Brothers and Sisters, Aloha!
We are the Dooley family. We moved into the ward in August coming from the 6th ward where we had lived for one year. Before that we lived in Washington State. We have also lived in Utah and in California.
I was born and raised in Washington and Dave moved there when he was 16. Our families became fast friends but it wasn’t until I was a Freshman at BYU Provo and a year after his mission in Tennessee that we started dating. We were quickly engaged and by the next summer married.
You have already met our four children: Cora, Afton, Kirkham and Heath. Fortunately for them they have inherited most of our good qualities and only a few of our faults. Like you, we pray and read scriptures together daily, we work together and play together. We especially enjoy spending our family home evenings surfing together.
This past family home evening however, we spent the evening preparing for our talks. As Heath already described we brainstormed the many facets of Service and each child chose a particular part that they thought was interesting. Each of them wrote their own talks with minimal assistance and have looked forward to sharing those talks with you today. I hope that you have felt their testimonies and that the spirit has born witness to you of the truthfulness of their words. I hope that my simple words of testimony will also by carried by the spirit to touch your hearts and to encourage you in your service to the Lord.
We have been told in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.” In Doctrine and Covenants 81:5 says: 5 Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.
We are a service oriented church. We are encouraged in scripture and by modern day prophets to care for our families, to serve our neighbors, to be active in our communities, to fulfill callings. We volunteer in schools and in hospitals. We serve missions and do humanitarian aid projects. We donate time and money and goods to important causes within and without The Church. Each adult is asked to do home and visiting teaching, we are each extended a calling, we are encouraged to regularly attend the temple. We take very seriously Jesus plea to “Feed My Sheep”.
Like many of you I come from a long legacy of serving and fulfilling callings. My 3rd great grandfather Anson Call was assigned by Brigham Young to serve the saints settling colonies throughout the west. My ancestors were pioneers and missionaries, Relief Society presidents and seminary teachers. My great grandmother was well known for her great love and her incredible cooking .—she adopted 7 children beside the 5 she gave birth to——the hungry were never turned away and there was always room for another visitor.
My parents carefully taught me to give every assignment from the Lord and his leaders its due attention and to never turn down a calling—that the lord has plans for us that we don’t know about. That callings are another way the Lord prepares us for a future trials and prepare us for his future works all while meeting the needs of His Children now. I have had many callings. Served in Relief Society, in young women’s, in primary, in Sunday school, been on activities committees and music committees, and more. Some of these callings I felt qualified for but most I did not. Each one has been as much of a blessing in my life.
I received my very first calling when I was 18 years old. I was in my senior year of high school and was going through a lot of struggles. My stake president called me in to his office one evening and asked if I would consider being the ward pianist for the Cambodian ward. At the time I was struggling wanting to even attend my own ward let alone go to a second meeting that was 20 minutes away. He expressed to me how much I was needed, that there was nobody in the ward who played and the neighboring wards didn’t have any musicians to spare. I reluctantly agreed to help for a few months until I left for BYU.
Those few months were a great experience for me. I didn’t understand a thing that was said or sung in those meetings. And when the members came up to me with a smile on their face I didn’t know if they were thanking me or poking fun at me but they were friendly and kind and loved me and none of them asked me “how I was doing”, a phrase that I had learned to hate in my home ward. That calling provided me with a peaceful place where I could feel the spirit and be renewed. The Lord knew what I needed.
My second calling was a Sunday school teacher and it was especially scary to me as I was called to teach the 14/15 year olds. I was newly married and felt like I wasn’t old enough to be a teacher. I was afraid of the class because I knew what my friends and I had done to our teacher at that age. But they were a good class and were patient with me. I learned how to talk in front of a small group without shaking too much. I learned how to hide my hands so no one could tell I was nervous. It helped that Dave was my team teacher.
Visiting Teaching is another calling that taught me a lot; especially how to be a friend. I am an introvert by nature. I would love to be a hermit. I had very few friends through high school and those who were my friends did most all of the talking. I didn’t even like talking on the phone! Still don’t. I am also not a naturally thoughtful person. I don’t remember birthdays or special occasions and rarely send notes or letters or photos. But visiting teaching has taught me how to get out of my comfort zone and that I can share feelings and ideas, I can make phone calls, and I have learned how to be more thoughtful—I write myself a LOT of reminders! Not surprisingly the women that I have met through visiting teaching have become some of my best friends.
These three callings prepared me for callings in young women’s, primary and relief society. In those callings I honed my skills at working together in a presidency and conducting meetings and how to control large groups of small children and many other useful skills that at first made me very uncomfortable but now I am very grateful for.
Without my years of work in the Primary I never would have gotten up the courage to attempt being a substitute teacher, a job that I thoroughly enjoy. My service in Young Women’s taught me how to communicate better with teens which is helping me be a better mother. Relief Society service has taught me to be more understanding and charitable and how to listen to the promptings of the Lord.
These callings ended up serving me, though technically I was serving others in my wards and stakes. I was strengthened and empowered by the things I learned while serving. My service allowed my Heavenly Father to work in my life and to make me the woman He wants and needs me to be.
Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto them weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
I am thankful for the opportunities I have to serve in this ward. I am grateful for your patience with my rusty organ playing. I love sitting up front and listening to your beautiful voices and then looking out on the congregation and learning your faces and trying to remember who belongs with which family. It is helping me get to know you better. I am also grateful for the opportunity to be a visiting teaching supervisor. I love the relief society. I love its mission. I love visiting teaching.
I echo the words of President Henry B Eyring in his Oct 2010 talk when he said “I urge all of us, young and old, who are called . . . . in the name of the Lord to dismiss our feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. We don’t have to use soaring language or convey deep insights. Simple words of testimony will do. The Spirit will give you the words for you to speak and will carry them down into the hearts of humble people who look for truth from God. If we keep trying to speak for the Lord, we will be surprised someday to learn that we have warned, exhorted, taught, and invited with the help of the Spirit to bless lives, with power far beyond our own.”
Not only will our service bless the lives of those around us but it will enrich and strengthen our own as well. I bear testimony to you that these things are true. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe in Him and I believe that his atonement has and will continue to work in my life. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.