Saturday, January 30, 2010
My Earthly Father
My dad turned 55 on Tuesday. You don't know him, but if you did, you'd love him. He's a great big polynesian guy that loves to laugh and dance and give to others. But the biggest thing he's given me is the knowledge that repentance is real.
My father's family was one of the first to be baptized into the LDS church back in the island of Fiji. However, by the time I was born, dad didn't want much to do with the church. He had made so many bad choices and he felt out of place all of the time. He was a grouchy and tired man without direction while I was growing up. And yet, it's almost funny to look back ten years ago and think that it's the same dad I have today.
When I was about seventeen, my cousin, Heather, got married in the temple. My brother, who had not been active for several years, decided that he was going to get married in the temple, too, and that his first step was going on a mission. He was wary of telling my dad because of how much animosity my dad had shown to the church before. My dad responded by telling him that he would pay for him to go. After that, my dad started going back to church. He had a lot of repenting, but he had such a determination to do it. I remember the day he passed the sacrament for the first time. He was all smiles and tears. Before long, they ordained him to the office of priest and the first time he blessed the sacrament is still a day that people in my home ward remember. At the part where he talked about the blood of the Son which was given for us, he just broke down in tears and the rest of the congregation started crying also. After this, my mother started going back to church and their marriage went from the brink of divorce to one that others envy.
And here we are, 8 years later, and the family I have now is completely different than the one I had back then. You wouldn't ever know that my family was inactive, except for when my dad shares his testimony about his experience and his gratitude for Jesus Christ in making his new life possible. I know that the Atonement didn't take away the past, but it made it so that it didn't matter anymore. My father is a new and improved father and my family is a new and improved family. And anytime someone has told me that they are too far off the path to come back, I tell them with tears in my eyes that I know for a fact that no one is so lost that God cannot find them and guide them back.