“My Birthday Wish,” Ensign, Jan. 2013, 73
When I accepted the gospel at age 18, I recognized that I had tasted the sweetest fruit above all. I felt great joy, but I thought about the members of my family, who were lost and wandering. I felt great sorrow from being the only member of the Church in my family, but I didn’t know how to open others’ eyes and ears to the truth.
I attempted in many ways to convince my family to listen to the missionaries. But the more I tried, the more hesitant they became.
I became discouraged, and so I thought about not going to church anymore. But as I prayed, a scripture came to my mind: “After this should [you] deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me” (2 Nephi 31:14). I prayed harder, read the scriptures, attended my Church meetings, and focused on the blessings in my life. As a result, the pain began to vanish.
As my birthday approached, I felt inspired to have a birthday party at my house and to invite all of my Church friends, including the full-time missionaries. I wanted my family to have closer interaction with members of the Church, who seem to me to be the happiest people in the world. For me, the party felt just like family home evening.
After that day, things changed. The missionaries were welcome in our house and became great friends with my family. One day my father announced that he wanted all of our family to listen to the missionaries and go to church. I was shocked.
Three years after my baptism, my family was all baptized. At the baptismal service, my mother bore her testimony, and my father thanked the missionaries. Ward members were amazed at their conversion.
How did it happen? All of the tears I shed and the goals I set played a part. But most of all, the heart of my father was softened by the love and friendship of the missionaries and ward members. All of the members were missionaries because of their examples of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for them and for Heavenly Father’s plan, which allows families to be together forever.