Edward Sullivan recently returned from serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Atlanta, Georgia. While serving, Edward said, “My relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ, grew by knowing that He is my brother… that He will always love me and always be the foundation that will never change or crumble.”
Sullivan had many experiences that strengthened his testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ as he taught the people in Georgia. In his first area, Athens, Georgia, Sullivan and his companion began teaching a lady named Sameth. Sameth, a single mother of eight, lived in Cambodia during the communist Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s. By the guidance of God, Sameth escaped and came to America. She and each her children were separated, but miraculously, all eight of her children found the gospel individually and all moved to Georgia. Edward shared, “She had visions of following Jesus Christ and joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She accepted the gospel and was baptized. Sameth was perhaps one of the most prepared persons I have ever met.”
Sullivan’s family was also strengthened during his missionary service. His mother, Cassandra Jones, feels that they have seen many blessings as a result of Edward’s mission. “Although our family has experienced several trials, I believe we are closer and stronger because of them. I personally was blessed because I knew by paying a full tithe, reading and learning from my scriptures that (I could draw) closer to Heavenly Father and His Son. I was able to share discussions from Come Follow Me (the Church’s study guide for the scriptures) with Edward. He in turn provided insight that only one with a deep conversion to the gospel could ever offer,” she stated.
Another blessing that Sullivan and his family feel they received was in doing family history or genealogy work. Sullivan commented that family history research on his ancestors seemed to multiply during this time. But he also felt that the bonds within his own immediate family were strengthened. “I have a very personal connection with my mom, my dad and my brother. I had a connection with them (before,) but these two years have built a stronger relationship with them, especially with my father. I really got to know my father so much and actually formed a deep relationship with him.”
Sullivan shared that he changed as a person by realizing what his testimony is based upon. “My testimony is based upon Jesus Christ—that He is my foundation. I have seen growth in that I became more vocal and not afraid to speak up. My mission helped me to develop and to know that if you want something to change, the first thing that needs to change is you,” he said.
Now that he is home, Edward will be entering the BYU-Pathway online college program and work towards going to a university to get a degree in Creative Writing.
Submitted by Bonnie Holyoak