Spiritual leader’s influence is indelible
It's not every day you meet a man who shapes your life as you know it. I came into this world 14 years ago, and he has been with me for 12 of those years. Sometimes you take people's lives for granted, never believing that they could leave your side.
On Jan. 27, President Gordon B. Hinckley of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints left not only my side, but the people who shared their love with him, also. I did not know this man personally, but I didn't need to. What he taught and who he was helped make me who I am and who I am to become. I have a picture of him, along with his counselors, President Thomas Monson and President James Faust, hanging up in my room.
When I have friends over, each has asked, "Who are they? Why are they hung up in your room?" I laugh and just answer, "Men called of God. They are the prophets of my church, the reason I am who I am." My favorite is when they say, "I feel like they're watching me." My reply is, "I know. Isn't it great?"
The world might not know him, but he was a great man. He was an optimist, always seeing the good in people. He taught to always strive to be a better person, little by little, to love others and live a good life.
I never got to meet this magnificent prophet, never got to shake his hand, never got to thank him personally, but I did get to listen to him speak, to hear his words. I don't need to see him to know what he teaches is true. I have faith in him. For this man helped me gain my testimony that through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and following the gospel principles, I can be like God.
In a church hymn titled "We Listen to a Prophet's Voice," it says, "We listen to a prophet's voice and hear the Savior, too. With love he bids us do the work the Lord would have us do. The Savior calls his chosen seer to preach the word of God, that men might learn to find the path marked by the iron rod."
And so the photograph of this man will continue to stay on my wall because even though he might be gone from his earthly life, he is still my role model, someone whom I strive to be like someday. He is never truly gone, for my heart is forever touched.
Melanie Serrao is a ninth-grader at Aiea High School and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Aiea Ward, where she plays the piano for services.