I grew up on a farm in Colonia Dublán, México, and I learned early how to do farm chores. My father had a large family, and we all had certain assignments. One day after I had finished my chores, I went inside. I had little leaves and pieces of straw and hay in the cuffs of my pants, so I decided to clean them out.
I lifted the lid off our wood-burning stove and dumped the hay and straw into the fire. I stirred the coals and watched the straw and hay sparkle and burn on them in the stove. When I put the lid back on the stove, somehow a hot metal poker slipped and hit me in the center of my eye.
To this day, I remember the incredible pain and agony I felt. My mother heard my screams and came running to my aid. She picked me up in her arms and carried me to her bedroom, where she held me most of the night.
I was only about six years old, and I don’t remember a lot of details about that evening. But I do remember her holding me and cuddling me, trying to comfort me in the midst of such terrible pain. My father was out of town, so my mother spent the night with me alone, praying fervently to Heavenly Father for help and healing.
I spent much of the night crying, but at some point I fell asleep. The next morning I awoke. There was no sign of any burns, no mark, no loss of vision. The faith of my mother had healed me.
Although my mother died before I was eight years old, this story and similar ones remind me of her faith and trust in a loving Heavenly Father. In addition, my father’s strong example of obedience and righteousness taught me the importance of believing in God. I knew that my parents could not be wrong, and I followed in their footsteps as I learned about the gospel and learned to love Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.
My father was an incredible man. He was bishop of our ward for twenty-nine years, including my entire childhood. His quiet, strong example meant a lot to me. I learned a lot by watching him.
One of the most important lessons I learned was the importance of paying tithing. I watched ward members give my father their tithing, and I watched him at night write tithing receipts for these humble offerings. I watched my mother gather the eggs the chickens laid and save one out of every ten to pay for tithing. My parents taught me how to save one-tenth of the few pesos and pennies I earned, and I treasured the tithing receipt I received after paying my tithing.
Paying tithing is a true demonstration of our faith in Heavenly Father, and learning that principle at a young age is important. When you learn as a child to put aside a full and honest tithing, you establish actions and choices that you will be blessed for throughout your life. Decide now, my young brothers and sisters, to pay your tithing. Make that commitment now with your pennies, and it will be much easier when you get older. Paying tithing is a principle of faith you can’t afford to ignore.
Another thing I learned from my father is gratitude. When I was a child, there was a severe drought in our community. Weeks and weeks passed with no water, and our small farming community was suffering. As the bishop, Father told the ward members to fast and pray for water. He also counseled them to settle any bad feelings among each other so that we could have feelings of love and unity in our ward.
I remember gathering for the special fast and testimony meeting we held to plead for water. During the meeting, it began to rain. It rained so heavily that we couldn’t leave the meetinghouse! We had to wait for it to stop before we could go home.
Our prayers were answered. In gratitude, my father invited the ward members back the next week for a second fast and testimony meeting—this one to thank the Lord for sending the water. I learned at a young age to thank Heavenly Father for the blessings He gives us.
The Bible tells about ten very sick people who asked Jesus to heal them. When He answered their pleas, the ten men went away rejoicing. Only one man returned to thank Jesus for making him better. (See Luke 17:12–19.) It is very important that we thank Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for the great blessings we have in our lives.
I am very blessed because I have never really doubted that the gospel was true. The righteous examples of my mother and father made it easy to believe in a loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Of course, I had to study and learn about the gospel on my own, and I gained an even stronger testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel when I served my mission.
I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live. I know that They hear and answer our prayers, and I know that They will always be there for you. Decide now to be obedient and to pray every day, and you will be guided and directed in your lives. You will be able to experience the joy and happiness that come from knowing that you are living the way Heavenly Father wants you to live.