Randal Ridd recently told the story of returning to his mission in Mexico 35 years after he served. He found a 70-year old sister who had prayed that he would return so she could thank him for teaching her family the gospel. Brother Ridd said,
"As other family members entered the building, we shared hugs and tears. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my son standing with two full-time missionaries who were wiping away their tears with their ties. As we attended sacrament meeting, it was amazing to discover that the bishop was one of Leonor’s sons, the pianist was a grandson, the chorister was a granddaughter, and there were several young men in the Aaronic Priesthood who were grandsons. One of the daughters was married to a counselor in the stake presidency. Another daughter was married to the bishop of a nearby ward. Most of Leonor’s children went on missions, and now grandsons have also served missions.
"We learned that Leonor was a much better missionary than we were. Today, her children thankfully recall her tireless efforts to teach them the gospel: the importance of tithing, temples, and scripture study, of prayer and the faith to trust in it. She taught them that small decisions, over time, result in a full, righteous, and happy life, and they taught those things to others. Add it all up and there are more than 500 people who have come into the Church because of this one wonderful family" (Randall L. Ridd, Living with Purpose: The Importance of "Real Intent," Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, January 11, 2015).
I love that! As I shared this story with my husband, he said, "Think of your dad!"
"Think of how many people have been brought into the gospel and have served missions because he joined the Church."
|Here are my mom and dad, Joan and Ted Balderree. I'm so glad my San Diego beach loving dad joined the Church when he was doing an ROTC program at the University of Utah, and then married my wonderful mom. I sure love them!|
And I started feeling tears in my eyes realizing the influence this one man has been on so many people, along with my wonderful mother of course.
- Five of my parents' seven children have served missions.
- Three of their children-in-law have served missions.
- Three of their oldest grandchildren have served missions. One of them is my son Adam!
- Five of their sons or sons-in-law have served in bishoprics so far.
- All four of their daughters have served as presidents of an auxiliary of Relief Society, Young Women, and/or Primary.
- All seven children have married wonderful people in the temple and are raising wonderful families.
- My dad brought his mother, sister, and brother into the gospel.
- My dad and his sister have done oodles and oodles of family history work for our ancestors, and have taught countless others how to do it for their families. My oldest son learned from his Grandpa, and then lit the fire in our other teens to do family history and temple work.
- My dad's sister has served four missions, three of them being in family history centers.
- My dad's sister has at least four grandchildren who have served missions.
- My dad's brother has a couple sons who have served missions.
|My parents with their seven children and many grandchildren. This was about five years ago so I had long blond-ish hair with a white blouse just left of the middle.|
There is absolutely no way to calculate the influence of one convert -- my dad.
Through my dad's choice to join the Church, countless others have joined and have influenced others to join, and influenced others in an infinite number of positive ways, from raising righteous families, serving in church callings, making a difference in the community, business, law, teaching, mentoring, caring, ministering, writing, speaking, serving, and being good Christian people.
Even though neither of my parents served a full-time mission when they were young, my parents have been incredible missionaries themselves!
They have ministered, loved, and cared for more people than I could count, in and out of their own ward and stake in Plain City, Utah. Just recently one of their neighbors whom my parents have loved for as long as they've lived there -- 40 years -- has become active in the Church, just went through the temple, and is now team teaching primary with my mom!
If you ever wonder if it's worth opening your mouth and sharing the priceless gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ so that someone you care about can receive infinite blessings, just think of this Mexican grandma or my dad.
P.S. Of course each one of us who was raised in the Church is a convert of our own, right? At some point we gain our own testimony and conversion and then we have the same wonderful potential for spreading blessings to others as the Mexican grandma or my dad has.