One Sunday, I could see there were no speakers on the stand. I felt one of the counselors looking at me.
I had these thoughts come to my mind and I jotted down a short talk.
I think the counselor chickened out to call anyone from the audience, because he gave a talk himself.
But I was ready.
I wanted to record these thoughts because they are about my dad.
The theme of these stories is, “Pay attention to Promptings”
My father was a Home Teacher to one family for 40+ years. The wife was a dear friend of my mothers and loved by all of us. The husband had never joined the church, but he was a good man and all of his children were active, though some had wandered and come back in recent years.
This couple loved my dad, and to make it easier for him to home teach them they sometimes would come to his house during the day when he was there. (Dad lived with my brother for 2 years, but he came back to his house daily to work on his ‘stuff’).
So at age 93 and when this couple had come for a visit, my father asked the husband, “Would you like something?” The wife later told me that she thought my father was going to offer a cookie.
Then my father said to Frank, “Would you like a blessing?” Frank, not a member, said yes. He had had other blessings when he needed surgery or was sick in years gone by, but this was unusual since he was not sick.
My father proceeded to give him a blessing and told him what a good person he was, what a fine life he had lived, and especially that his parents were proud of him. Frank’s father had died early in Frank’s life and they were not members of the church.
Just a week or two after this blessing, Frank agreed to let the missionaries come visit and teach him. This was quite surprising to his wife, but something all his children were praying for. One day, Frank’s wife asked him if he wanted to be baptized on his birthday, just in jest. To her surprise he said, yes I want to be baptized on my birthday.
What we learned later from Frank’s wife and from my father is that Frank loved his parents very much and he never wanted to do anything to offend them. But when my father told him in the blessing that his parents were proud of him, his heart softened to accept the gospel. This was a miracle in their family and this couple was finally sealed in the temple one year later after 50+ years of marriage!
My father was a young bishop and a new family had moved to Denver from Salt Lake City. Dad noticed that they were not coming to church and that the young boy was turning 8 that year. My father went to visit this man to talk about the upcoming baptism age for his son and that maybe this man needed to prepare to baptize his son by becoming active again. My father was prompted to tell this man that he would pick him up for Priesthood meeting. So that is what he did for a few weeks. And then this man started to come on his own, bring his family to church, and was able to baptize his son. This man later became a bishop, a counselor to the Stake President, a patriarch, and a temple sealer. He never forgot the gift of love and kindness and encouragement to become active from my father.
When my dad was a young bishop he knew a part member family where the mother was not a member. My father was prompted to ask her to teach Junior Sunday school, which she agreed to since she had young children. After almost a year of this teaching, one day my father stopped her in the hall and said, “Marilee, when are you going to get baptized?” Unbeknownst to him, she had been praying about what she should do and whether or not to join the church. She got her answer when my father asked her about baptism and she became a very faithful wonderful member of the church.
My father was called to be a bishop a second time when he was in his 60’s. One evening as he was driving home from church, he got a prompting to stop at a couple’s home and ask them to serve a mission. They had not thought of it, but because they loved my dad so much they agreed. They returned from their mission and repeatedly told everyone that that was the greatest day in their lives, the day they were asked to go on a mission.
What we learn from these real life stories is that whatever our calling in the church may be, we need to obey any and all promptings. The small things that my father did in obedience to a prompting resulted in great joy in these people’s lives.
When we obey promptings we further the Lord’s work.
We learn from these stories that the Lord is aware of us in all our stages of life.
We learn that respect and love are powerful when we humbly follow promptings.
I’m grateful to have heard my father tell me these stories, and that years later just before he died these same people told me of the great impact my father had in their lives, mostly because he followed the promptings he felt from the Lord.
I want to be worthy to recognize the promptings, and to be more obedient to follow.