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My Missionary Miracle


Every year, thousands of young Latter-day Saint missionaries open the envelope containing their mission call and feel a mixture of surprise and excitement. It is a feeling only those of us who have opened one of those envelopes can understand; it is an experience we never forget.

My mission call was especially surprising.

Dear Elder Ocampo:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months.

I grew up as part of a Hispanic family in Texas, so I guess I had imagined myself being called to serve somewhere in Central or South America. I had not expected an assignment to serve in Europe. But the real surprise came later in the letter.

“You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language.”

Learning to Love Your Enemy — When Your Enemy is a 5th Grader


The most frightening moment in my teaching career occurred when a 13-year-old 5th grader threw his desk at me.

Normally my classroom was as far from chaotic as one could be, as I held classroom management at the highest level of importance, as essential as teaching math. Flying furniture threatened to overthrow order.

Top Talks from Elder D. Todd Christofferson


For almost 10 years Elder D. Todd Christofferson has served as an Apostle of the Lord in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. During that time he has spoken at each General Conference and given some great talks on sensitive and hard topics. But, he always seems to testify with a calm surety that encourages every listener to want to be a little better. Some of these top talks come from before Elder Christofferson was called to the Twelve, but they are great nonetheless.

Do you agree with this list? Comment below and let me know.

My Body Won't Let Me Fast: 5 Ways I Do My Best, Anyway


My doctors won’t let me fast.

Rather, the dozen or so medications they have prescribed to help battle terminal cancer, many that must be taken with food, make it nearly impossible to go without even one meal a day.  This is yet another one of cancer’s effects on my daily life, which has forced my family and I to develop our “new church normal.”

Even though I am not physically able to actually go without food and participate in a “proper fast,” I have learned there are several actions I can take to be in the proper spirit of fasting and prayer, even when my physical body prevents me from following a fast to the letter of the law.

The Book of Mormon: What Is Uniquely Ours?


President Thomas S. Monson’s powerful witness of the Book of Mormon in April 2017 general conference and his invitation to each of us to “prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day” have helped bring a renewed focus on and appreciation for the Book of Mormon into my life this month. President Monson’s message has also helped me recall some of the building blocks of my own testimony of the Book of Mormon.