as usual, I accompanied my Mom to the grocery store nearby our apartment. I still remember that Mom told me to looked for the milk section and get her 2 cartons of milk. When I was looking for the milk section, I encountered a mid-aged couple and they were very clean and neat. I could see that the man was wearing a white shirt with a tie and black long trousers and the woman was wearing a very neat dress with a long skirt. However, the one thing that I noticed from both of them was their name tags. I could read the writing and below their names it says “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”.  I was curious about it, as it was my first time to encounter a couple that carried the name of Jesus Christ in their name tags. I was also curious about the name of the church because it was my first time to hear it.
Then after we finished with our monthly shopping at the grocery store, we went home. Then, when we arrived home, I had the desire to conduct some research about the name of the church that I read on the couple’s name tags. I found two links that provided me with the information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Those links are lds.org and Mormon.org. Since then, I started to do some more research about the church from both of the websites and also from other sources.   
I was raised in the Catholic Church all my life. Most of my family members have the same faith. Since I was child, I always felt God’s influence in my life and how He’s always there for me. I love Him very much with all my heart.  Since the first time I glanced my eyes at that couple that I met at the grocery store, I could not stop to do more and more research about the LDS church. It became like a hobby for me. I continuously watched the general conferences, listening to the talks from the general authorities, watching Mormon messages and all those stuff. Even until now, I still can’t describe the feeling that I had at that time. It was just, every time I heard when the speakers from the general authority shared their testimonies; I could really felt the spirit in my heart. There was peace in my heart when I listened to the testimonies of the member of the LDS church. I was also astonished by the teachings and also how the members of this church practice their beliefs. One of them is that family can be eternal.
Time passes by very quickly. It didn’t feel like that it was almost two years since the first time I met the couple at the grocery store. I always have been watching the talks, church news, church events, Mormon messages in that two years period. One day, I had a conflict inside my heart. That conflict was, whether I will always remain in the current situation or to tell my parents regarding my true feelings about the church which I know that this is true and to contact the missionaries. Then, I decided to call the missionaries by myself before talking to my parents. I searched the number in the internet and finally I called the number that I found. This elder picked up the phone call, but because I was very nervous, I hanged up on that call. There was just a huge desire in my heart that told me to redial that number again if I want to know the truth.  Then, I called the same number and an elder, his name is Elder Earls picked that phone call and we had a little chat over the phone. I asked him an e-mail address that I could contact and asked regarding my question about the church. He gave me an e-mail address and I sent a message to that address. The next day, I received a reply from another elder. His name is Elder Kelton Jenkins. He was the online missionary that preached the gospel in the referral center in Provo, Utah. He told me that considering my age was still below 18 years old, if I wanted to learn more the church, he and his companion needed permission from my parents.
I decided that I really want to learn more about this church and so I asked my parents.  At first, Mom thought that it was a joke, but then I told her that I was serious about it.  To be honest, it was the scariest moment in my life asking my parents about it. I told her the feeling inside my heart and that I gained testimonies regarding the LDS church that it is true. It took them for a while to think about it. Every night, I prayed to Heavenly Father so that He would soften Mom’s and Dad’s heart and to pour Thy holy ghost upon my parents as they would give me the permission to learn more about the church. Then finally, they gave the permission and it was truly the happiest day of my life. I started to learn more about the church with Elder Jenkins and Elder Jorgensen through Skype.  When I had some extra questions, I would also go to Mormon.org/chat with us. There I found Brother Carlos that provided me comfort and amazing answers. I also made couple of meetings with the local missionaries and we would meet at my place or at the mission office. That time, the missionaries that taught me were Elder Earls, Elder Yarkasi and Elder Norris. It was such an amazing experience.
The first time I received the Book of Mormon from the missionaries, I was very much excited about it. The night after I received it, I prayed and I read the Book of Mormon. I could really feel the presence of the Holy Ghost when I tried to ponder the messages it contains. I testify with all the surety of my heart that the Book of Mormon is true.
I still remember very clearly the first time I went to the church. The members and the missionaries were very kind and with an open heart they welcome me to partake the sacrament and to join the classes. I could feel the Holy Ghost very strongly in my heart. It was just something that even bigger than my heart. There is one thing that you can’t ever deny and that the church truly is the house of the Lord. It was truly the happiest day in my whole entire life.
Knowing that I’m converting to another church, I received variety of responses from my family members. There were some that support me however there were also some that discouraged my decision in converting. Even for the first couple of months, I had a lot of fights and arguments with my parents. It was truly one of the hardest times in my life. There were just moments where I felt completely alone. I still remember that one night I broke down crying because of all the pressures and the tensions. I was just holding as tight as I can to the Book of Mormon that the missionaries gave me. It was truly the only thing that provides me comfort. Then, I opened the Book Mormon and try to find a random verse that maybe could calms me down. When I opened it, it referred to 2 Nephi 8:7 which says; “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart I have written my law, fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.” This verse provided me so much comfort and strengthening my faith even more in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
One day, when I came to the mission headquarter here in Jakarta; the missionaries that taught me at that time introduced me to the new mission President and his lovely wife. His name is President Donald and his wife’s name is Sister Donald. When the first time I met them, I could see Christ through their eyes. They truly resemble Christ-like attributes.  President and Sister Donald have helped me a lot in many different things that I can’t even describe with words anymore.  They invited me to meet the church’s general authorities. They literally made my dreams come true. One of that dreams was meeting the general authority from the church. I met Elder and Sister Gong from the quorum of the Seventy and also Elder and Sister Funk from the second quorum of the seventy when they came to Jakarta. Meeting them was just incredible. I couldn’t even describe it with words.  President and Sister Donald taught me a very important lesson. That lesson was, we need to always pray for the people that we love, say their names out loud and ask Heavenly Father to soften their hearts therefore they will start to have desires to come unto Christ. This teaching is based on their magnificent example as President and Sister Donald always pray for each of every missionary and the investigator by saying their names. It is a lesson that I will always remember for the rest of my life.
Sharing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to other people and how it will bless their life is one of my favorite things to do.  This gospel has brought true happiness into my life and I want others to have the chance to feel the peace and happiness that gospel can bring into their lives. One of the biggest goals in my life is that I really want to serve a mission and to be a full time missionary. Bringing more souls unto Jesus Christ is the best work and experience that there is not enough words to describe the joy.  One thing that is very special about our faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that, we always trust the spirit and Heavenly Father’s plan. We can make the decisions that we won’t ever regret by trusting the spirit. When we trust the spirit, everything under any situations will work smoothly. In this church we also believe in change. People can change. There is no word “too late”. Everyone is capable of changing to be a better person in their life and to follow Jesus Christ.
Living the words of wisdom and apply it my daily life has blessed my life very much. Living according to standard and always showing good examples has blessed not only my life but also the life of others. It is alright to make mistakes, however we need to learn from those mistakes and improve every single day.  I testify that when we keep ourselves worthy and also live according to the standard, it will bring us true happiness and it will surely bless the life of others. Remember to always be there for Christ.
Until now, I’m still learning with the missionaries. There is one condition that my parents asked me and that is I need to turn 18 years-old in order for me to get baptize. Right now I’m still 17 years old, so I’m still waiting for that time to come. However, between now and then, I will continuously remain clean and keep myself worthy to receive the baptism. I promise when I’ll turn 18 years old I will get baptize as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Even though I’m still not officially a member of the LDS church, I’m proud to say that I am a member of the LDS church. Every day in my life, I will always live the word of our beloved latter-day prophet, President Thomas S. Monson and that is “Dare to be a Mormon, dare to stand alone, dare to have a purpose firm and dare to make it known. I truly am grateful for the supports and prayers from everyone around me. I’m also very grateful of the missionaries that teach me so many valuable lessons, their supports and prayers. I could see Christ through the missionaries.
 I testify with all the surety of my heart that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church that restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. I testify humbly regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I know that God lives and he loves every each one of us. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is our savior and redeemer. I’m immensely grateful to know that we still have a living prophet and he is our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. One thing that I can learn from all of these is that in the name of Christ everything is possible. Do not ever give up on your dreams

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