(talk given by Tresta Neil on November 9, 2014)
I was born into a very religious family. They are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ and I’d like to share with you my conversion story! 🙂
First and foremost it was my family who taught me the gospel of Christ. Today, I’ll share with you things that happened outside my family.
It all began with a missionary.
- When I was 8 years old I sat about half way back in the middle row next to the end. I remember a sister missionary, the first I’d ever known bore her testimony and I knew I wanted to be just like her and go on a mission.
- At 14 years old another sister missionary came and did a fireside for us. She had gone to Canada on her mission and I felt the spirit and knew I wanted to be just like her and go on a mission.
- At BYUI I lead the perfect life, everything was great, good grade, wonderful roommates, fun callings, member of many groups, etc. Etc. I felt my life was going great and decided that it was too perfect and so I did exactly what we are told from this very pulpit not to do. I prayed for trials. I wanted so much to prove to God that I could handle anything.
- I graduated and moved to Ogden a few months later. There I had received the trials I prayed for. I got into the very strenuous nursing program, my professors were not kind, my classes rigorous. Church was foreign and I had a difficult time convincing myself to attend. I was working full time to pay for school and housing. my roommates were unkind and even mean and I moved over ten times in one year. I got to the point where I didn’t feel like my life was worth living. I had failed God and myself. I remember running up a hill and falling under a tree. “Father, I pleaded, I don’t want to live any more, please help me see.” I then heard these words, “You have a work that no other can do.” I finished the statement out loud, “do it so bravely so kindly so well that angels will hasten your story to tell.” I knew I could make it through this and I knew I had to, because no one could do the work God wanted me to. And I also knew God still loved me, I had not failed completely.
- I graduated from nursing school and moved to Provo. By this time I was old enough to go on a mission but was now not worthy. Should I give up on that dream, was it worth it? I often asked myself. The answer? Always, “YES!” I wanted to be a missionary mommy! You know the one who knew the scriptures so well that she would quote them when disciplining her children. A mother that was so close to God that everything she did was what He would do if He were here. I wanted to be the perfect wife and mother and in my mind going on a mission was the only way I could achieve that – I could not bare to think of being a mother without first being a missionary. So, I spent a year getting worthy to serve and working, saving everything so I could pay for 100% of my mission.
I believe living in the spirit is like standing on a ball. When you are at the very top, balanced and stable you are in the spirit, in control able to think. When you are tipping off the ball is when you no longer have the spirit, you are concentrating more on not falling than on the beauty given you. You believe Satan’s lies of being unworthy, not good, ugly, etc. Stand back up, know who you are and what you are here to accomplish.
One scripture keeps me going D&C 4:2 If you have to desire you are called to the work. I had the desire to serve God and I knew I was called – I would make it on a mission.
- I served a mission in the Netherlands and I was a go getter, I was there for three reasons:
- to learn as much as I could including memorize scripture,
- have amazing experiences and
- learn to be the best mommy ever.
- One experience, we were tracking and I felt the spirit so strong about an area. So a few days later we tracked the area, it was hard, no one would answer the doors, we had several slam the door in our face, but I was still happy, I knew we would find someone in this area. Sure enough. There was a door and I could see a guy sitting on the couch, but he didn’t come to the door, I knocked louder, nothing, so I knocked on the window. Finally he came to the door and yelled through the door telling us he couldn’t open the door to come around the back. We ended up teaching him and he was later baptized. God led us to him. 🙂
- Other missionary experiences.
- Amanda – “even I can be forgiven”
- Children – “What happens to our bodies when we die?…Resurrected bodies, can we eat, what happens to the food… tangents are good.
I did become a mommy – it isn’t as easy as I had thought it would be before my mission. And I haven’t raised only Nephi type children. I sometimes tipped on the ball and make mistakes. But there is one thing I know for sure! My children were sent to me not just for me to help them, but for them to teach me and to make me into a different person. I love the plan of God.
9. Blessings our family has received for having a missionary out:
1 – Etienne- I told him he had to stay with me forever and give me hugs and kisses every day of my life. He said, “I can’t do that, I have to do what Teo is doing and go on a mission.”
2 – Tirzaan- I asked him, “why do I love you?” “Because I’m cute!”, “Sometimes you are not cute, so that is not the reason.” After talking with his big brothers and sisters, he came back with “You love me because I’m a child of God.” “yes, but if that were the only case I would love everyone as much as I love you and I love you more than some others.” He consulted with his big brothers and sisters again and that night he came to me and said, “Mom, you love me because I am your son and Jesus sent me to you so you can love me.” 🙂 “Yes, Tirzaan, that is exactly right, I love you because you are mine!”
3 – Matteo – relationship to God, read the quotation about his relationship with God.
4 – FHE – we are having FHE much more regularly and enjoying and even look forward to it.
5 – Izaak has been turning back to God. His institute class is changing his perspective and life.
6 – All of our testimonies increased greatly… on and on
I know that this church is the living church of the earth. I know God lives! I know Christ died for me and you so that we may return. I know that we have a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, on the earth today. I know that I am a child of God and of Christ and that by always learning more about them I can become like them and achieve my goal of being able to act exactly like they would in every situation.