As I mentioned in an earlier post, MMM is hosting his 2nd annual "Hug-a-Convert Day" this Sunday.
When I originally read his post, I was like, uh, what is this? I don't get it? In my mind, if you are a member, you are a convert, because everyone goes through a conversion process, whether or not you were baptized at the age of eight. I honestly don't think much about the term "converts" which in our church culture is loosely used to refer to someone who is not born into the church. I think that's because I live "in the East" where many, many members find the church later in life.
I thought, "I bet 50% of our ward are probably converts." But when I sat down and scanned the ward list, I realized that close to 95% of the members of our ward are indeed "converts," which is perhaps why I don't think of converts as being some sort of minority group within the church.
To me, converts ARE the church.
And EVERY Sunday IS "Hug-a-Convert" Day, because every time I embrace a friend, I am encouraging someone who has most likely embraced the gospel even though they do not have a framework of support for such faith outside of church. I realize that it can be a hard road to walk, but where I live, it doesn't have to always be a lonely one, because we are pretty much all in the same boat.
I don't have family living close-by to run to when I am discouraged or to eat Sunday dinner with to help build me up to face a new week. But when I hear the testimonies of my friends in sacrament meeting each month or at General Conference Book Club each week, it strengthens me more than I think they realize.
So, today, I'm going to share the wealth with you and hope that you will feel encouraged too by the testimony of my friend and fell0w ward member Amber Buehler. In the coming days, I will share more testimonies from members of my ward.
Here is Amber:
I would like to bear my testimony that I know the church is true.
I was brought up in the church and was baptized, but when I was about 14 years old my family fell away from the church.
It wasn't until I had my first child and went to my husband's church to have our baby boy baptized that I realized something was different. It was not the same thing I was taught when I was a child.
That night I went home and got on my knees and prayed, something I had not done for a long time. I asked the Lord, "What is the true church?"
The next day, two missionaries come to my door. This time I did not turn them away. I let them into my house and listened to what they had to say.
I felt the spirit that day. It was the same feeling I felt when I was a child.
After a few weeks of taking lessons from the missionaries, I went to church for the first time in years. And after sacrament meeting was over I saw a familiar face in the hall of the church. It was my branch president from when I was a child! This man was also friends with my grandfather when he was living. Since my family and I had moved several times to different areas since then, seeing him was a complete surprise.
I went up to him and told him who I was, and he remembered me. I left that day feeling really good about the church. That man and his wife became my home teachers.
At first, my husband, who is not a member, would go to our room until they were done visiting. Then, he began to listen to them. They didn't talk so much about church with him, but more about hunting, which sparked his interest. They showed their kindness to him.
My husband to this day is not a member, but I pray that one day he will open his heart to the spirt and know that this is the true church.
We moved again about a year ago, and I now attend a different ward . The members of my new ward were so kind to me, and I became instant friends with many of them.
For the first time in my life I bore my testimony in church. I was so scared, but it felt right.
I pray every night for my family to come back to church. I know that the Lord answers our prayers, because my dad started to come back to church. I pray that rest of my family will follow.
It is not easy for me, having a husband that is a not a member of the church, but I can not make him leave his church, nor would I want to. Sometimes, it causes challenges with raising our two boys. I let them decide if they want to go to mommy's church or daddy's church, but I feel that if I continue to do what's right, my husband will see that and one day join the church.
I want to leave this testimony with you, that I know this church is true, and I am thankful for the blessings and happiness that it brings into my life.
Thanks, Amber, for sharing that beautiful testimony.
CLICK HERE to read more testimonies on my site for Hug a Convert Day, and click the button above to read the testimonies at the official home of Hug-a-Convert Day!