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“Each of us writes our own story…”

My Grandpa Garritson was baptized well into his adult life, early forties I believe. His story is humorous and filled with commitment.

Following his baptism earlier in the day, my grandfather arrived home and entered in the front door…He proceeded through the house and finally exited the back kitchen door and proceeded to dismantle his still! He had been proficient in producing his own homemade liquor for years.

He also put aside his tobacco. He never looked back. Each fall when he stacked the last bales of hay atop the hay-stack, he said he would sit atop the hay-stack and inhale the smell of the fresh cut hay. He could also smell ‘the memory,’ of tobacco. It had been he, and his brothers tradition to sit atop the hay-stack each fall and light up. He felt his brothers with him, and he could smell the tobacco. But it could never draw him in from the commitments he had made at baptism. These family stories strengthen our faith and draw us close to those who have gone before us.

Recently, a less-active young man, of 17, was informed his Baptism Records had indeed been lost. He would be required to receive the discussions and be baptized again to continue as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I remember thinking, ‘this could be a challenge if he is offended.’ When He expressed some of his concerns and challenges, I shared my Grandfathers Story.

“You are writing your own story. It is one of unusual circumstances. It is up to you to live, and write your own Baptism Story. You will want to decide carefully what you want your story to look like for your posterity.”

He is a fine man. He has a good heart. He chose not to be offended or prideful. He chose rather to receive the discussions, and enter once again into the waters of Baptism. I was impressed by his words of wisdom for one so young to me. I can only paraphrase the thoughts he expressed to me.

“I have been baptized once. My baptism is not void. I have not been involved in sin and I the received the Gift of the Holy Ghost when I was baptized as a child. It is a mere formality of obedience and of record keeping.”

His story of having been baptized twice for the sake of poor record keeping on another’s part, will be one his posterity will be proud of.

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“My Peace I Give Unto You, Not as the World Giveth, give I unto you… Let Not Your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid…”

We visited earlier this week with a Less-Active single mother and her two daughters, (11 and 7 years, the youngest is Autistic,). The mother works full-time, struggles with Agoraphobia and is sincerely striving to overcome her fears and take control of her life for the benefit of herself and her daughters.

We assured her of her Heavenly Father’s love for her, our love for her and our desire to sustain and support her as she makes this journey back into activity in the Church. We complimented her on her courage in facing her Agoraphobia and candor in sharing this painful condition with us.

We bore testimony that although we cannot escape these challenges in life; the Gospel, and Faith in our Savior Jesus Christ will strengthen us, and give us hope, in facing the challenges before us.

As we exited the apartment, the 11 year old daughter stepped to the side where her mother could not hear or see her outside the door, touching my hand she whispered so innocently, and with heart-felt emotions, “Thank you for talking to my mom and saying things that make her happy!”

Precious moments such as this, when we see the Spirit give hope and comfort in our brief visits, fills us with peace and gratitude. We are humbled to be vessels carrying the healing balm of the Gospel message to those who suffer. We look forward to continued visits with this sweet sister and her beautiful daughters.

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