10449_000_015An invitation from a new ward set me on a path that changed my life.
Illustration by Bryan Beach
When I was younger, my family was not active in the Church. I remember very few instances when I went to Primary. I attended church on special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, baptisms, or blessings. Then, when I was about 13, my family moved from one end of town to the other. I attended the same school and had the same friends. The only difference now was our new ward. Because of this move, everything changed.
One girl in my new ward called me faithfully every week to invite me to church and Mutual. The meetinghouse was just through my backyard. Although I could have walked, she would offer me a ride. She fulfilled her calling as Beehive class president, and I started coming to church. At first, I came because I felt bad saying no. But it wasn’t long before I was coming on my own. I loved being in church, I loved the scriptures, and I loved the girls in our ward.
My freshman year in high school, however, I chose not to take seminary. I thought I didn’t have room in my schedule. I didn’t understand how important seminary was. My friends could say nothing but good about seminary, so I decided to adjust my schedule so that I could take it.
Seminary gave me a fresh outlook on the gospel. Through seminary my testimony of the scriptures developed. I read the entire New Testament and learned about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. My testimony grew at an overwhelming speed. Once again I felt the peace and love the gospel provided me, and I wanted my family to feel it as well.
I began to urge my family to come with me to sacrament meeting. I told them I wanted us to be an eternal family. To encourage them, I would wash everyone’s church clothes on Saturday night so that the excuse “I don’t have anything to wear” was no longer an option. I told them that I had a testimony of the gospel and that I wanted to share it with them. Most important, I prayed. I prayed that my family could know the Spirit the way I did. I wanted them to go to church so that we could someday be sealed in the temple.
It started slowly and took some time, but one warm August morning, my prayers were answered as we were sealed in the Portland Oregon Temple. I felt the Spirit stronger at that moment than ever before. I knew my family could be together forever. To this day I cannot thank my Heavenly Father enough for this wonderful blessing.
Now I am trying my best to be a good example and friend to everyone around me so that perhaps I can do for them what was done for me.