By Brianna Steffensen
Huddled underneath a tent, wrapped in blankets and sweatshirts, listeners gathered to hear Richard Paul Evans, internationally-known author of “The Christmas Box,” speak on the four great truths to strengthening lives and families.
Evans spoke at City Library Park in Spanish Fork on Sunday as one of the city”s Fiesta Days events.
The first truth was that there is a divinity to our lives and we are all connected to divine sources. Evans said “The Christmas Box” was a divine message to him.
“There is a divine communication. I know it. I rely on it,” Evans said. “We are in such a busy culture: Stop for a while and listen. Your life will change in remarkable ways.”
The second truth was that divine success requires challenges. Evans said our trials make us stronger.
“We succeed precisely because of our challenges,” he said.
Evans quoted his grandfather”s advice when he said, “If you help the [baby] chicken break the egg, you kill the chicken.”
Evans shared a personal experience of when he was diagnosed with Tourette”s Syndrome at age 41. He said at first he was upset because he remembered the times when he was ostracized in grade school for making strange noises.
Then Evans” doctor told him that having Tourette”s Syndrome was a gift. The doctor told him that some of the most compassionate people he had met were those with Tourette”s Syndrome. Then Evans realized having Tourette”s Syndrome was a blessing. He said through the childhood hardships he developed empathy for others.
The third truth was that in order to evolve spiritually, we must release the chains that hold us back. Evans shared another experience of when he forgave a friend”s debt.
Evans said that although he had lost a large sum of money, he felt great. He had freed the friend of his debt and allowed his friend to live a happier life. But, when all was said and done, Evans was the happiest.
“You know who was free? Me,” he said.
Evans said the feeling of forgiving another person is so rewarding that he challenged the audience to pray and ask if there is someone we need to forgive.
The fourth truth was that the greatest power of the Divine is love.
“Love is like air. We all need it,” Evans said.
He said love is shown by serving others and especially in marriage, service is a key component.
“We don”t stop serving people because we stop loving them, we stop loving them because we stop serving them,” Evans said. “Service is love visualized.”
Evans currently lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and five children. He is the founder of The Christmas Box International, an organization dedicated to building shelters and providing services for abused and neglected children.