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I grew up in Southern California with four siblings. My parents were very loving and taught us well in our home. My father was initially attracted to how our church supported families. As he learned more, he gained a testimony of it's truthfulness and was baptized. Having parents who loved and served the Lord has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. After graduating from high school I attended college in Idaho, where I met my favorite teacher. We were married almost 39 years ago in the Los Angeles Temple for time and all eternity. We raised our family, 3 sons and 2 daughters, near BYU-Idaho in an amazing community. Our children are all married and now have families of their own. We are the proud grandparents of 18 grandchildren, (ages 14 years to 1 month), who make our world go-round! Serving a full-time mission with my husband in New York City was a great experience for us. We love those we were able to teach and serve. Bettering their lives was our goal. Surprisingly, getting to know others and sharing the gospel with many, strengthened and enriched our relationship. We will always be grateful for that opportunity. Our family is everything to us. Recently we moved to be closer to our children and grandchildren. We have again found terrific friends and neighbors in our new community and love the new congregation where we attend our church meetings.
When I was growing up, my parents encouraged me to attend church with friends and learn about other religions. I also invited my friends to come to Primary with me. During my teen years I had a great desire to know that the gospel was true. I studied and prayed and remember when my prayers were answered. During a special evening meeting called a "fireside," as the speaker was sharing his testimony of the gospel, I received a sure witness from the Holy Ghost that it was true. I felt it in my heart and have never doubted my testimony. I honestly cannot imagine raising our family without the help and tools our religion provides. Having faith and knowing our Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness gives meaning to my life each day. I invite the Spirit to help me daily through prayer. I try to study and learn more about our Savior, Jesus Christ, through the scriptures. They teach of Christ and I try to live as He would have me live. One of the things I love the most about our faith is that we make promises with God. They are called covenants. We promise to do certain things and God promises blessings. Covenants strengthen me and my family. We are true to one another and to God. We are not perfect and sometimes make mistakes. We can repent and better ourselves as we progress in this life. Everything about the gospel helps me in my quest to be a little better each day. I am so thankful for Joseph Smith who was called to restore the gospel to the earth. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon through revelation. He asked God which church he should join. I know that our Heavenly Father and our elder brother, Jesus Christ appeared to him. Today, our prophet, President Monson, leads and guides our church. It is The Church of Jesus Christ. It is true and it blesses my life continually. My faith gives me hope and strength. I have a great desire to return to live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with my family forever.
I know that each of us chose to follow Jesus Christ before we came to this earth. That is why we are here and we can each choose to follow Him again. Our Heavenly Father has a Plan of Happiness for all of His children that adds purpose and peace to my life each day. I know why I'm here and where I am going. I will be reunited with my loved ones again. My father passed away while I was serving a mission. The Holy Ghost gave me great comfort during this time. I wanted to share that wonderful gift with everyone I met. Having that assurance, knowing we were born to grow and progress in this life, and we will die and be with family forever brings me joy. I miss my dad, but I look forward to the time when we will never have to say, "Goodbye," again.
I share the gospel with my friends because I want to share my happiness with them. My husband and I have been able to take friends and family members to the Boise Idaho Temple Open House. Each time we have felt an abundant spirit of peace. Ours guests have felt it too and better understand why we love to attend the temple and serve. Twelve of our grandchildren have been able to see this beautiful house of God where families are joined for eternity. We feel close to our Heavenly Father as we do His work and celebrate the happiness that comes as we become more like Him. I am so excited to have our temple rededicated this month by President Monson.
I try to help my family and that is a great source of joy for me. I have had the opportunity to serve in the temple near my home. My new bishop asked me to organize a service project for our congregation. Through that experience I was able to make new friends with my committee members in our church. We organized a drive and collected items for needy school children in our city. It was a great success and we will never know how many lives were touched. I know mine was for sure! Recently I was asked to serve another mission with my husband. We are new Church-Service Missionaries, or CSMs. Thousands of CSMs serve through out the world. We are living in our new home and we help to coordinate hundreds of missionaries that serve in our area. I have learned so much about all of the CSMs who give of their time and talents freely, because my service opportunity is organizing all of them. Here's just a few of the ways CSM service is given. CSMs teach unemployed individuals and train them so they can get a job. Many are taught English, how to read, and run a cash register. CSMs serve those that struggle with addiction, teaching them how to overcome them by giving of their time and love. Food and necessities are given through out the world and prepared by CSMs. Trucks are loaded and unloaded and canneries are busy year-round. People discover their roots, learning about their ancestors through genealogy and CSM's assist them every step of the way. We even have CSMs helping to organize Red Cross blood drives within our area. I could go on and on sharing this marvelous work. I should also add that in addition to CSMs (who serve for at least 8 hours a week, for 6 to 48 months), many people serve as long-term volunteers. Some are not members of our church. They make a great difference by helping others and we so appreciate them. Furthering the Lord's work on this earth, is what we are about. Latter-day Saints believe in serving others. As we bless others, we are blessed.