“‘Grandma’ to Hundreds,” Ensign, Jan. 1999, 69
Clista Holdaway of the Vineyard First Ward, Orem Utah Sunset Heights Stake, loves children. For more than 20 years she served in the nursery, eventually watching over the children of those she cared for more than two decades before.
“Grandma Holdaway,” as she is known to many, has accepted and loved misbehaving children, crying children, even children who were initially frightened of her and refused her friendly overtures—only to be won over in the end. There were even cases when children did not want to go home with Mom and Dad but wanted to stay right there with Grandma in the nursery.
“It’s born in me, I guess,” says Sister Holdaway. “I think the nursery is the best place in the Church.” Having raised seven children of her own, she brought a great deal of practical experience to her calling. Now at 91 years of age, she no longer serves in the nursery, but she still knows and feels affection for many of the children in the ward as well as those formerly in her charge who have grown up, married, and had children of their own.
Sister Holdaway acknowledges that some view serving in the nursery as difficult. “Sometimes the children will cry and get upset, but if they’re picked up and loved and helped, you can overcome the challenges,” she says. “You’ve just got to have a lot of love for children. They can feel that, and it makes all the difference.”—Sherilyn J. Kent, Vineyard, Utah