Good morning brothers and sisters and happy Mother’s Day to all the old moms all the new moms all the moms in between that are still trying to figure things out… a word of advice to all the new dads. “They are always right and we are always wrong.” Believe it or not, but even for a man of my stature, that phrase has kept me alive for over 20 years now even if it’s not true, that last part was a joke.
My name is Levi Vagana. I am married to the love of my life Emmy. She is my queen and pushes me to be the best father and husband I can be. She’s a blessing to me from my heavenly father, and I would not be here if it wasn’t for her.
We were blessed with two children who are both teenagers now Rylan and Remington, both of which have completely opposite personalities, but have the best brother and sister relationship, they have made parenting really easy for me and Em.
I am a mama‘s boy I am 100% mamas boy to the fullest, I love my mom I miss my mom, she was a single mother, who raised one perfect daughter, and four knucklehead sons all by herself. She worked two sometimes three jobs to provide for us. She did not play around and did not hesitate to smack me or my brothers in the back of the head.
My mom loved the Savior. She loved the gospel. She did not miss church, and we always sat back row there in the corner right in front of the door. Some of my very first memories were sitting in the back row from a chapel in New Zealand to the fountain Valley building when we attended the fountain Valley first word.
I learned at a very young age that we went to church every Sunday, my mom had us doing family prayer every night and family home evenings on Mondays, which were tons of fun because we got to play games and everyone got a chance to teach the lesson.
That was basically our weekly routine, and then, one Sunday with mom I learned primary songs and about the Savior and his disciples….
Then we went through our weekly routine of family prayer and family and evening, I got a little older and was at church with mom and learned about baptism and repentance…
And then I got a little older with mom and now I’m learning the importance of sacrament and renewing our covenants.
Now my mom is raising five kids for most of this and working multiple jobs and I’m sure we’ve all felt helpless and struggled and can all relate, but President Uchtdorf shared in his talk from this past conference “at times it may feel that you’re not accomplishing much. But remember that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.” One home evening, one gospel conversation, or one good example may not change your child’s life in the moment any more than one drop of rain, causes a plant immediately to grow. But the consistency of small and simple things day after day nourishes your children much better than an occasional flood, brothers and sisters daily bread is best prepared and served at home. Faith and testimony are best fostered in normal and natural ways, one bite at a time, in small and simple moments, in the constant flow of daily living.
You may not see the immediate effects of your efforts. But don’t give up. All things must come to pass in their time. “ the Lord said. “Wherefore, be not weary in well doing, for you are laying the foundation of a great work. What work could be greater than helping God’s precious children learn who they really are, and build their faith in Jesus Christ, his gospel, and his church? Jesus Christ will bless and magnify your consistent efforts.
I’m grateful for the sacrifices my mom made for me and my siblings and her consistency in getting us kids to church and making us do family prayers and family home evening’s, I know she’s been blessed for efforts.
Back in 2005 me and Em had been married for a few years and one evening she tells me she’s pregnant. I was a mess and I was the happiest man alive but I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know how to be a father, obviously there’s no manual for it. I wondered if I was worthy, I remember thinking to my Heavenly Father “are you sure?” I prayed every day for months. I asked my heavenly father to bless me, so I wouldn’t screw this up and going into the second trimester. I got this overwhelming feeling of peace and it was like “I got you” “don’t worry I got you”.
I know heavenly father’s taking a risk sending me one of his children and I know that this child had to have been special to come to earth at this time, talk about pressure, talk about weight on your shoulders.
But I also know the same way. My mother knew that if I stayed consistent in providing the teachings of our Savior to the kids, and if I stay in tune with the Holy Ghost, and remain worthy to receive his guidance, then we’ll be all right because the Saviors guidance is always right. I know my heavenly father loves me and he stands beside me and is my strength in guiding the kids to make righteous decisions.
I love how President Uchdorf said… that building a child’s faith is like helping a flower grow. You can’t tug at the stem or make it taller. You can’t pry open the bud to get it to blossom, and you can’t neglect the flower and expect it to grow spontaneously.
But what you must do is provide rich soil With access to heavenly water. Remove any weeds and anything blocking the sunlight….and then be patient and allow them to grow. Parenting 101 right….
In closing, I’d like to share something that President Monson said, during a general conference, some years ago, he says….
If you’re still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on every newly clean surface, the toys scattered about the house and piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will to your surprise miss them profoundly.
I can’t remember the last time I picked up a toy the kids left on the ground but in the same token I remember the pain of standing on a Lego.
I am grateful that heavenly father trusted me and Emmy enough to raise two of his children, we know that it is our responsibility to raise them to become spiritually strong and righteous members of this church so that they can help make this world, a better place. And at the same time, prepare it for the second coming of our Savior.
Happy Mother’s Day, and I humbly say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.