I was asked to give a talk on Fathers Day. This was hard for me to do but this is what I've come up with and I'm happy with it. I hope that you might have time to reflect on your father this Sunday and especially your Father in Heaven. Love Sister Jessica deJong
I have had many Father Figures in my life.
The most important man in my life was my home teacher. Brother Denton took his Priesthood calling very seriously. He would come over and lay down on the floor with his one leg crossed over the other and his hands behind his head and tell us stories. Each story had a meaning and a message. After the story was over he would jump up and leave. I couldn’t wait until he came back to tell another one. His visits became longer and more meaningful as he built up trust and confidence. He continued serving and blessing us long after he was released. He would write me once a month when he wrote the missionaries. I still get his letters.
Dan is the navy father that let me go with their family when I was 14. Newly endowed with a drivers license I drove their car across the United States following the moving vans. He taught me that I could go anywhere in life. He encouraged my education and later wrote to me with advise and encouragement to life a moral life. He encouraged me to ask questions – He wrote to me and said “The only dumb question is the one not asked”.
Mr. Behunin was my school counselor. He taught me that no matter what my past looked like my future was clear and unmarked. He would say “I don’t care where you have been – I care about where you are going”.
When I first babysat for the Landon family, Chad would tease me about the boys and school dances and encouraged me to make friends and to be social. Chad knew all 5 love languages - and he used ever single one of them. Never has a man loved his wife more than he did. A few years ago she died from complications from a diet pill she had been taking. I attended the funeral and the people filled the chaple, the gym, the primary and relief society rooms -overflowing to outside. She was a jewel in her husbands eye.
Daddy Warbucks also known as Denis. As his nanny I would go wherever the parents went. If they went to work the children and I went to work. If they went on business or pleasure trips we went too. We were always with them. He loved his children. He would get down on the floor and read to them. He would hold them and sing them to sleep. He bought them and myself our favorite cereal and he would be so proud of himself. He noticed that I liked writing letters and he bought me a lap top and encouraged me to write. He would surprise me with little gifts like a journal. When I went out after work he would tell me to drive carefully – He could replace the car but he could not replace me. He showered adoration on me and like a little child I adored him back. He made me feel so loved.
I was their nanny on Nantucket. Nantucket is an island 3 miles wide and 7 miles long. It’s a tourist attraction. I had every square foot memorized. I would swim in the ocean, go for bike rides. The children were as my own I loved them so much. The only thing I lacked was religion.
Sundays were my day off and I spent my time visiting the different churches. There were the Catholics. The Episcopalians. First Congregational. The Methods. Lady of the Isle. And then there was the United Unitarians. After much sitting, kneeling, standing, shouting praises and amen's, and singing halleluiahs - I decided to spend most of my time with the Unitarians.
Reverand Ted Anderson was a jolly old man. His deep voice echoed in the chapel and his laughter drifted out the big bay windows. He was a story teller and it drew me in. We soon became good friends and he allowed me to play the grand piano after his sermons. He would sit and eat his lunch while he listened. He would tell me all sorts of wonderful facts about the island. I found out he came from a family of Mormons. Our stories turned into great discussions about religion and I spent a lot of time reading the scriptures and finding answers to the questions we both had. He was determined not to be a Mormon but he fueled my desire to have God back in my life. I literally wore spots in my knees from praying.
I thought a lot about Joseph Smith and how there were so many different churches and which one of them might be correct. I did as he did. I knelt down and asked God if the Church of Jesus Christ was true. I had such a strong confirmation that I decided I needed to leave Nantucket and return home. To get off the island took every ounce of strength I had. Every footstep was heavy and tears rolled down my face. I tried not to turn around and look back. I felt I might turn into salt like Lots wife in the story in Genesis. I walked to the ferry. From there I took a taxi to the bus station which took me to the Boston airport. A member of the church picked me up and I stayed with a family until I could make arrangements to fly home. I left a world of security and happiness behind. Why did I have to leave? I had to give up that lifestyle I was living. I had to put God first in my life and completely trust in Him. If I had stayed I knew that I would have been well taken care of and loved. It was a great sacrifice that I had to make to turn my life around where God wanted me to be.
Fathers, It is important to sustain the family with shelter, food and clothes. It is your calling and duty but more important than that is to love and cherish your family. Don’t let work get in the way of the small and simple things that mean so much. Your children adore you. Give it back. Dote on them and spend time with them. Teach your children the meaning of hard work. Integrity, Virtue. Take your priesthood responsibility as the most important role in your life.
Fathers, first and foremost -You are a child of God. Jesus is our Elder Brother and God is our Eternal Father. This understanding of our relationship with God is a special gift. We come to know that this means we have the right to increase in capacity, in sureness, in effectiveness, in faith, in performance – even in quality of being, until we inherit what a son is entitled to inherit from his father – all that he has.
This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. John 17:3
One of the most important services of the Holy Ghost is to witness unto us that God lives and that Jesus Christ is His Son and our Savior. We too are children of God. Christ was the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh but Christs spirit and our own were created by God the Eternal Father.
God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1;27 There is no greater goal than to strive valiantly to become like unto our eternal parents. If we do not become so, we cannot dwell with them.
A father is
I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with Darrel and our four children. I am thankful for my husband and his desire to become like our Heavenly Father. I am grateful that my children have a father that loves them. I am thankful for this opportunity to reflect on the men in my life who have brought me closer to God.
How important is a father? Where would I be without the influence of these men? I bear my testimony to you today of the Love that God has for each of us. God loves me and has always given me what I need. We are his children.
A special tribute to my step father. I'm so grateful for you. You gave my mom companionship. Friendship. A home. You grew in love together and you raised two families. Boys will be boys and Keep a low profile is what you always said. I love you for taking care of my mom. Thank you! Love Jess