Friday, May 10, 2013

Conversion Story

Since being here we have had several opportunities to speak and a couple of times I have been prompted to share my conversion story. When I was a young child, my family was not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.   However, on Sundays my parents often took us to the nearest church.  When I was around 8 years old, I can remember going to a Sunday School class with several other children.  I enjoyed singing songs about Jesus, but when they taught us about God and Jesus Christ I can remember being very confused.  They taught us that God was so large he could fill the universe and yet he was so small he could dwell in our hearts. As most children are, I understood things very literally.  It just didn’t make sense to me that someone could be so large and so small at the same time.  Or was God magic and would change.  I remember being taught that God was a vengeful God and I learned to become afraid of him if I did something wrong. When I was nine years old we lived in Greenville, South Carolina.  One day two young men with dark pants, white shirts and ties knocked on our door.  They told us they were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and they wanted to teach us about Christ’s church and His gospel.  My parents allowed them to come in.  For a few months they would come at least once a week and teach us about the Church.  As a nine year old I don’t remember much, but I do remember them teaching us about God.  It was so different from what I had been taught before in other churches.  They taught us that God was a kind, loving Heavenly Father who loved us and that I was His daughter and He wanted us to come back home to live with Him.  They taught us that Jesus Christ loves us and died for us so we could go back to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus. Even at nine years old, I can remember how grateful I was to find out that our Heavenly Father was a real Father that I could relate to.  I am thankful for that knowledge every day. My mother and I were baptized a few months later.  It took Dad a little longer as he had to give up his smoking habit. I can remember vividly the missionaries who baptized us, Elder Driggs and Elder Joseph.  Remembering that Elder Driggs was from the Phoenix, AZ area, we looked him up when we visited with Angie once.  He came over to her home and it was a delightful reunion after more than forty years.  I thought of Alma 17:2 when he met his brethren, the sons of Mosiah after serving a mission to the Lamanites for fourteen years. “He rejoiced exceedingly to see his brethren, and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord.”  I will always remember Elder Driggs and Elder Joseph and they will always be “MY” missionaries and I will be eternally grateful they served a mission and came to our home.  Those of you have served missions and will serve missions.  You will always be someone’s missionary.  We have been taught by President Shaw, our mission president, that all of the priesthood holders and many of the young women accepted a call to serve in the pre-earth life and that call needs to fulfilled and magnified.  Rich and I are just now fulfilling that calling and are so grateful to be here.

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