I never served a mission for the LDS church. Five of Seven Griffioen kids served missions. You better believe I sighed a huge breath of relief when one of my sisters didn't serve a mission. I was nervous about feeling pressured into serving just because all of my siblings had vs. doing what God wanted me to do. As I was nearing 21 I prayed about it. I still remember going into the quiet guest room and kneeling at the bedside. I was dreading getting a "yes" but I was prepared to serve a mission if that's what God wanted for me. As I prayed I distinctly felt that I was supposed to stay home and prepare to become and wife and mother. 18 months later I was married and had a baby.
Fast forward to December 2014. Paul was looking for jobs all over the country. We seriously considered a job in Ohio but in the end we didn't feel right about it. Then Paul applied for Plasan Carbon Composites. Once again, I found myself kneeling at the bedside. This time I felt different. When I received my confirmation about moving to West Michigan I knew that as we left Utah God expected us to do to missionary work.
This was daunting to me. Going to a place where I didn't know a soul, yet was expected to share my deepest beliefs. We accepted the job and made the move. We were greeted with acts of service so great I couldn't believe how blessed we were. It was a very difficult time for us but once we got settled it was clear to me that Heavenly Father was serious about our family getting involved in missionary work.
The reminder came when I was assigned with a talk about missionary work. As I studied and prepared for my talk I stumbled upon so many easy ways to make missionary work a habit. I also had personal revelation that inspired me made me anxious to share the beautiful message of the Gospel. Following my talk I stepped up my game a bit. We started feeding the missionaries more, I felt a greater sense of courage as I shared with people I met at the park, garage sales, the store, that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. I felt a sense of progress just letting other Christians know that Mormons are Christians too!
The next reminder came as I was called to serve in the Young Women organization at my church. As I was given a blessing and set apart to teach, the Bishop gave me unique counsel and emphasis on missionary work-- during a blessing that has nothing to do with missionary work. I began looking at which YW were missing from church and I'm still interest in helping them find their way back to church, but something else happened in the meanwhile.
Paul came home from work, completely flabbergasted. His intern, Heather, gave him a list of questions and told him she had questions about Nephi.
Without being invited to, Heather started reading the Book of Mormon. Isn't that the coolest thing ever? I believe that there are a lot of people whose hearts are ready but they just need the exposure/opportunity to hear about the Gospel. Heather was most definitely spiritually prepared. The first time she came over she said, "If this is true, it will change everything." And boy, was she right! She began asking thought provoking questions. She was seeking and finding answers. The process of seeing her investigate the church has made a huge impact in my life. Her knowledge of the Bible was inspiring too. It renewed my love of the scriptures and I loved searching for answers with her.
I learned a lot throughout her conversion:
1. I don't have all of the answers-- and that's okay.
This taught me that in a discussion it's totally appropriate to say "I don't know, but I'll find out". Most of the "work" that went into helping Heather was searching for answers.
2. I wasn't me and Paul doing the converting-- it was God
I've never felt like such a tool (but in a good way of course). I felt prompted to share things that seemed irrelevant but then had a big impact on Heather. I had no idea what I was doing but I was there and God used me as He needed.
3. It doesn't take a long time to recognize Truth
I was surprised by how quickly Heather read the Book of Mormon, prayed, and knew that it was true. My personal conversion has been over a lifetime. Heather knew in a matter of weeks. I was hesitant because getting baptized is part of making sacred covenants. This shouldn't be taken lightly. But I could tell that Heather knew. Her faith was sure and she was ready much faster than I anticipated. But once you know, you know. And I think that's amazing.
4. Doing what's right is more important than making other people happy -- even your own family
I am a people pleaser so I understood Heather's dilemma when she was trying to decide to either make her family happy or do what she knew was correct. Her example of integrity and faith have been outstanding. If she can go against the grain and do what's right then I can be even better in my daily choices too.
5. You need to do your Home & Visiting Teaching... and just be friends with everyone at church, okay?
Just a week after we began working with Heather, she moved back to Indiana for college! I was extremely nervous about her support group there since we were over two hours away. It dawned on me that we never know where people are in life and we getting a call from God to visit them that not only are we answering God's call, but we're answering the prayers of that person's loved ones. I have been so appreciative of the people who stepped up and befriended Heather at church. They most certainly answered my prayers.
What the heck, this was supposed to be a short post and I'm not even done yet. Let's move on to Heather's baptism day so we can wrap this up.
Heather was baptized on October 24. From now on that will be a very special day. Afterward someone asked Heather if she felt different. She said, "Not really," but as the day continued it was obvious that she couldn't stop smiling. Heather was literally glowing. Over the last few months I have watched Heather become more confident and happy. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I know that our Savior paid the price for our sins and that through His Grace we can be saved. I also know that because of Christ, death is not the end. We can be sealed with our families and live with them forever. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I am so thankful that Heather has these truths too. I am so proud of her and I'm grateful for all she has taught me during her journey to find the church.
All of us can share the Gospel. Please pray for opportunities to share your testimony. It will bless both you and those who get to hear your inspired words. Heavenly Father will help you know what to do. Just ask.