Finding Miracles in the Church
Shivam Shah was baptized a member of the Church in August 2016, on his 22nd birthday. "It was a different feeling. . . . It was surreal," Shah says about his baptism. "I got out of the water and it was like, 'Wow, I am part of something bigger now.' . . . From that moment, I have always wanted to share my story, share what I felt."
A month after his baptism, Shah's brother followed in his footsteps and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though his mother is still Hindu, she often attends church services with her sons, and his father not only understands but is grateful for the path his sons have taken. "I know when I asked him, 'Dad, do you mind if I do this?' [he responded] 'Shivam, you could have been on the roughest path ever, but the path you have chosen is amazing. I would never deny you anything,'" Shah says.
While Shah recognizes the miracle that saved him from being murdered that May two years ago, he also recognizes the hundreds of miracles living the gospel brings into his life every day.
"It is just crazy how the Lord has watched over our family and has brought us out of nowhere to something great. I think this whole experience has taught me that the Lord has answers for everything. He has answers to every situation," Shah says. "I have seen so many tender mercies, so many blessings."
Among those blessings is the way the Lord has changed Shah's heart. At the time he met the missionaries, Shah says, "I would wake up with a double shot of espresso and sleep with a beer bottle next to my bed." But once the missionaries taught him about the Word of Wisdom and he committed to following the Lord, all his cravings for coffee and alcohol vanished, almost overnight. He has experienced similar blessings as he's sacrificed to obey the law of tithing and received unanticipated checks in the mail or unexpected income when he has needed it most. Whether it is the Lord blessing him with unexpected inspiration at work, through prayer, or in the temple, Shah's conversion is an example of how the Lord's hand is apparent in the lives of those who seek Him.
Shah also recognizes that these miracles and God's love have always been a part of his life, even when he did not see them: "Someone once told me that there is no such thing as coincidence. Coincidence is small things Heavenly Father does to make Himself anonymous. I feel He has just given me an extra set of eyes and ears to see Him better."
Currently, Shah is working with his mother to translate the Book of Mormon into their native language, Gujarati. He often sends gospel messages or literature to his relatives in India, driven by a desire to "share what I have seen, what I feel on a daily basis." Shah continues, "It’s true. There is no doubt in my heart that the Book of Mormon is not true."
While Shah strives to share the gospel in any way he can through his story, firesides, and member missionary work, he is hoping to be able to serve a full-time mission and is working to get the proper visa permissions.
"I would love to show people the light I have seen," he says. "I go to church now and I look up to everyone—everyone is a great example to me. . . . They support each other and love each other because no one is perfect. Will we understand everything in the gospel? I don’t think so. Will God get mad if you don’t understand? I don’t think so. [But] if we realize that we are not perfect and we just live together and support each other, love each other, I think that is what our Heavenly Father wants."