Our Stake President, heard through the grapevine about a baptism that took place a couple of years ago in our ward and knew that our son, Tanner, had played a small role in the baptism. He asked me and Josh (the convert) to write down the series of events that unfolded and send it to him for a project that one of the 70 was working on. I am not sure of what the plan is to do with the account but this is what I wrote and I thought it might be a good thing to add to my blog. It really was a great example of how this is the Lord's work and sometimes He is clearly at the helm working miracles behind the scenes.
If there is one thing I know, It is that Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways to bring about his work. In 2011, Brother Josh Edwards found his way to the fullness of the gospel and my son, Tanner, was able to play a small part in his finding it. I should start by telling you that Josh had mentioned to his wife some weeks before he even would meet Tanner that he wanted -no, NEEDED - to make God a part of his life. Josh had never been a religious person until this point but something was changing within him.
At the same time, Layton (Josh's 14 year old son) must have been feeling something similar. He had become somewhat acquainted with Tanner as they were both members of the high school swim team. Layton had been watching the "Mormon kids" at school. There was quite a few of them at Prosper High School and he knew a few personally. There was something different about them. He wasn't sure what exactly it was but he was interested. One day, without any previous discussion about the church, Layton told Tanner, "I think I want to become a Mormon, what do I need to do?".
Within a few weeks, discussions were taking place at Layton's mother's home (Layton's parents are divorced) and Layton was progressing well. Tanner was able to attend and play a role in many of those discussions with the missionaries and spoke of the spirit that was there as testimonies were born and gospel principles were taught.
After a few discussions, Layton went to his father and expressed a desire to be baptized. He needed his father's permission since he was a minor. Josh was uncomfortable with his son joining a church that he knew nothing about so he asked to take the discussions too and expressed a desire to attend Sunday services.
Josh describes what happened next:
"After visiting church a few times and months of lessons, I felt I was ready. It was the first time I would be baptized into any faith at 31 years old."
He tells of the first time he attended the block of Sunday meetings:
" I felt at home. I knew I was in the company of friends and genuinely nice people. Looking back, I know it was the Spirit I felt. " "Feeling the change inside myself was gradual at first. It wasn't until my baptism that I knew there was no looking back. When I felt free of my past and my many mistakes I was able focus and look to the future. I felt the weight of guilt and addiction lifted off my shoulders. I knew that I wasn't alone and I was literally a new person. CTR became my mantra with anything and everything."
Shortly after Josh was baptized, his wife Jennifer joined him in his new found love of the Gospel. Their two daughters, Ella and Livia have since been baptized as well. Josh gave Tanner the honor of baptizing Livia. It was a day Tanner will never forget.
Josh has grabbed hold of the gospel and held tight. My husband and I have marveled at him and how committed he has been to the church. We have observed him being one of the first to serve when called upon and have heard him bear testimony that has left us in awe. I just don't think he could soak up any more gospel light than he has in such a relatively short amount of time. The ward has grown to love him and his sweet family so much and we are so grateful for the events that brought them to us. He currently serves as the Sunday School secretary and does a terrific job. It warms my heart every time I see his glowing countenance and beaming smile in the hallway on Sunday. The gospel changes lives. Living the gospel makes people happier. The Savior loves us. When we want to make Heavenly Father a part of our lives, he will find a way. Whether it is through something they discover on the internet, being tracted out by the missionaries, talking to an LDS next door neighbor, or through a fourteen year old swimmer on the high school swim team. Heavenly Father's will make it happen. I have seen it with my own eyes.