Finding spiritual light in a lonely place

Aurimas Šimonėlis said his decision to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has brought many blessings into his life, including greater direction through the promptings of the Holy Ghost. (Sydney Anderson).

LONDON – When it came time for Aurimas Šimonėlis to attend university, he wanted to study somewhere bigger and more diverse than his little Lithuanian hometown.

He wanted to expand his cultural and intellectual horizons, but did not anticipate the spiritual growth he would undergo after moving to London.

For a while, Aurimas struggled to adapt to the new environment. Though he loved the many cultures and opportunities he found in London, he quickly realized how lonely the city could be. “With so many people and so many cultures, it seems like it’s easy to make friends,” he said, “but actually, cultural barriers can make it really difficult. It’s easy to feel so alone.”

As he pressed on through his first year of school, he continued searching for meaning amid his feelings of loneliness. One sunny summer day, Aurimas was enjoying a walk at the park when he met two young men in white shirts and ties. They greeted him and began speaking with him about their purpose as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

As they spoke, Aurimas was impressed with their willingness to give up two years of their lives to preach what they believed. “I was interested in their message because I had never really had religious beliefs, and meeting people my age with such strong beliefs was so different,” he said.

This meeting set him on the path to discovering an even greater purpose for his move to London.

Aurimas began meeting with the missionaries weekly. He loved reading the stories in The Book of Mormon and felt uplifted by the experiences of the people therein. The missionaries encouraged Aurimas to get down on his knees and ask God to know if The Book of Mormon and the Church were true.

“I had never really prayed before, and I felt a little weird about it at first,” he said. “But when I did it, I was surprised at how good I felt. After the first time, I began praying every morning and night because I loved how it felt.”

For two weeks, he prayed at least twice a day to know if the Church was true. “It felt so right that I knew it wasn’t just a temporal thing. I knew the feelings were coming from God.”

After receiving that sure witness from the Holy Ghost, he decided to be baptized and become a member of the Church. 

Aurimas testified that many blessings in his life have come from that decision, especially the presence of the Holy Ghost guiding him through daily prayer. “Before I began praying regularly, I had to rely on my own thoughts to determine right from wrong,” he said. “But now, talking to my Father in Heaven certainly helps me to know the good and the bad more clearly and my feelings are so much stronger.”

Besides gaining more spiritual clarity, becoming a member of the Church provided him with the sense of community he had been searching for since he arrived in London. “I no longer feel the loneliness that I did when I first arrived. I know this is where God wants me to be.”

Now, Aurimas tries to share the happiness that he has gained as much as he can with the people around him. “Whether it’s people I know at school, or even people I don’t know, I always want to share these truths because I know they can change lives for the better,” he said.

Aurimas has some advice for anyone who feels like they are in darkness or, like they can’t find answers to their soul’s deepest questions.

He said, “Remember the times when you have felt guided in your life…Remember those feelings, and it will help you find the answers you’re looking for.”

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