Kyle and I were cleaning up and purging junk from our bedroom today and it’s time to say goodbye to my seminary scriptures.
I haven’t used them in years, because Chewy peed on them YEARS ago (before Kyle and I got married). Ya gross, I know. I only kept them because I felt evil throwing them away. So they have sat in a scripture case on the bookshelf for our entire marriage. So in purging the junk from our house, it’s time to get rid of them. I have two other sets of scriptures. I don’t need the yucky ones. I still feel wicked throwing them away. I tried to hand them to Kyle to throw away because he was closer to the trash can and he looked at me but refused to take them. Then he said ‘I don’t want to do it!’ Sigh.
I decided to look through them quickly before throwing them out, just to make sure I didn’t have anything tucked in the pages that I may have wanted to keep. I did find a real treasure in there. I had tucked in the front a paper that appears to be a talk that my dad gave shortly after we joined the church, which I would like to record here:
“As many of you know my wife and I were baptized in June of last year and seven of our children followed in August. I’ve been asked to talk about Missionary work and how it brought my family to the church.
In order to explain how we got here I must first explain where we came from. When I was young my family went through periods of investigating different churches and times of staying home. Christian values were taught by example and through other organizations that I belonged to. I grew up knowing about Jesus Christ, be He was not a central part of our lives. When I was ten years old I was in a boys organization similar to the boy scouts and was taught many things. Among them a list of precepts and aims to live by. The precepts are “Be Kind, Live Pure, Speak Truth, Right Wrong, Defend the Weak, Play the Game Square.” These values precede everything that we do in our lives. After these there are our aims, “Be Prompt, Obey Orders, Be Neat, Avoid Slang, Be Polite, Be Positive.” There there was the motto “I Serve-The man who tries to lead others without considering himself to be, first of all, in the service of those he leads, will always be finally rewarded with failure-when humility might have led to success.” And on my desk sits the prayer that closed our meetings “Oh God, my father and friend, teach me to be a true Christian gentleman, help me to think pure thoughts that I may be a clean man, help me to keep my body pure, that I may use it to serve Thee, help me to be truthful, that my tongue may sing Thy praise, help me to be honest, that I may win the confidence of men, help me to build a Christian character, that I may be worthy of those who love me, teach me to respect all women as I do my mother, make my life one of service, and when I am tempted, may I sit humbly at the foot of the cross and look up to Thee for strength, Amen”.
With this foundation I entered adulthood and the responsibilities of raising a family. My job filled six days a week averaging 14 hours a day, and evenings were filled with our fixer upper home and our ever growing family, and Sundays were for sleeping in, having a big family breakfast, visiting extended family and paying the bills. We often felt the blessings that Heavenly Father was bestowing upon us but we rarely gave Him our thanks.
I’m sure that if any of you have teenagers you’ll understand how Heavenly Father felt about us.
Heavenly Father continued to watch over us and patiently wait, He continued to bless us with more children and even though we were struggling financially, somehow things always seemed to work out for us. Then one day when we were expecting our tenth child, an opportunity came out of the clear blue sky for us to move to a larger home in a much better neighborhood. Heavenly Father was blessing us yet again. With the change we finally decided to include church and Christ into our lives. About this time stormy weather hit when our new born son, Timothy Joseph, suddenly died. Fr a time we felt that great emptiness that comes from being alone and lost. We no longer felt that Heavenly Father was watching over us, or that He cared about us. We felt that He had given up n us. After a while these feelings gave way and we becaume involved in another church, hoping to make some sense out of our experience. Although we attended this other church, off and on, for a couple years, we still felt that something was missing. During this time my wife, and children were befriending others in our neighborhood and soon I found myself invited to carious gatherings of these friends. These good people seemed to have the same values that I grew up believing in. Only they also seemed to have the one ingredient that I could never put my finger on. After about a year it finally dawned on me that they were all from the same church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is when I realized that the difference was Christ. Good values aren’t enough, going to church isn’t enough, nothing short of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will ever be enough. I suddenly knew that Heavenly Father had picked up my family, knowing that hard times were soon to come our way, and placed us in Yorba Linda not because we wanted a bigger home but because Christ is living here. We had thought that we were moving to Yorba Linda but in fact we were moving to the Anaheim East Stake. We had thought that we were moving to a better neighborhood but in fact we were being placed in the loving hands of Yorba Linda Third Ward. Heavenly Father was, as always, taking care of us. He knows as I now know that Christ lives in the dad to dad lives of the members of His church.
When people talk of missionaries they are usually referring to the young men and women who spend two years of their lives in the service of the Lord, teaching families like mine about the restored gospel. They are an important part of the effort. But I’m here today as living proof that when they return home their mission has really just begun. Each day we must live the life that Christ taught us to live and when we invite others to share the blessings, they, like myself, will notice, and will ask and will open their doors and hearts to the message that our youth have pledged to teach.
When I was a child there was a poster on the refrigerator door, I remember reading it when I went to the kitchen to snitch cookies before dinner. It read “No one saves us but ourselves, no one can, no one may, others only point the path, we ourselves must walk the way.” I will be eternally grateful to you full time missionaries that took time out of your lives to point to the path that Nephi speaks of. The path that has an iron rod for support. I will be eternally grateful to Heavenly Father for his patience with me and his love for me. It’s my intention to not only walk the path but to share it with others. I encourage each of you to continue doing the same.
I share my thoughts with you this morning in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
My family were baptized in 1998 so this talk must have been from 1999. 🙂