Welcome to my book club of one. When I began this blog years ago, blogging was all the rage. I had many readers. Now I doubt there is even one person who reads it. After I got over my puffed up pride from tons of readers, I realized the ease of keeping my journal this way. Now that blogging is passe, my web log is simply a tool to record my journey. If someone chances upon it and gets something out of it, I am happy. Still, I don't pridefully write for 'my readers' anymore. What a joke that must have been!
This week I studied the sermon I Have Given You an Example by Richard G. Scott. For many reasons, this talk unleashed gratitude in my spirit. All quotes are from the sermon unless otherwise noted.
"For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you," John 13:15
"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much," James 5:16
"At vital times in my life, Father in Heaven blessed me with someone who cared for me enough to help guide my choices in an appropriate direction. They observed these words of the Savior: 'For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.'...[They]loved me enough to share their conviction that the ordinances of the gospel and serving Father in Heaven would bless my life. Neither of them coerced me or made me feel bad about the person I was. They simply loved me and loved Father in Heaven. Both knew He could do more with my life than I could on my own...How can each of us become such a significant influence? We must be sure to sincerely love those we want to help in righteousness so they can begin to develop confidence in God’s love. For so many in the world, the first challenge in accepting the gospel is to develop faith in a Father in Heaven, who loves them perfectly. It is easier to develop that faith when they have friends or family members who love them in a similar way...conversion of individuals is only part of the work. Always seek to strengthen families...loving them is the powerful foundation for influencing those you want to help. [Their influence], would have been negligible had I not first known that they loved me and wanted me to have the best in life."
I could go on to quote the whole sermon.
Several years ago, I heard a woman speak about influencing the children in her family toward righteousness. She was a single woman with many nieces and nephews. Each week she picked one of them to be her focus child of the week. She sent gifts. More importantly she sent a letter telling the focus child that they were a focus of her prayers that week. She encouraged them and told about interesting or important happenings in her life. She challenged them to pray, read scriptures, and follow the commandments. Basically, she became more than a loving auntie but a cherished friend. Since my step-mother sent little unexpected gifts to my children from time to time, I knew it was a good way to form a connection. Because I live far from my grandchildren, I decided to adopt these ideas and make them my own.
Each week one of my eight grandchildren becomes grandchild of the week and the recipient of my gifts, letters, and prayers. I challenge them to read and memorize scripture, encourage school performance and good character, ask questions about their lives, tell them interesting/important things that happen to me, relate the consequences of my childhood mistakes, and bare my testimony about Jesus and His gospel. For a very long while, I got no response or feed back; I was about to give up. Then it happened. The grands began sending me drawings and letters. Their mothers reported the pleasure they get from receiving books and workbooks and cards and craft kits and sometimes clothes. The moms say the grands know their grandparents love them and talk about us all the time. One granddaughter even started calling us on facetime. It's as if they know us because of the newsy letters. They feel our love because we take the time to send things they will likely enjoy. Now, I don't know where this will lead. However, I do know they know they are loved unconditionally and know we love Jesus and His gospel. It is worth all the time and money I spend each week to have a tiny influence toward good in their lives. That is why I feel so happy and grateful for the words of Richard G. Scott.