Each year my grandparents have included a Christmas letter with their annual Christmas cards and mom had hoped to include his talk with our cards and letters, however Grandpa had already prepared and sealed his envelopes, so mom was unable to include his talk. Due to this possibly being his last given talk, I asked if I could share it for those who may be interested.
SACRAMENT MEETING DEC 18 2011
MY THOUGHTS OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST
I have pondered and prayed about how I should proceed to put my thoughts on paper for someone else to read without me being there. It is a challenge for me, as most always, I relied on the Holy Spirit to direct me as I prepared any talk that I ever gave. There were times while speaking, my prepared talk was laid aside and I spoke directly as guided by that same Spirit. With this in mind, I pray humbly for the Holy Ghost to direct my thoughts, and that same Spirit will rest upon the person who will be speaking, and that same Spirit be with you that are hearing.
When my daughter Debbie called and told me that the Bishopric had asked her to tell me they wanted me to speak in Sacrament through a proxy speaker. Tears came rushing to my eyes, and I couldn't speak for a while. I then asked her to tell me again of their request. Now several days later, I am facing deep concern about my ability to express my deepest feelings about Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As a small boy, I was never able to attend church; however both my parents were Christians. My mother was a Baptist and my father a Presbyterian. Since we lived on a farm some eight miles from town and the closest church, I never had the luxury to attend church or even hear the gospel, so my knowledge of God and Jesus Christ were very limited. However, I realized at an early age that there was something greater than I that I was lacking, especially as I looked upward into the nighttime sky. Away from the city lights, and saw the billions of stars and the Milky Way that illuminated the heavens, it was unbelievable for a young boy to understand. To see a baby chicken break its way through it's shell, to see a baby pig or calf being born, helped me realize that I was surrounded by the miracles of nature, and I was nothing more than an insignificant human being.
When I was in the 5th grade, I attended a small one-room country school, where all eight grades were taught by a single teacher, who was also the janitor, custodian and took care of all the responsibilities of a school. My teacher was the Baptist Minister's daughter. During the year, she would read to us after lunch. She read a lot of bible stories as well as memorizing the Lord's Prayer, the 23rd psalm and other scripture verses. It didn't mean much at the time, but since then, I can see how important that one person was in my life, as it opened up a desire to learn more about God and Jesus Christ. In my sophomore year in High School, I lived with my grandmother, and every Wednesday night I attended prayer meeting with her and every Sunday, I attended the local Presbyterian Church morning and evening services. These small experiences that I had were planted deep in my heart and never went away.
Several years later, I found myself in the Military Service and was stationed at Camp Kearns Utah to begin over seas training. Camp Kearns was located several miles South of Salt Lake. While there I had several week ends off, and found myself in Salt Lake and at Temple Square. I don't know what drew me there, other than the fact I felt good there, and would take one or two friends with me, and most always would take the guest tour of the grounds and Tabernacle and listen to their presentation. The next two years, I saw the ravages of war, and witnessed the pain and suffering that follows the occupation of the enemy.
Fast forward a few years, I found myself dating a beautiful young lady from Southern Utah, she was an inactive Mormon girl, who soon became my wife. As our children were born, she made sure that they were blessed into the Church. This opened the door for the Stake Missionaries to come to our home. Since my children were becoming members, I thought I should know something about what they were doing, and a series of discussions followed for almost a year. During this time the things of the world and I accepting the gospel into my life tore me apart. As the Missionaries would come each week, they brought a Spirit into our home that I had felt many times before, and I wanted to know more, and after reading the Book of Mormon and The Marvelous Work And A Wonder, there came a time that I finally accepted baptism, as I knew the things that I had been taught were true. I was blessed by returned missionaries who taught the adult program. Their testimonies left a deep impression on my mind of the Savior and of the Gospel. I was immediately called into the Aaronic Priesthood and the Scouting program and worked with them for many years. During that time I was involved with the Stake Leadership and saw how the priesthood worked.
During this time I was involved in deep prayer, because of my early life, I had many things to be repentant of. So I spent many hours talking with the Lord. He became my best friend. I learned to listen to His promptings. The things that I should do were always impressed upon me. Later I became involved with genealogy. As I was led by the spirit, I was prompted to contact many relatives and know that they were prompted to answer my communications which progressed our work and deepened our family relationship and provided the way for their Temple Ordnances to be performed. This in itself has brought many tears of joy to my family and I.
I was called to many positions, which have led me to where I am now. My Savior is still my friend. I still talk to Him every day. I do not always get the answers I want but I have learned patience, and eventually my desires have been met in a much better way.
The Christmas Season brings to our hearts and minds of our Lord and Savior's birth and the knowledge that the prophets of old foretold of it, as well of His death and resurrection. Because of this knowledge and the things that have taken place in my life, have led me to know with a surety, that He lives, that He is among us and knows you and I personally. That He guides the work that is going on in the Church, the Temples, the missionary work, and the preparation for His second coming. President Monson is in direct communication with Him and if we listen to our prophet, his councilors and the quorum of the twelve, we too can receive direct guidance in our lives. Of this I bear solemn witness of and bear testimony of. In the Holy Name of Jesus Christ Amen
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