Monday, December 30, 2013

Sharing the Gospel

Family picture under to Oak
Tree at Woodland Hills
Ward bldg.
It's always encouraging to me to attend church and listen to spiritual messages that truly resonate with me. Because it was the 5th Sunday of the month, we had a joint Relief Society and Priesthood session in which our Bishop talked to us about sharing the gospel with others. One thing that really stood out to me was when he said something along the lines of "don't be afraid to let everyone know that you are a Mormon. Its interesting because I have a pretty big following as an educator of students, former students and fellow educators and I have always been pretty conscious of the topics that I discuss publicly because of this. I try to stay away from controversial topics such as politics, religion and other personal choices- as not to offend anyone or worse, stir up heated discussions that lead down the wrong path, but hearing my Bishop speak these words from the pulpit was like a neon sign flashing before my eyes. The truth is, my life is amazing and I attribute the amazingness to my faith and choice to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Since most people ask me how I came to know the church, I found it only fitting to begin my blogging journey with my conversion story.

So most of you know that I have had numerous business ventures in my lifetime, and one of my most fulfilling was when I was an independent associate with a financial services firm otherwise known as WFG. I had the opportunity to work directly for the company's power couple who had managed to build a successful empire in the matter of 10 years. I served as their personal assistant for about 6 months and learned so much from them, but not about finances or business management, but being good people who put their faith first, family second and business third. The morals and values that they shared even under dire circumstances and the genuine love, care and concern that they had for other intrigued me to learn more. They invited us to church with them one Sunday and from the moment I entered the building, the spirit was so strong around us. I loved everything about the church but most of all, the love for family and community.

We began taking gospel lessons from our local area missionaries and attended the church building in our local area- my Tarzana Ward Family. Never had I been in a place that genuinely opened their arms up to me and my family and were happy to have us there. It was a match made in heaven. I was baptized along with Chloe and once Shanel turned 8 a year later, she too was baptized. That left Daddy, who despite loving the people in the Ward, supporting church events and having the Gospel in his heart, was not quite ready to take the next step.

It was tough being the head honcho in keeping our family grounded in spirituality. I was constantly faced with questions from the kids about why daddy  was not coming to church with us. There was also a small battle about other gospel principles such as not planning events on the Sabbath and weekly Family Home Evening that I had to face- it got to the point where I was ready to give up but I didn't. We continued to feed the missionaries over the years and have spiritual messages and even gospel lessons. We moved into a new Ward and Daddy had the nerve to ask me, why do "we have to change, can't we just keep going to Tarzana" LOL. I continued to pray for him and for our family and one afternoon, the Bishop, friends from church and the missionaries come by to teach us a Gospel Lesson and concluded by asking him if he would be baptized and he said YES. It shocked the heck out of all of us- I didn't even want to make eye contact in case he decided to change his mind. In fact, I did not mention it during the whole next week, but he was in. It was one of the most amazing baptisms that I had ever attended (next to my own). The chapel was filled from the front to the back and all of our friends from Tarzana and Woodland Hills, joined us for a celebratory dinner afterwards.

I can say my life is close to complete. We have plans to be sealed in the Temple in October 2014 but until then we are now working together as a family to live the Gospel.

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