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By Peppermint Patty
I know a couple of people here know my story, but I feel impressed to share it today.
I grew up in a small East Texas town on the border of Louisiana. Life was hard. It was a poor town and we were poorer still. My father left my mother when I was 7 and my brother was 5. We never saw or heard from him again. I recently found out he died in California shorly after leaving us.
After my father left, my mother struggled with alcholism and there was a short period where me and my brother were placed in a foster home until my mother completed treatment. One Saturday when I was 9 the missionaries knocked on our door. I don't remember much about what they said, but I remember being surprised my mother let them in our small apartment. Time was precious and Saturday was the only day my mother could rest and spend time with us. My mother was working two jobs and worked every single day except Saturday.
Something resonated with the missionaries and my mother. We were soon baptized and joined a small branch in our town. At the branch, my mother met and married a single Air Force officer from Utah who had recently graduated college and was stationed nearby. He was an honorable man, a great husband and provider to my mother and a great father to me and my younger brother. My mother would not have met him if it hadn't been for the missionaries. He passed away 3 years ago and my mother followed him shortly after.
Once my father's commitment to the Air Force was over, we moved to Utah. It has been my home ever since. My brother and I both graduated from college and have families. We've been able to instill in them the importance of education, family and love for the Gospel.
When I look back on my life, I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and love for the Gospel. I've tried to think what my life would have been like if the missionaries never knocked on our door all those years ago. Every scenario I can think of ends with us being caught in a cycle of poverty, drugs, alchohol and broken homes. Without the Gospel we would have been trapped in that vicious cycle. I'm thankful for those two missionaries who taught my mother the Gospel and the importance of families. I'm thankful for the Gospel in leading my mother to an honorable man who was a great father.
In my life there have been times of doubt and moments when I have questions, but can't find the answers. Perhaps we are meant to struggle and I'm content knowing that these questions will probably not be solved in this life. One thing I know for certain and is the Gospel took our family out of the cycle of poverty and made us a family again.
Happy New Year Friends & Friends that are Family! This morning I had some time before church and wanted to share something … some kind of message about the New Year. First of all, it’s not the car you drive, the house you live in or the things you have. It’s not about the trendy job you have, the fancy neighborhood you live in, or having the latest and greatest, and nothing but the best, of everything! It’s about what you do with your talents, skills and education. 1) Do you provide for yourself and your family? 2) Do you have compassion for those that are down on their luck? 3) Do you help someone with something in someway? My promise to you is that if you do more of the three listed items above, this year will be better than last year! Also, one more thing I have found that made my 2010 a great year – I’ve learned to forgive better, and more deeply, than I have ever done before. May life grant you true happiness, no matter where you go or how you live.