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In the past few years, I have been involved in caring for my father-in-law, who lived with us for five years with alzheimers and my own mother and father. My father-in-law passed away four years ago. My father passed away last April at 95 years old from diabetes and congestive heart failure. My mother still lingers with severe dementia. Instead of serving a mission as we had planned when my husband retired 6 years ago, the Lord had a different path for us. Having no medical training, I have at times felt overwhelmed at the responsibilities I faced. My three sisters and I have learned to work together and give what we each could contribute to accomplish the things that have needed to be done for our parents. Even though these experiences have not been easy, I have experienced growth and stretching for which I am most grateful. It has given me the opportunity to gain greater love and appreciation for those who have given so much to me over the years. I have also experienced many tender mercies of the Lord.
I was baptized at the age of 8 years old. I remember feeling clean and determined to follow the example of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Over the years my testimony has grown of Him and His part in Our Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation. Now, more than ever before, my testimony of families and the opportunity to be together forever in the presence of our Eternal Heavenly Father brings me great joy. It feels good to live according to the prescribed plan we find in Holy Scriptures--The Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. I know these teachings are true and from God, and that as we strive to live as true disciples of Jesus Christ, we will have joy. Our lives may not be easy and will not be free from trial and pain, but we will have the strength and guidance of a loving Heavenly Father to help us along the way. I can find peace and comfort amidst the chaos of this world filled with dissenting and distracting voices. It is a great blessing to know that I am a child of God and that He loves and cares for me. It is also nice to know that He loves all of mankind as His children and it helps me to know how to view them and how He expects me to treat them. He is aware of each one of us and wants us to return to Him when we are finished with our mission here on earth. I know these things by the Holy Ghost which gift was given to me after I was baptized. It is one of the greatest gifts I have and I try to live worthy of it every day.
I have the opportunity to serve in the women's organization in our area. I have responsibility to lead and teach over 1,000 women. Our purpose is to increase in faith in Jesus Christ and the ability to follow His commandments, strenthen homes and families, and seek out and help those in need. I have the opportunity to visit in many homes and organize service to many individuals and families. It is a joy to unite with other women of faith to accomplish these purposes. I seek the guidance of the Spirit through daily prayer and scripture study. I find there are many opportunities both small and great to be about the Lord's work. Ultimately, this work is to help Heavenly Father's children develop charity, which is the pure love of Christ for those around us. This is what I desire for my own life and the lives of my children and grandchildren--to feel and exemplify that pure love of Christ. He has given his life for us because He loves us. My love for Him grows as I serve those around me.