Thursday, November 15, 2007

My first Talk.....

K, a couple of weeks ago I was meeting with the young mens President of the church about my calling. While we were talking the phone rang, so naturally my wife answers it. Well, I go on talking with my visitor, and after about 5 minutes the wife calls down to me that she needed" A piece of paper and a pen STAT". Now the tone of her voice told me that I had better jump to it. Like any good husband who does what is asked from their wives I did. She had this look of horror on her face, she said that she was talking to a member of the Stake Presidency. I lauged at her stating "well that must be a uncomfortable call for you." She said in her Howty towty voice "oh no mister the call is for you too." Anyway we were asked to give a talk at stake Conference. Since no one reads my blog anyway...probably cause A. I don't blog often and B. I don't yet know how to find other bloggers. I thought I would put "My story" in my blog forever, and use this as kind of a journal. it is....

Oh boy, where do I start, I guess with any good story you start at the beginning so I was born in 197something to goodly parents ok, so maybe they weren't ALL that goodly but they were mine. I was raised in the Catholic Church and was a staunch believer to the religion. In fact I went to St. Mainered, Indiana to check out the Seminary because I was considerering becoming a priest. Little did I know I would one day become one after all? During my week stay there it was the most peaceful time I had experienced to date. I felt the Spirit and it was nice to be surrounded by Jesus. During that week I learned that what my heart really wanted was a family. Some things happened with my faith in the Catholic Church after that and I was pulled away from there. I found the perfect lady and was married in 1993. >>Life was going nowhere for us, and we decided to move from Oklahoma to Oregon for a one year trial period, and if we were not happy we would move back to Oklahoma in a year. That was well over 14 years ago. >>Anyway one day I came home from work, and my wife Tonya said to sit down,we need to talk, Noone ever wants to hear those words for some reason, and I was no different. I was thinking shoot, did I forget to put the seat down again, or did I forget to actually put my clothes in the hamper again. No, Her words would change my life forever. She said she meet someone on the internet you can imagine my heart fell to the floor, she continued to squish it with the following statement , the person I met is a man, as you can well imagine, in my mind I started trying to figure out who would keep our cat. She tried to convince that it was not, THAT talk but that the man she met was a Mormon. I thought to myself,and this is supposed to make me feel better how??? Aren't these the guys who think having multiple wives was "OK", still NOT making me feel better. She, told me that polygamy was outlawed many years ago, and that she loved me and only me, and that would never change. >>So she asked me if I would mind if we had the missionaries come over to the house to teach her the lessons. I agreed, partly so I would have ammo to fight against her going on with this charade of wanting to become a Mormon, and partly to see what it was that "THEY" were after there has to be a catch somewhere right. I mean they would probably want something signed in blood, seriously what were they selling. I work in the correctional field and one thing I knew was true, people always want something from you. I mean come on what could 2 kids 18+ years old possibly know about Jesus. Scholars have spent their lives trying to figure out the great questions in life, and none have found any answers what could 2 kids know??? I figured what the heck, this could be really interesting. So I allowed them to come into my home. Then they start talking about a plan of Salvation, tithing, and that we couldn't indulge in some of our favorite things,smoking, drinking, drinking coffee.The talks were interesting and when it came time for Tonya to seriously consider being baptized I thought sure go ahead, lets see how long this phase in your life lasts, and go ahead. I went to the baptism, and saw an almost immediate change in my wife. The guy she met from the internet, and his brother in-law came up here from Utah. I was awestruck that these 2 men would come all the way up here to see a baptism. Soon she had a calling and was going to church by herself. I kept waiting for her to stop going and she never did. I went to a few church functions and met some really great people there. I must admit it was at this point I think that my heart was starting to become softened, but that was my secret I sure wasn't going to tell anyone.>>That's when the miracles started happening in my life. Tonya and I are unable to have kids on our own. We prayed and prayed every month for a miracle and it never happened. We had tried everything, and when I say everything I mean everything to have a child.. It got to be to much and one day we just stopped. Sometime in July 02. Tonya's cousin twice removed called and said I hear you are looking to have a baby; I am pregnant and am offering you this one. Yeah right was our thought, we didn't want to get disappointed again. 3 weeks later she said seriously do you want this kid or not??? The next day we retained lawyer. During this time we met a wonderful, kind, caring and loving family known as the Knightons. We took to them like a moth to a light. They were so warm and I could tell so in touch with God. They were so supportive of us during this uneasy time waiting for our child to be born. To make a long story longer, we were getting ready to fly to Kansas to see our son be born, when Tonya got the absolute worst call. Her dad passed away 3 days before our son was to be born. We had to change flights and go to Oklahoma. Much to my chagrin we had to divide and conquer. I went to be with our son while he was born and my wife stayed and buried her father.> >Tonya was able to get to Kansas after the funeral of her father, to see her son. We joke now that her father must have had something to say through the veil to our son before he came to us, I was telling this story to someone earlier this week, and he said that Tonya's father just wanted to hold our child first.. I know that heavenly father lifted Tonya up during one of the hardest things she would have to endure, and then one of the sweetest too. I was seeing already the wonderful workings of our heavenly father, and was starting to even recognize that He had not left me, even though I may have left him. We found out that Blake had a heart defect and that he would need surgery. WOW what a scary time. We were surrounded by support from my family and this church family that only knew Tonya. I did not deserve to feel welcomed or supported by people who knew I was NOT a member. Blake had his open heart surgery on July 7 2003. It was the longest day in my life. I really don't remember too much about that time as I don't think I am meant to remember it. Heavenly Father and Jesus carried me through that tumultuous time. I will be forever grateful.>>>> The Knightons were there always showering us with love and Paul would always kindly engage me in questions about when would I be ready to be baptized, my response was always sarcastic at that point. I knew Mormons were a good people and loved Jesus; it was just that you are counseled to give up so much to be a member, or so I thought. >>We took a trip to Salt Lake City to visit our friends Mark and Gary you know, the friends Tonya met over the internet, and he and his family have been great friends to us since. I will admit now and publicly that the main feeling I felt in the great city of Salt Lake was the Holy Spirit, and after we watched The Testaments I knew in my heart that this church was TRUE. I testify to you my brethren and sisters that this church is true. >>>The Holy Spirit has manifested itself to me many times in the past 5 years. I have tried to ignore it, but in January, my mother became very ill. I began to think about my own mortality, and whatv would happen after I left this world. It was at this point that I decided "enough is enough, how can I go on longer ignoring what I know to be true." There would come a time that I would no longer be shown the greatness of our heavenly father if I did not buck up, and do something about It. A good friend of mine kept asking me "how long can you stay on that fence, you should make the decision that will change your life".I decided in January to be taught again the lesson by those same young men. To see if they really knew what they were talking about. Our first meeting went well, and these young men seemed to know what they were talking about. I eagerly looked forward to our next meeting. BUT things have a way of changing in this religion I am noticing, because I was told that the 2 elder missionaries were moved out of our ward and we would be getting 2 sister missionaries, yes you heard me correctly sister. Wow I was stunned. I did not know what I would do with sister missionaries. But I must tell you they were absolutely wonderful I will never forget the love they had for the scriptures, heavenly father, Jesus, or my family. They were wonderful.>> I found myself constantly praying and pondering. I would frequently be tested at work by both inmates and co-workers. I was saying things at work that were LDS sayings, like choose the right, and hold fast to the rod. Seriously who says that stuff. I was getting offended when people would talk negatively about the church, found myself sticking up for it. >>I finally told my wife one day in bed, after a lesson that I was ready to be baptized. Another nifty trick I've learned about this church is that there is a secret phone line connected in family members phones. Once you tell one person one thing, it's like the whole Mormon community knows. I had my baptism on September 15. 90 people showed up. I say people but what I really mean is 90 new family members showed up. I have NEVER felt the spirit so strong. I think the words humbled would best describe my experience with the congregation. When I went into the water with my good friend Paul I noticed that the bottom of the font the water was real cold but the further up the warmer the water got. Coincidence, I think not. I felt Heavenly father wrapping me in his love and forgiving me and welcoming me into a new life, a life that will go on forever. I was confirmed a member at church the next day, the next week I was given the power of the aaronic priesthood. I have now been given a calling. Everyone says you think that's great wait till you get to the temple. I will wait but how I am feeling now will sustain me for awhile yet. Just so you know the Guys that Tonya met on-line made it to my baptism too. I will be eternally gratefull for their love, and wisdom.>>I will close by telling you that this IS THE TRUE CHURCH, heavenly father does indeed love all of us, and we will be forgiven for our sins if we truly repent. I am truly greatful for the atoning sacrifice of our Heavenly Father. I hope I get to know all of you soon, so we can enjoy our journey back home with heavenly father together.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I was asked...

I was asked to decsribe how it felt to have the Aaronic Priesthood given to me and what it felt like to bless the Sacrament, so here is my story:

I was born in Portland Oregon on August *, 1971 to goodly parents (ok, so they may not have been goodly, but they were I guess I should probably skip ahead...

After the big weekend I felt as though as I was walking around, my feet NEVER touched the ground. It felt so overwhelming to have all my past indiscretions forgiven and wiped clean. I was on the verge of breaking down in tears several times, in absolute wonder of heavenly fathers love for me, my family, and all of us as a Church.

I know pride is one of the deadly sins, but I was (and still am) so proud to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. It is still hard to say that out loud.

Paul (our family friens and new Ward Bishop) called me on Sunday and asked me to set up a time to meet with him to talk about the Priesthood in the following week. I met with him on Wednesday and went through the interview. He was asking me what the Priesthood meant to me, and I fear I may have disappointed him. I know we had talked about it in the past but I had received so much information in such a short time, and pondered and prayed about baptism so long I lost sight of "the next step" in the progression of a member in the Church. Paul was so understanding of that and he explained what was to happen next if I accepted the Aaronic Priesthood. I must tell you that at that point I was so honored, humbled, and again overwhelmed with the spirit, that I told him that I was in this Church for the long haul and would do WHATEVER Heavenly Father asked, with out question. When the time finally came up on that Sunday during Priesthood meeting and Paul, Grant (Paul's son), and Dirk laid their hands on my head I felt as if Christ himself were talking to me. I had to fight the tears away (cause you know I really am a "tough" guy, and "tough guys" don't do that). It is so clear to me that this is truly Jesus Church, that we have a modern day Prophet, and that he receives divine counsel from our Heavenly Father. Tonya, Holly, and the Sister Missionaries were there as well.

After Church was over Paul told me that Grant and another feller go to this invalid ladies home and administer Sacrament to her every Sunday after Church and if I wanted to I could go with Grant to do it. I immediately said I would be honored to do so and took Grant over to her house.
On the way over Grant leaned over to me and asked "are you nervous”??? And I tell you without any doubt I said to him "Nervous, why would I be nervous?? I am doing the Lords work, what have I to be nervous about???" Grant said "good answer" we kinda got a laugh after that.

Well as if this story needs to be any longer (you asked for we went up to meet Ms. English. She was a very sweet lady. Grant told me that we had to read the words verbatim, and that he would tap me on the shoulder if I missed a word. And you just know I did. But was able to do it right the next time. I can't describe the feeling of blessing something that came straight from Heavenly Father.

I know this is longer than you were perhaps wanting to read, but how can you stop writing about the blessing that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ bestow on you. To do so would be an injustice to all considered. I hope this answers your question.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Where to start...

Ok, so this is my first blog, and I admittedly acknowledge that i know not what i am doing. What I DO know is that I hope to be able to grow a "Blogging Family" in which I (we) can share some of our thoughts, dreams, desires, and perhaps learn from one another.

I guess I should start at the beginning. I am a 30 something married male, with one wonderful child (Blake), that I am sure you will get sick of hearing about. Blake has such a wonderful story(about how he came to our family), that it makes me know that Heavenly Father DOES exsist and that he truly loves all of us, even with all of our faults. ALOT more to follow at a later date... We have 2 kitties (Max, and Cleo). Max is what people are know calling a designer breed. He is half Siamese and half Ragdoll. He is totally an awesome cat. He knows what he wants and, more importantly, knows how to get it. Cleo on the other hand, well... I think she fell off the "short bus" when she was a baby, she is not too smart, but what she lacks in smarts she makes up in sweetness. stories will come later about both of these cats.

I have recently decided to become baptised in The Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints. There I said it, it's out there never to be taken back. I was born and raised Catholic, but haven't been inside a Catholic Church in well over 14 years. (minus my nephew's baptism, 2 months ago). I have a belief and knowledge that this is the right Church for me. When my sisters read this I hope that they will be slow to judge and ask their questions with an open heart, and not try to dismiss what I feel is true, hint If there is interest in this magical story, of my conversion, I would be more than happy to elaborate on this subject.

As you may, or may not know I am an AVID sports fan. Specifically with the NFL, and the Oakland Raiders!!! I have suffered private, AND public humiliation for my beloved Raiders. My dad and I used to have yearly bets on the Raider and Seattle Seahawk games. Which always (except one time ), resulted in a loss for me. File this story under: my humiliations, as a raider fan. BUT I say to you I will ALWAYS Bleed Silver and Black. Like the title of my blog says "I still believe".

I am totally stoked in regards to the newly formed Portland Trailblazers too. Ok, so they are not new but their attitude sure is. There is so much to be excited about when you talk about the Blazers, with or without Greg Oden.

As far as baseball goes I have always rooted for the Chicago Cubbies. I will continue to root for them, BUT the Seattle Mariners have a soft spot in my heart too.

That is enough for now. I will write more later, and with more specifics.

As for now I will close with my favorite motto:

Live, love, and laugh often!!!!!