Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experience great blessings and happiness from accepting the gospel. For my mom, Linda Small, a convert to The Church and single mother, her move not only brought her joy but also to me, my wife and daughter.
Linda was born and raised in Maine. She grew up in a household with wholesome values and good traditions.
After spending a large amount of her life Lutheran, she met and later married a man who was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In the months leading up to their wedding, she learned about the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, The Book of Mormon and other Church doctrines.
After hearing the message from two young missionaries, she decided to get baptized and become a member of The Church. At the time of her baptism, she was a mere three months from delivering her first and only child, me.
Adapting to a new religious environment, thankfully, wasn’t too hard for her, especially since she knew a handful of people already attending the ward.
“At the beginning, it wasn’t that bad, really,” Linda said. “When I joined, I knew a few of the members [already], so it was like [an] old home week.”
As the years went by, Linda continued to bring me to church each week and tried to raise me with the good morals The Church and her family taught her.
After years of not wanting to serve a two-year mission, I decided I wanted to go when I was 16, after a day of knocking on doors with the missionaries in our ward.
I realized that there were 15 million members of The Church or so at that time, and there are over 7 billion people in the world. 99% of the world needed to hear the message of the gospel, and I felt like Heavenly Father needed all hands on deck, even though He doesn’t need us to do His work.
I later served a mission in the California San Fernando Mission from 2014 to 2016. In that time, I met thousands of wonderful people, and a handful of whom decided to accept the gospel.
I have since graduated from BYU-Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in communication, married and welcomed my daughter to the world.
As my mom and I looked back on our lives and where we are now, she said that she never could’ve predicted that we be where we are now.
“I thought to myself… ‘If I hadn’t married’ or ‘If I hadn’t had Adam,’ [things wouldn’t be how they are now],” Linda said. “Even after you graduated from high school, I wouldn’t have fathomed us [being] where we are now.”
My mom said she wanted me to be happy, healthy and that she wanted the best for me when I was a kid, and she said that that hope had been fulfilled looking at where we are now.
When I asked her what she hoped for her granddaughter and my daughter, she said that she also wishes her the best and that she hopes that she decides to serve a mission like me.
When I asked my mom how she felt that she was the first member of our family to accept the gospel, she said she felt great.
“I feel great… I feel awesome,” Linda said. “I’m happy to have something you guys can say, ‘Hey gram started that.’”
After looking back on our lives, we realize how truly blessed we are, and we hope that our posterity will accept the blessings of The Restored Church of Jesus Christ for generations to come.