About nine months ago, when I was in Faro, I was talking with Irma Holtzclaw. She was such a great example of diligence. Seriously, she did everything perfectly. She and Irma Machado were fantastic at reading from the Book of Mormon every day. My studies were great, and I was learning a lot. I was focusing on Preach My Gospel and I felt like I had just perfect studies. One day Irma Holtzclaw asked me if I had read the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover on my mission. That took me by surprise and I had to respond that no, I had not read the Book of Mormon in its entirety. But from then on I resolved that I would do so before I went home.
This was a turning point for me in my mission. I had loved my mission and had been happy in the service of the Lord, helping any who would listen, and even those who wouldn't. But as soon as I started really studying the Book of Mormon, everything changed for me. I was anxious to read more and learn more. My studies took on a whole new meaning. But what's more than that, I was so much happier. It didn't matter what happened--I was happy in the work.
The Book of Mormon became especially important to me when I was asked to serve in Setubal. That was a very trying time for me. We had NO ONE to teach when I got there and then my companion got very ill. We spent a lot of time in the apartment, so I decided that I would dedicate that time to studying the Book of Mormon. So I did. It was incredible. Even though everything was hard and I was going through a trying time, it was all okay because I felt the love of the Lord in my life. I was blessed with more charity than I thought a person could have. I was happy. I was at peace. My study of the Book of Mormon changed me. It wasn't just something that was nice, or that helped me. It was something that literally helped me to change my very nature.
Being home, it has been difficult for me to feel that way, but I have noticed that when I actually spend time studying the Book of Mormon, rather than just reading it, I feel that same peace and I know that the Lord is aware of me and my life.
The Lord says "a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men"(D&C 4:1) in the Doctrine and Covenants. I had always thought that He was referring to missionary work, but truly the Book of Mormon is marvelous and wondrous. It is what we as missionaries use to help others come unto Christ. It is the good news. It is the means for the change that we all need to have so that we can become better day by day. Why else would we have the Book of Mormon, than to learn more about the Savior and to become like Him? This is the power of this Book. It changes people. It changed me. And it will continue to do so as long as I truly study and apply what I learn. Why wouldn't I want to read daily and experience great joy every day?