The first Sunday of the month in our Church is set aside for fasting and sharing of testimonies. We fast for a specific purpose for a 24 hour period, or two meals, and the money we would have spent on those meals is donated as a Fast Offering. This first Sunday is also designated church wide for the bearing of testimonies during Sacrament meeting. Fast Sunday is always a hard day for me because I really like food, but it's always my favorite Sunday at church. There's a different kind of spirit I feel when I listen to other people bear their testimonies and a different intensity in the rest of the meetings that follow.
On Sunday, our sweet little Mia Maid friend, Casey, stood up to bear her testimony. There is something about Casey that I have always connected with. Some people are just like that...instant, meaningful connection. It's rare that I can remember the details of meeting people, but with Casey, I remember not only the first time I met her, but every conversation we've had since, every activity she's ever been to, every time she's ever gotten up and spoken in class. Casey is not a member of our church. I wrote about her here last November. She is truly an amazing girl. Last Christmas, the only thing she asked for was to be allowed to take the missionary discussions. Her parents have been cautious, but we've all noticed that they've been gradually allowing her to attend more activities and most recently even agreed to early morning Seminary! That's huge! So on Sunday, when Casey stood up, I was riveted to every word she said. She talked about how much she has always loved fireworks, and how she has always felt this amazing feeling during the 4th of July celebration. But this year, she didn't really feel it. She said as she watched the fireworks this year, something about them was a little more dull than years before. And then she realized that the thing that gives her that feeling now is reading the Book of Mormon and learning about the gospel. Those are like that "fireworks feeling" in her heart!
Oh, how I love that girl!! How many of us have been members of this church for years! sometimes our entire lives! and we can't manage to get up and bear our testimonies. But this 15 year old investigator jumps at the chance to share hers!
In her testimony, Casey also said that she has continued to ask her parents to let her take the missionary discussions and she hoped that they would allow her to do that in the near future. Well...her birthday is coming up this month. And apparently on Sunday night, Casey's dad asked her what she wanted for her birthday this year. Guess what she asked for...the missionary discussions! (again...) Persistence is sometimes the key to all things. And if we keep our focus on the things we want most, eventually we get them! Her parents agreed!! On Monday night, she invited the missionaries to meet her at her friends' house and they went through TWO discussions. She texted several of us Monday night to share her excitement, and then invited TCD and I to be a part of discussion #3.
Something about Casey's testimony on Sunday and sitting in that living room tonight, made me realize that I was so much like her. No wonder there's a connection. I was 16 when I first started coming to church with the Scout Master. My parents weren't thrilled about that, but they agreed to let me go to meetings and activities as long as the Scout Master came to all of the Methodist services with us. Those Sundays were long, but worth it. It was a great opportunity for me look at both churches side by side and think about how I felt during those meetings. Unlike Casey, I was a little more taken with the Scout Master than I was with the church, and I don't think there's any way I would have dared to get up and bear my testimony at that age, but I definitely felt that "fireworks feeling" that she talked about.
Several other memories and feelings came back in floods during that missionary discussion tonight. I am so grateful to have been part of that...for SO many reasons. It's amazing to think that it's been 20 years since I was baptized. It's amazing to think about where I was 20 years ago and where I am now. It's amazing to think that my 15 year old daughter was sitting in a room listening to the exact same thing that I heard when I was 21. It was like giving her a glimpse into my past. Full circle...for sure.
Persistence is the key sometimes. And when we are focused on the things we want most, we will eventually get them. I know that's true. I have seen it happen more times than I can count. I love Casey. I love that her example and her openness in sharing the steps along her journey has allowed so many of us to remember and cherish the things we believe. I love that she turned an ordinary Tuesday night into an extraordinarily personal and meaningful spiritual experience.