I've spent my entire life searching for something more. I’ve never found it in any other church. I'd come, I'd go. Everyone just seemed to gloss over the gospel. Jesus loves you and that's it, go in peace. It was a little too easy and I always felt something was missing.
When I moved across the street from my neighbors I'd see them leave for church every Sunday. I'd see missionaries coming over to their house and think "what are they doing? Those people are already Mormon! They're wasting their time! Why aren't they at my door?" I'd wait outside hoping just to catch a glimpse of their happy perfect family. My heart grew envious. They had it all. No they didn't have a huge house or a fancy car. But they had it all. They had everything that mattered and I wanted some of it. Even if it was just a little bit. I feel like my heart had been longing for this church for a long time, but when my mother and I bought our home and it was in my face every day, it was almost unbearable. What made them so different than me? Or more deserving of such happiness? The only difference between us that I could come up with was the fact that they were Mormon. I could no deny the fact that the Holy Spirit was reaching out to me and this was something I needed to take action on.
I went to the website and waited. Nothing. I became so frustrated. Didn’t they understand that this was something I needed in my life? What was so wrong with me that nothing was happening? One day, I ran into a young man at the Wal-Mart in his missionary attire. I pretty much took all my frustration out on him. I basically yelled at him, “Why haven't I got my book of Mormon yet and why aren't there missionaries knocking on my door!?" The poor guy stood there shocked and politely took down my address and phone number. I thought to myself, "Now I'm definitely not getting any missionaries."
The next week, I swindled my mother and my uncle into going to St George. It was a short day trip and they had a Cracker Barrel so that was a pretty easy sell to my mother. But the one thing I really wanted to do was check out the Brigham Young winter home. I heard that missionaries gave the tours and I promised myself I'd be nicer this time. Although in the back of my mind I thought, "I probably already blacklisted, but let's give it a try. If nothing else, I get to see a cool old house and at this point I really have nothing to lose." This sweet old lady gave us a tour of the old house and that's when I finally received my book of Mormon. She also took down my information to pass along to missionaries. I doubted any would ever show since I was so mean to the one boy, but I was at least happy I got the book.
However to my surprise, and despite my lack of patience, God did send some missionaries my way. And because He knows all things and has perfect timing he sent me the most perfect ladies I could ask for. Ladies that loved me before they even knew me. It was pure perfect sisterly love and acceptance. And this is the most amazing journey I've ever been on. I've never felt more at home than in the Mormon Church or when I'm surrounded by all of my sisters in Christ. I've never felt more at peace or more accepted. Or more loved. My heart is joyous every time I come here. I know that God has chosen me to be here now because maybe I wasn't up for the challenge before. Or maybe my missionaries weren't ready for me yet.
I've gone through some trials in my life and I've felt completely lost before. But all that pain has dissipated and disappeared. My heart is no longer filled with sadness or contention, but it overflows with an overwhelming joy and love. Being a very cautious and hesitant person, I questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing by coming to this church. Was this truly the path that God had designed for me? Was it really worth all this effort of having to search out my own missionaries. Did they even really want me there? Was I even worthy? One evening, after my lessons with the Sisters, I fell on my knees and with an open heart I prayed and asked God all of these things. I felt the Lord wrap his arms around me and comfort me. He spoke to my heart saying, “My precious little lamb. I would never lead you astray. I’m guiding you to a place where you will know complete joy and unending love.”
This was the testimony that I shared at my baptism and at our Stake Conference. But I feel the need to say more. The husband of one of my dearest friends baptized me. He told me that after my baptism to be prepared for all the blessings that I would receive. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I was definitely not prepared for it. I thought my life was going pretty good and I enjoyed it. I didn't really want for more. I have been blessed abundantly in the last few months. I feel almost undeserving of all that the Lord has bestowed upon me. It is truly unreal. After I left the Navy, my heart was broken. I didn’t even leave the house much for two years. I didn’t work. I didn’t date. I isolated myself and at the time I was okay with that. But once I started taking the lessons with the missionaries everything changed. I was met with an overwhelming desire to be a part of something again. And I have to admit I’m pretty popular now. I walk now with a confidence I never had before. And although LDS dating hasn’t always worked out in my favor, I don’t get my feelings hurt like I did before. And I’m not lonely. Ever. I know that God has wonderful plans for me and as long as I walk in His favor, he will continue to bless me. The more blessings I get the more I want to share and bless others. It is amazing how God works and answers our prayers.
I would like to encourage every member here to open their mouths and spread the gospel. You don’t know how your words or actions can affect others and help bring them home. I know, I am eternally grateful for every member in my ward for the lessons they have taught me, through their actions and their kind words of encouragement. I would also like to encourage every investigator here to open your minds and your hearts. As much as you think you’ve done or experienced the Lord still loves you and wants you to come home to him.
As much emotional and spiritual turmoil we have experienced in our lives, Jesus suffered a thousand times more. He not only took upon himself the sins of the world, but he felt every emotional heartache of everyone that has ever lived or will ever live .Not the entire population of the earth as we know it. But the entire population of the earth since the beginning of time until the end. The heartaches and sadness and anger of every man, woman and child who has ever lived and even those you have yet to be born. As much as we have ever suffered physically Jesus suffered a thousand times more. Everything that we experience in life Jesus has already done. Every heartache we have experienced or will experience he knows. He knows our suffering and he recognizes it. And After all of His suffering however he was resurrected. And through him we too may be resurrected and made new .The resurrection adds meaning to our lives. It gives us direction and the opportunity to start over again no matter what the circumstance. Our savior wants us to lean on him through everything. He wants us to love him and to focus our lives on him. If we do this one simple thing, he promises us happiness and eternal salvation. And how hard is it really, to love a man who has done so much for you? I know this church is true and that the Holy Spirit dwells here and inside all of us. I'm home now and I know that God has put me right here where I belong.