Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Grandma's Story

I gave a talk today in church and I thought I'd share it with you all :) Enjoy!

I was asked to speak on a topic that was given as a challenge by our Stake president last fall. If you remember it was to find the conversion stories of our ancestors and add them to our personal records. I have to admit that until I was asked to speak on the subject, I had not done so. My mother has many stories in her records, but I decided to share the story of my father’s mother, my grandmother, Lillie Mae Fuentes Snyder. It’s kinda funny, when I called her, she said she and my grandfather were speaking in their ward this Sunday also.

Her conversion story begins when she was 16 yrs old, living in the tiny LDS settlement of Luna, NM, in 1951. Although the community was predominantly LDS and she had many friends that were members, she knew nothing of the religion or its beliefs. One day she was visited by a couple of stk missionaries from the area, they came to ask her if she would like to go with the youth of the church to attend the Mesa, AZ temple, and be baptized for herself. She didn’t know what to say, she was very uncertain. They asked her to think about it, and left her with a promise; if she would be baptized now, then later (maybe not now, but sometime in the future) she would yearn for the knowledge. After they left she spoke with her mom and her who in turn left the decision up to her. As she considered the trip, she thought of how much fun it would be to take a long trip with her friends, and decided it couldn’t hurt.

She didn’t tell me much of what happened on the trip, only that she was baptized in the temple, and had to wait a few weeks until the next fast Sunday, to be confirmed a member of the church.

As she was telling me her story I realized that I had never heard the whole thing. I only knew that she had been baptized in the temple. I didn’t know that she was completely blind to the LDS religion or even religion as a whole. It’s amazing to me that she was able to make that leap without knowing anything except that some of her friends were members and they were nice people. It makes me wonder if I could do something like that, commit to something so blindly.

She now was the only member in her family which made it hard to get to church, so she wasn’t able to go as often as she would have liked, and so learning her new religion was slow.

On a Sunday she was attending, it happened to be my grandfathers first Sunday back from his mission. When he saw her for the first time, he knew she was the one for him. He had known her older brother, and when he left for his mission she was still quite young and he didn’t know her.??? After courting her for a short time, they were married civilly, and four months later they were sealed in the Mesa, AZ temple.

My grandmother attributes most of her learning the gospel to my grandfather teaching her in their young married lives.

Five years after being baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, after being sealed in the temple for time and all eternity, and after the birth of her second child, the promise the stk missionaries had given her came into fruition. One day she just had this overwhelming desire to learn as much about the church as she could. She read all the books my grandfather had, and borrowed many more from other members. She joined a book club and continued her search for knowledge of the gospel.

Today, because she was humble enough to listen to the Spirit and let it guide her, she is faithful and strong in the gospel. My grandparents have served two missions for the church, one in the London, England mission, and the other in the Salt Lake Family History mission, partly in the Family History Center and the other part in the church Vaults.

They have 5 children, 16 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren, most of which are strong members of the church.

I know personally, through their example, and my grandmother’s in particular, that I am in a better place than the world would have me be. I have a testimony of this gospel and in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in our Father in Heaven and in the Hold Ghost. They, like my grandparents, love me and want the best for me and my family. I know this gospel is true. I have witnessed it time and again. My grandmother’s faith is a testament to it.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.