Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Elder Neil L. Andersen on testifying to children

Elder Neil L. Andersen (born August 9, 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 1993, and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2009.
"Although there may be times when a child does not listen with a believing heart, your testimony of Jesus will remain in his or her mind and soul....
"If a child is not listening, don’t despair. Time and truth are on your side. At the right moment, your words will return as if from heaven itself. Your testimony will never leave your children.
"As you reverently speak about the Savior—in the car, on the bus, at the dinner table, as you kneel in prayer, during scripture study, or in late-night conversations—the Spirit of the Lord will accompany your words.
"As you do your best, the testimony of Jesus will gently distill upon your children’s hearts. They will go to their Heavenly Father in humble prayer and feel His influence through the power of the Holy Ghost. A stronger personal faith in Jesus Christ will prepare them for the challenges they will most surely face."
- Neil L. Andersen, "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus," General Conference April 2010
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The influence we have on children, either more formally as parents or teachers, or through less formal contact, has profound impact. Elder Andersen encouraged all of us to make the most of those opportunities. But sometimes, we wonder if we are making any difference. And at times, it appears that our efforts are "a lost cause" in the face of apathy or other concerns. Elder Andersen reassures us that no testimony or no sincere effort to teach and inspire is wasted:

We should find more opportunities to "reverently speak about the Savior" in those less formal times. That can make more difference in the long run than formal lessons or talks. When the Lord's Spirit accompanies our words, testimony will "distill" upon the hearts of children as they listen, and they will be strengthened with every instance to better confront the challenges of life.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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