This Sunday was Fast and Testimony meeting. I always enjoy them, and if nothing else, it’s a great way to get to know more people in the ward. One thing I have come to love is knowing that Maren’s 8 year-old son, Mathew, will kick things off with his testimony. For the last four or five testimony meetings, he has confidently marched to the podium to share his testimony of prayer. Every month, he tells a story about how his family was driving one cold, dark night and their car got stuck on the side of the road. He tells us about how they prayed and then a man helped them find an easy way back to the road. I love his confidence and his consistency!
This week, like he has been for the last four months, Mathew was the first one on the stand. I started giggling and the missionary in front of me held up his hand, “number 5.” I looked back at Maren and Mark who just had their heads hung, shaking and smiling. On one hand, I felt awful laughing at an 8 year-old. On the other hand, it was freaking hilarious.
As he stood up there, sharing his testimony of prayer, I got an overwhelming confirmation that this is what it means to become like little children. I stopped giggling and paid a little more attention to his words. I noticed that his testimony sounded different this month. I remember the first time he shared the story, he pretty much just shared the story. Other times, he spoke about the power of prayer. This week, he testified so firmly that Heavenly Father loves us and answers prayers. He told the congregation that when we pray, Heavenly Father hears us.
I was blown away.
This small human shared his testimony and I learned two huge lessons. First, when we pray, Heavenly Father hears us. Prayer used to be, and sometimes is, a struggle for me. For this little boy, it is one of the surest foundations of his testimony. How many of us can say that with his kind of confidence? Second, he taught me that this is exactly how testimonies grow. I think of these two scriptures:
1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
I think about my own testimony. I think about the very weak testimony of God’s love for me upon which I made the decision to be baptized. I knew nothing. I was a child in the gospel and I understood as a child. And then the next week, it grew a little stronger. And then the following month, I could say things like, “Amen.” Almost a year later, I work on finding the courage to share it. I grew, and waxed strong in the spirit, but slowly and consistently.
How awesome is it that Mathew has such a strong testimony of his Heavenly Father’s love for him that he is so filled with the Spirit to share it with us? One time, a sister missionary told me that sometimes Heavenly Father speaks to us and answers prayers through other people’s words. What if Heavenly Father is using Mathew, in his short size and young age, to remind us how important it is to become like little children? How easy is it for our grown-up minds and hearts to become cluttered with spiritless unnecessaries? Sometimes, we just need to go back to basics. God loves us. Mathew taught me a wonderful lesson this week:
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
Why is this an important lesson during the second week of Advent? We are preparing for the birth of a child who brings the promise of salvation. Our life eternal is a gift wrapped in the package of a child. If listening to a kid share his pure and sure testimony doesn’t bring you closer to the Savior, I don’t know what else does.
Mathew Hufford, thanks for having a strong testimony. And thanks for sharing it every month.
Love, so very much,