This is Part 2 of a 2-part article. Click here to read Part 1.
From war-torn Croatia to Gordon B. Hinckley Presidential Scholar and the metropolis of New York City
Young Katarina Jambresic navigated her way through complex schooling and USA immigration policies using faith and fasting. With the help of the Lord, she made her dreams come true. Here is an excerpt from her story, in her own words.
Katarina Jambresic: Tuesday Fasting: Part 2
“Your visa will be ready at 3 o’clock.”
As I stepped outside of the American Consulate, I had a triumphant smile on my face. I no longer just believed but knew that, with God, anything was possible—no matter the odds. I learned that God’s plan for me would never be thwarted by men. My confidence in the principle of prayer and fasting was now unshakeable. I owned the world that day. It was a defining moment of my life.
I now viewed faith as a special power. I feasted on the likes of 3 Nephi 18:20 and Matthew 17:20: “And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.” “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
My departure was hard on my parents. They knew I would visit, but likely never permanently return. I am grateful for the love they showed and sacrifices they made to allow me to make my own choices and pursue a path different from their own. I remember the moment my father counted two months of his salary in cash and handed it over to the airline ticket agent. I remember them consoling each other when they thought I was asleep. I had the parents that my friends wished for and a childhood I only hope I can one day give my children. Now it was time to move forward.
Arriving in Utah, my host family was a wonderful example of how an LDS family functioned. They came from a string of righteous pioneers, and their whole extended family embraced me. There were rules of conduct in the house, and I was introduced to the concept of a curfew. We studied the scriptures, held Family Home Evenings, and had family prayer….
“At least you should apply to BYU-Idaho and a couple other schools. You could always transfer later,” my new “church dad” said.
“I came only to go to BYU Provo. I am not going to write essays on why I want to attend BYU-Idaho or any other school when I don’t.”
I also felt that applying to a different school as a back-up plan would be a statement of doubt.
As the February 15th deadline approached, I received my letter of admission. I had checked off a couple of scholarships I could qualify for, including the Gordon B. Hinckley Presidential Scholarship that was awarded to 12 males and 12 females each year.
Due to family dinners and activities on Sundays back in Croatia, I was in a habit of fasting on a regular week day when I could do so incognito. I pulled out my spiritual magic wand, or “miracle wand,” and set out to fast every Tuesday, meticulously making sure it went for at least 24 hours and my purpose was clearly stated. I had heard that if you almost obey the commandment, you almost receive a blessing.
Within weeks, the phone rang. “Congratulations, you are a finalist for the Gordon B. Hinckley Scholarship. You are invited to come to BYU for a three-day evaluation process.”
The rest was in the Lord’s hands. I was awarded the Gordon B. Hinckley Presidential Scholarship a few weeks later.
When I finally turned 18, six years in the making, and now in Utah, I was baptized by my very first missionary.
I went on to attend BYU and enjoyed my time there. I spent every summer back home in Croatia. Now I work in New York City.
I have enjoyed living near a temple. Heaven always feels much closer there. I am grateful for the sacrifices my ancestors made so that I can have the life I have today. Their circumstances were humble and their opportunities few, but their hearts were immense. I had been showered by their love while they were still here, and I still feel it transcend the veil. I love them and feel that it is my duty and, more importantly, my privilege to bring them the blessings of the eternities.
I am grateful for the unshakeable testimony, solidified in my youth, that had prepared me for times when answers to prayers no longer came with a February 15th deadline. Over the years, I have learned that the greatest miracles are wrought through fairly simple principles. They require obedience and faith. Obedience leads to more confidence in prayer. When we qualify for the blessings we seek, we exert more faith that they will be granted. “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20–21). “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (D&C 82:10).
God’s will and timing are always paramount, and our patience may be tried more than our faith, but we have the right through obedience to obtain God’s blessings. It is up to us to claim them.
Faith is an actual power. Scriptures teach us that it can be measured. References abound of “little faith,” “great faith,” “exceedingly great faith,” and faith the “size of a mustard seed.” It is a principle with a promise. We receive no witness until after the trial of our faith.
I don’t know what the unit of measure for faith is, but I do know this—the amount of faith we exert is directly proportional to the results we obtain.
Hi, I’m Katarina. I am a Croatian convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a BYU alumni, a former Gordon B. Hinckley Presidential Scholar, and a new author. I am excited about life. I love travel, cultures, real food, and people – even my roommates are usually a nice international mix. I love deep discussions and good debates. I am forward thinking and creative but walk by faith and aspire to inspire. I am equally social and independent. I enjoy cooking and won’t follow a recipe if I can make it healthier. Though I reside in New York City, I can be seen anywhere except Antarctica. I’m pretty unique – just like everybody else. To see Katarina’s next miracle click here.
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