Let Us Be Faithful to Him
Aleni R. Regehr was born in Logan, Utah and raised in a small town in Central California. She attended college at BYU-Idaho where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Design. She also attended Brigham Young University where she received her Masters of Public Administration.
Aleni has worked both in healthcare and higher education, and is currently an Art Director for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She oversees youth digital content, youth theme products, and youth social channels.
Aleni served a mission in the Helsinki, Finland mission. She has also served in a variety of teaching callings including institute, Relief Society, and gospel doctrine. Aleni served as a temple worker for five years and is currently in the Young Women presidency in her ward. She and her husband Dallin have been married for five years.
Let Us Be Faithful to Him
American author Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” 
In the fourth Article of Faith, we learn that faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel.  Faith is fundamental to our religion and influences the way we think, the way we live, and the way we act. Prophets have described it as a principle of power, “to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true.”  It is trust and confidence, and it carries an assurance of our desired outcome. 
As a little girl, if you had asked me to define faith, I would have described it using something like the following scenario: “when I lost my book last week, I prayed to find it and then I did! Now I have faith that prayer works.” Or “I was really nervous about my piano recital, so I asked God to help me, and I played perfectly!” These sorts of experiences repeated multiple times throughout my childhood, and each time I felt more reassured that my action combined with God’s miracle equaled faith. It was for me then just as the primary song said: “Faith is knowing the Lord will hear my prayers each time I pray.” 
This line of thinking worked, but as I got older and as my dilemmas grew larger, I noticed that God’s answers to my prayers seemed to come less and less frequently. And sometimes, no answers came at all. In moments when I felt I had exhausted all my efforts without receiving understanding, I began to wonder about my faith. Where was God when I needed Him most? Was my faith too weak? Was I doing it wrong?
Though I am still in the middle of understanding this, I’m learning that living with faith in Christ means our focus is to be fixed on Him, rather than on outcomes. Faith precedes the miracle  . It sustains us in the waiting. It propels us in the unknown. And it helps us, regardless of the circumstance, move closer to God. I’ve been blessed with many people and experiences in my life that have taught me what it looks like to live in faith. I want to share a few of those with you today.
First, an example from my job.
In my current role at Church Headquarters, I have the privilege of overseeing many youth-focused digital products. We publish content regularly to a youth Instagram channel, a youth YouTube channel, a youth website, an app, and 35 music streaming platforms around the globe. I spend much of my time thinking about and planning designs, posts, reels, stories, videos, and music – all in hopes of promoting faith in Jesus Christ.
On our youth Instagram channel, some of our most common pieces of content are testimonies of youth from around the globe. As you can see here, we feature their stories from Africa to Chile, and Norway to New Zealand. Many of these youth, like me, are in the middle of navigating with faith; they are living in faith. I appreciate their examples of acting before they feel like they have all the answers. Here are two from the last few months that stood out to me:
Condie recently shared that she is trying to invite the Savior more into her life by setting goals and posting her favorite quotes on social media. She says, “I don’t know exactly how I ‘Hear Him’ because I’m still learning, and that’s okay.” 
I love her acknowledgement of “I don’t know exactly” as well as her efforts to act in hopes of knowing one day. I think this is faith.
Another example on our channel is Diego from Venezuela. He shares this reflection:
“There were many Sundays when my brother and I were the only ones blessing and passing the sacrament. Not many youth or people came to church because they didn’t have money or food and couldn’t pay for the bus.
“Often, there were only 10 individuals there, so we just needed one person to pass. For a time, I struggled to understand the meaning behind it. If so few people went to church, why even bother?”
But as Diego continued to participate in the ordinance, he says he started to realize some things:
“Those 10 people went to church every Sunday to have the sacrament.
“The sacrament is holy, and those who came wanted to renew their covenants.
“The sacrament really is something big and has meaning, even if only two people are there.”
He concluded: “Looking back, giving the sacrament to those few people were some of the most spiritual experiences of my life.” 
Diego is a great example of acting in faith. He chose to continue participating while he waited for understanding.
In the Old Testament, we learn that after Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden of Eden, they followed a similar pattern. The scriptures say that Adam was obedient to the commandments. When he was asked “Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord?” Adam answered, “I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” 
I believe that sometimes faith is acting before knowing. It is keeping the commandments while you’re figuring out what you believe. It is praying before you’re sure God is listening. It is doing the little things every day, believing that (like Condie, or Diego, or Adam and Eve) one day you’ll receive the understanding you seek.
Second, an example from my friend Whittlee
Whittlee and I met in college, and from the very beginning I was inspired by her approach to life. Amidst obstacles we faced as young adults, she constantly helped me to choose belief over doubt. My appreciation for her faith has only grown since then.
In 2018, Whittlee was living a beautiful life. She was 29 years old, married to her high school sweetheart, and had three beautiful daughters. She was also the owner of an interior design business, a podcast creator, a marathon runner, and a wonderful wife and mother.
But near the end of that year, her life began to change drastically. What started as a pain in her abdomen soon grew significantly worse. After weeks and months of seeking answers, in January of 2019 Whittlee received the terrible news of a large tumor in her body. She had stage four terminal cancer.
The odds weren’t good, and her diagnosis was overwhelming. She had so many questions and faced an innumerable amount of unknowns. But Whittlee told me she was determined to trust in heaven’s plan and do all she could to live a beautiful life. And she did. She closed her business and redirected all her energy towards those things of greatest importance to her: God and her family.
When Whittlee began chemo and surgeries, she shared much of her experience on social media. As the months went by, she faithfully reported in her posts about what she was grateful for in each of her treatments. She also noted specific things her followers could pray for, and she consistently pointed out the silver lining in her journey.
When the tumors in her lungs doubled in size, Whittlee thanked heaven that her other tumors had shrunk.
When her cancer developed to the point of prohibiting her from eating any solid foods, Whittlee praised the blessing of modern medicine to help her receive nutrients in other ways.
When her life’s situation as a whole seemed unfair and painful and incomprehensible, Whittlee looked upward and proclaimed her trust in God.
I visited Whittlee and her beautiful family in December of 2019. So many had prayed and fasted and hoped and believed in healing for her on repeat for 12 months. But Whittlee was still slipping away.
During that sacred week, I watched my sweet friend endure significant physical pain just so she could play with her little girls. I saw her patiently deal with nausea while simultaneously ensuring everyone had a Christmas gift prepared. I heard her, through her exhaustion, tell each of her nurses and helping neighbors “thank you.” Above all this, I listened to her boldly declare her trust in God’s plan for her to every person who came to visit.
I wondered how this was possible. In my own pleadings to heaven I continued to ask: “Why her?” “Why this?”
“Why now?” It all felt so unfair.
One afternoon I asked Whittlee about a picture of the Savior on her wall. With tears in her eyes she told me: “When my days feel difficult or the questions in my head get overwhelming, I remember Him. I remember that He once asked, ‘is there any other way?’”
“I wonder that same question too,” she continued. “‘Is this really it? Is there any other way?’ When it doesn’t make sense, I cling to my belief that His plan for me is perfect, even if I don’t understand it.”
On her 31st birthday Whittlee wrote, “I pray today that I continue to live a wonderful life… full of faith in God and trust in His plan.”  She was a deep believer that God’s plan doesn’t happen to us, but for us.
Whittlee passed away on January 28, 2020, one year following her initial diagnosis.
One of my final memories of her was seeing her sitting on the couch, bundled up in blankets, wired to pain medication, and somehow smiling as she drank out of a mug that said “blessed.”
Whittlee’s faith in God was not dependent on the outcome she wanted. It was, rather, the power that sustained her while she trusted in God’s outcome.
President Nelson said, “The mountains in our lives do not always move how or when we would like. But our faith will always propel us forward. Faith always increases our access to godly power.”  Whittlee taught me that.
Third, an example from the scriptures
In the book of Mark we are introduced to a woman who experienced what the scriptures refer to as an “issue of blood.”  You’ve heard her story before.
Her life prior to that healing is what holds great significance for me. The scriptures share five insights about her life before she meets the Savior. 1) She had an “issue of blood” 2) It had lasted “twelve years” 3) She had “suffered many things of many physicians” 4) She “had spent all that she had” and 5) she “was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” 
Her circumstance seems bleak at best. She’s not doing well. She’s had a lot of failed attempts at finding a remedy. She has no money left. And her condition is worsening.
I can almost picture in my mind this woman, waking up in Capernaum; it's year twelve of this ailment and she’s sick with a condition that has left her unclean and unwelcomed by society.  I can begin to imagine what she might have been feeling that morning — physically sick, temporally impoverished, and undoubtedly emotionally and mentally exhausted. The part of this story that leaves me inspired is that amidst all of this, in the middle of all this, she decides to get out of bed. For one more day, she chooses to hope that against all odds she could find healing. She has seen zero encouraging signs of improvement in her life, zero of the outcomes that she wanted, but she believes anyway. This certain woman, the verse says, “had heard of Jesus.”  And hearing of Him for her was enough.
Verse 27 reads: she “came in the press behind, and touched his garment.”  And said to herself in that moment, “if I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole.” 
“And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.” 
How could a woman, I ask myself, who might have easily felt abandoned by God for years, who was financially destitute from her efforts – how could she choose to hope again that this new physician in town, Jesus Christ, could heal her?
The Savior tells us in the next verses. Following her touch of His garment, the Savior turns, meets her approach, and replies: “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”  It was faith that brought this woman to the Savior; it was faith that made her whole.
Perhaps you and I are not that different from her. Perhaps you and I are in the middle of navigating our own issue. Not of blood, or even of a physical nature, but something else.
Perhaps we feel concerned at the length of time it is taking to find relief.
Perhaps we don’t know why this is happening.
Perhaps we too have spent time and energy and resources to find a remedy or answer.
And perhaps nothing is working.
But like this woman with the issue of blood, you and I have heard of Jesus Christ.
And following her example, you and I can choose to have faith in Him, to believe in Him, and to seek Him.
My witness to you today is that whether on the streets of Capernaum or the halls of Ensign College, the power of faith in Jesus Christ is the same. His ability to heal is the same. His ability to instill hope is the same. And our faith’s ability to move us towards Him is the same.
Lastly, an experience from my life
The youth theme for 2022 is “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him. And He shall direct thy paths.” 
In my late 20’s, I started praying earnestly for a blessing I deeply wanted. It seemed, from my perspective, that this was something that aligned with God’s plan and God’s promises. I kept my covenants, I attended church, I read my scriptures, I prayed, and I waited. But the blessing I was seeking didn’t come.
A few months later, I redoubled my efforts. I focused more intently on my religious habits, and I became more earnest in my pleadings with heaven. I shared my hopes with God more regularly and I included it as part of my monthly fast. But still, the blessing did not come.
I read in the scriptures that “For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.”  But for me, no amount of asking helped the blessing to come.
In my frustration one day I fell into the same patterns of questioning I mentioned earlier: Do I just not have enough faith? Why isn’t God remembering me?
I went to the temple in the midst of my frustration. And I sat, and I listened, and I waited there that day until finally, I learned something. In a poignant moment of exasperation, the thought entered my mind “This is not the end of your journey. God has eternity to keep His promises.”
In my short-sightedness, I had been leaning on my own understanding to explain to God the appropriate timetable for delivering my blessings. That, my friends, is not faith.
I left the temple that day still without the blessing I was seeking, but with a mindset that has changed every day of my life since. After years of figuratively tapping my foot impatiently at God, this single truth about timing elevated my focus back to Him. It suspended my concerns with timetables and outcomes and gave me the power to simply have faith in Him.
Today, I am still waiting on this blessing. And, I may be waiting for a long, long time. But faith has empowered me to wait with the trust that God keeps his promises, and that He has eternity to do so.
I am grateful for Jesus Christ. I am grateful for these examples in my life that have pointed me to Him. I believe in Him. I have faith in Him. I love Him. I testify that Jesus Christ lives and that He is as the scriptures say “an High Priest of good things to come.”  I witness that faith in Christ helps us, like Diego and Connie, work through the middle of not knowing. It enables us, like Whittlee, to trust in God’s plan and timing. It allows us, like the woman with the issue of blood, to hope against the odds of our circumstance. And it connects us with eternal truths we can cling to while we wait.
I testify that faith in Jesus Christ is as our prophet says, “the greatest power available to us in this life.”  It exists not after the blessing as I thought as a child, but before it – in our moment of greatest need. Acting before knowing, trusting before understanding, believing before receiving; that’s faith to me. I promise that as you focus your faith on Christ, rather than on outcomes, you will find a sustaining power to endure every circumstance.
“The Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him[;] Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” 
It is my prayer that we will. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Ralph Waldo Emerson (2011). “Natural Abundance: Ralph Waldo Emerson's Guide to Prosperity”, p.107, Simon and Schuster
2 Articles of Faith, 4
3 Alma 32:21
4 Gospel Topics, Faith in Jesus Christ
6 Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle
9 Moses 5:5-6
11 Russell M. Nelson, “Faith to Move Mountains,” General Conference (April 2021)
12 Mark 5:25
13 Mark 5:26
14 Leviticus 15:2–15, 19–30
15 Mark 5:27
16 Mark 5:27
17 Mark 5:28
18 Mark 5:29
19 Mark 5:34
20 Proverbs 3:5-6
21 3 Nephi 14:8; Matthew 7:8
22 Hebrews 9:11
23 Russell M. Nelson, “Faith to Move Mountains,” General Conference (April 2021)
24 1 Nephi 7:12