Out behind Kaitlyn (9) and Neil (6) Sampson’s home in Windham, Maine, is a wonderful forest. It is made up of trees and bushes and bugs and flowers and grass and mud and little animals, as in any forest. But this one is special because it is theirs. They know its paths, its hiding places, its seasons, and its welcome. It’s one of their favorite places to play, and it’s one of the reasons this brother and sister love their home in New England. They have friends and family in other places far away, and they miss them; but for now, this is home and they love it.
Mom (Kathy), Dad (Bill), Kaitlyn, and Neil try to follow the counsel given to us by the prophets and live the principles learned from the scriptures. And they also try to be good examples of Latter-day Saints because most of their neighbors are not members of the Church. Every Monday evening they hold family home evening and learn about keeping Heavenly Father’s commandments. For a couple of months before Kaitlyn was baptized, the family studied this important ordinance and the promises she was to make when she became a member of the Church. Partly because of her good preparation, Kaitlyn had a very wonderful feeling when she received the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The family has also learned about honesty, kindness, love, and standing up for what you believe to be right. Neil especially likes it when they watch videos about the Book of Mormon. Sometimes Molly and Ruskin, the family’s two Shetland sheep dogs, attend family home evening, but according to Neil, the pets are still having a hard time with the reverence lesson.
Neil likes to play every sport he hears about—basketball, football, baseball, soccer, golf, tennis, lacrosse, T-ball. Kaitlyn likes to swim and excels in track. But both children are willing to also help their mom. Kaitlyn clears the table after meals, feeds the dogs, cleans her room, and generally does anything else she is asked to do. Neil cleans his room, sets the table for meals, and sometimes helps with the dogs.
Summer is a beautiful time in New England, and Kaitlyn and Neil both like to run and climb trees, play tag and hide-and-seek, and go on picnics. There are many lakes and beaches close by, fun spots for the family to visit.
Summer is also a good season for imaginary voyages. At times the swing set in the backyard has been turned into an explorer’s boat in Neil’s imagination, or a wilderness outpost in Kaitlyn’s.
During the long winter months, when the snow is piled deep around their house, Kaitlyn and Neil like to play board games with the family, play computer games with each other, draw, and read. Kaitlyn’s favorite books are the Little House series, and Neil likes 101 Dalmatians. The family reads the Book of Mormon together, and this has not only helped them love the gospel more, it has also helped Neil become a good reader.
All year around, the family goes to church together on Sunday. Neil had a Primary teacher whom he loved who recently left to serve a mission. Neil plans on doing the same thing when he is old enough. Kaitlyn especially enjoys doing the class presentation when it is her class’s turn to do Sharing Time. Good friends are found at church, and there is a family feeling in the Windham Ward.
Though both Kaitlyn and Neil have important plans for the future—Kaitlyn wants to dig up dinosaur bones, and Neil wants to drive a train—they know that the gospel of Jesus Christ will always be a very important part of all they do. It is now, and they like it that way.