The Lord introduced the restored gospel to our family through the ministering effort of my relative, Sister Epsheeba, who came to our home with the missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a time when we had been blessed with our younger son. To the missionaries whom we admired as angels, we offered the privilege of naming our son. Since I belonged to another religion, I had a fear of attending the church meetings regularly but would often attend home evening with Sister Epsheeba’s family. Those were helpful and great gospel learning opportunities for us.
For the next three years, my wife accompanied my two sons to Sunday church meetings. I on the other hand preferred not to be a part of celebrations and activities in the church. At last, the Lord’s appointed time came for our family to be baptized. Elder Nellappu and Elder Smith had been the missionaries who prepared us. We were baptized by Elder Smith, Brother Anand Joseph and Brother Ranjith Kumar in 2012. Due to financial difficulties my wife Kavitha and I were forced to work even on Sundays in order to provide for our family. Though we, as parents, were only semi active in church, my sons continued to be active by attending the primary and young men classes.
My elder son Akash said, “Our new friends at church knew our family circumstances and always extended a warm welcome to us every week though our parents couldn’t come.” As parents, we sacrificed a lot for our sons in providing money for travel to sacrament meetings and seminary classes. Days passed; lo and behold we were finally active again with the help of our loving leaders and thoughtful members. President Sekar encouraged us again and again to prepare to go to the temple, which to us seemed like a dream to be accomplished. He continued to send messages and pictures of temples which stirred in us positive spirit and a strengthened testimony.
Although we still faced financial difficulties, my wife had taken a brave decision to leave her job. She felt she needed to go to the temple without any hinderance from her work and to also be able to worship in the Lords house as she desired weekly. We as a family attended the temple preparation classes, applied for our passports and fixed a date to be sealed for all time and eternity. I closed my provident fund account in order to use that money for temple expenses.
Of course, seminary and institute classes played a very vital role in nourishing us to grow stronger in the church. Akash made a commitment to make time for seminary every week. The youth and teachers whom he met during the all-India FSY conference in 2018 gave added moral and social support, shared testimonies brought him much inspiration to press forward in the ways of the Lord. It was a heart touching feeling to hear my elder son speak of how bad he had felt during our absence from church, which led him to pray with all energy of heart for our return. And it came to pass that all four of us are now very active with callings, united on earth and in eternity.
I am grateful to the Lord who chose our family to enjoy his tender mercy and to taste the everlasting gospel of his son Jesus Christ. I know that trials make our faith grow stronger as I read in the hymn, “ Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning.” When we face trials with a positive spirit, we gain experience through them. I believe that the Lord loves and guides us to find a way out of our troubles. He answers our prayer, In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.