Yesterday and today I had to opportunity to go back to one of my old areas. I went back to Vallejo where I served just over a year ago. It was great to be back there and see some of the people I remember. It was great to see that things are still doing great and the people I love are still going strong.
There was one person in particular who I was especially joyous to see, his name was Marlon Jones. I first met Marlon in December 2009. We were walking down the street and we saw Marlon. We went over and talked to him and he mentioned he just got out of surgery and that it would be best to come by another time. At that time I had no idea that this encounter would lead to a strong and eternal friendship. We went over the next night and taught him about the restored gospel and it brought hope and a sense of freedom to him. We taught him for several months and he was baptized. His life has been greatly changed ever since he has embraced the gospel.
Today when I saw him again I felt the same way as Alma and the Sons of Mosiah did when they met together again for the first time in several years, Alma said "Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord" (Alma 17:2) As I saw and talked to Marlon today, he is still my brother in the Lord. He has such a strong testimony still and a devotion to follow Christ.
I can't wait for the day that I get to reunite with all those I have met, and to see them still strong in the gospel. It is what gives me added strength to always be obedient and live faithfully. As Joseph smith said "there are many of whom I have loved, to them I am determined to prove faithful."
May we all live faithfully in our testimonies of the gospel, so we can dwell in joy together.