If you aren't already familiar with
"International Hug-a-Convert Day"
you should be.
Please visit this site without delay.
OH!! AND DON'T MISS THE COMMENTS
Sorry . . . . MMM - but they are the best part.
(You'll want to bring a snack and beverage, pull up
a chair and stay a while . . . :)
I have been blessed to enjoy many miracles in my life . . .
But probably the first was being born into an LDS family. I was going to try to calculate the odds but it's been tooooo many years ago that math was my strong suit. So I'm going to quote
"MMM" and just say . . .
I don't know why Heavenly Father sent me to the home He did. An LDS home, with righteous parents, where I was immediately set on the correct path. I mean what are the odds for that? (Rough calculation of active LDS members to world population: A million to one.) Why me? I figure I will just put that on the list I have of questions to ask God when I see Him. Although I don't know, I have thought through a couple of possibilities:
1) I was just so incredibly awesome in the pre-mortal life that being born into these privileged circumstances was a well-deserved blessing. That's me, "Mr. Extra-Valiant Spirit Man." Or...
2) God knows me well enough that He felt that if He left it up to me, I would never have found the Gospel. (Yeah, a bit sobering.)
That said . . .
I do KNOW I have some pretty important conversion stories in my family history that I am indeed grateful for. Some stories of good old fashioned pioneer courage and conviction. We also have some modern day conversion and life changing stories that are pretty important in our lives.
I would LOVE to reach out and hug the converts that are so important in my life!! I'm so grateful they found the gospel, for the testimonies and strength in our family!!
In honor of the occasion . . . thought I would share a conversion story from one of my Danish ancestors -
Lars Mouritsen, his wife Maren and son Mourits Mouritsen,
through whom we are descendants.
The story of my great-great grandparents begins in Denmark, at the northernmost tip comprised primarily of small villages and farms, nearby the village of Guldager. Guldager lies between the current towns of Jjorring and Bronderslev.
Lars, the father of Mourits was a tile maker and the birth of his son Mourits was recorded in the town parish register for 28th January 1849. Mourits was christened Mouritz Larsen, not Mouritsen as it was customary to give children a surname that identified their father; hence the son of a man named Lars would be named Larsen and a daughter would be named Larsdatter. Each generation would use a different surname than their parents. It wasn't until their immigration into the US much later that he would take the surname of his father and become known as Mourits Mouritsen.
During the summer of 1854 Lars had an opportunity to better his position by moving from a tiny village to the Guldager brickyard which he would manage for 5 years, with his wife and five children including Mourits. It was here he built his family a fine brick home.
The same year Mourits was born (1849) the Danish parliament passed the "Grundlov", a new set of laws that established religious liberty in Denmark. One of the outcomes of the new law was the influx of foreign missionaries. In June of 1850 three Mormon missionaries arrived in Denmark to introduce the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to the Scandinavian countries. It was inevitable that these missionaries would eventually touch the lives of the Mouritsen family.
One member records . . .
"In the autumn of 1857 a new life opened for me, filled with blessedness. There was talk of a strange doctrine in the land which in the common opinion, was heresy. This brought me to pondering and an earnest considering of the meaning of life, both the present and the future life" . . .
Family tradition records of Lars attending a meeting under the pretense of a group of hecklers, intent upon tormenting the elders and breaking up the meeting. At any rate, their interest was kindled and they invited the elders to the Mouritsen home as they were anxious for more of their message.
Lars and Maren were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on February 17, 1858. It was necessary to cut a hole in the thick layer of ice over the deep claypit in the brickyard for the baptism to take place.
As a result of the baptism Lars was let go from his position and it become necessary to relocate his family. Many extended family members were also displeased with the decision to abandon the faith of their birth and become a "Mormon", and henceforth kept the Mouritsen family at arm's length.
About this time the Saints emigration to Zion in the USA was once again opened up for those who had the means to gather to the Salt Lake Valley, whereas it had been unavailable and not encouraged for several years.
The Mouritsen family would travel to Copenhagen, meet up with other Scandinavian emigrants, travel by boat to the south coast of England, then overland by rail to Liverpool and begin the ocean voyage to America. After much trial and tribulation of pioneer endurance they would arrive in Utah in August of 1859. A favorite story much retold is of . . .
Mourits and his sister Jane who were assigned by their father to stay behind the handcart company and oversee an oxen who had given out, requiring that a cow be put in the harness as a substitute, along with the other cows. Sometimes they would get so far behind as to lost sight of the rest of the company altogether. The children walked, pulling grass and feeding the animals to keep them moving along and not allowing them to stop and graze.
However, a cow soon laid down and they couldn't get her up again. Darkness came and the coyotes began to howl. It should be noted that Mourits was only ten and Jane was only six at this time. These children prayed like they had never prayed before. After a long time their father came back along the trail looking for them and they were so happy to see their family again.
"International Hug-a-Convert" day -
and be sure to give a hug to the important converts in your family!