Saturday, June 13, 2009

The bird who followed the light

Today, our little eight year old granddaughter , Gretta, will be
baptized in Sacramento, California. What an important day. This is a story for her and to anyone who is willing to listen.
Hello from Denmark. We miss all of you so much. We are especially sorry to miss the baptism of our sweet little Gretta. We can tell, when we talk to her on the phone, that she can't wait to be baptized.

Gretta, you were sent here from our Heavenly Father with a great love for animals. You especially love birds.

I am going to tell you a story about a little frightened bird. See if you can find-- in this true story, what this little bird has to do with baptism.

A few years ago, while the Mormon Tabernacle Choir prepared to be filmed with a well known guest band, an organ tuner was asked to tune the pipes for the performance.

The doors of the tabernacle were opened to cool down the pipes. A small sparrow flew in unnoticed. He wasn't discovered until the next morning.

Animal control brought nets and pellot guns to try to trap the sparrow. But the manager of the tabernacle did not want pellot guns to damage the organ pipes or the delicate ceilings of the tabernacle. He also was worried about the little bird. The bird continued to fly back and forth chirping loudly.
The manager recorded: "The thought came to me that the bird was important to our Heavenly Father. Maybe I should ask Him to get it out of the building. I turned my back to the others- bowed my head and said a simple prayer. 'Heavenly Father , if this sparrow is important to you, could you please let us know how to safely remove it?'
I immediately had a strong impression to ask our workers to turn off all the lights in the building, shut the window blinds, and close all but one of the doors.
The sparrow was perched on the top of the organ pipes. Suddenly he left his high perch and in a perfect swan dive,

he flew out the open door to freedom.

Gretta, you live in a world that can be very scary and dark. There will be times in your life that you will be confused and even lost.

The Savior, Jesus Christ has provided a way for you to find a light.

Your parents, your grandparents, your brothers and sister, your Primary teachers, your Bishop-
Have spent eight years trying to help you focus on this light. They have taught you how to follow Jesus.

When Jesus lived here on earth, he was baptized by John the Baptist. His whole body was immersed in the River Jordan. He did this, not because he needed to be cleansed from His sins, ...He did this for you, so that you would be cleansed from your sins and be able to follow him away from the dark things of this world- into the light.

What do you think "the Door" of the tabernacle represents in this little bird story?
For me, it represents the door that you are about to enter, the door of baptism.

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi is shown a great vision of the Savior when he was baptized. Nephi wrote it down. He said:
"If ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart.. with real intent, repenting of your sins, and witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost."

Then Nephi was shown why we should follow the Savior into the waters of baptism. He said: "For this cause have (these things) been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
And then (ye) are in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life."
--2 Nephi 31: 13, 17-18

The day we became missionaries, we were given name tags to wear every place we go. It is not like a name tag that you see on a worker in a grocery store. There are two names on my name tag, my name and the name of Jesus Christ.
Every day, when we go from place to place- people know that we have promised to follow Jesus Christ. We represent Jesus Christ and have taken upon ourselves His Name.

When you are baptized, you won't wear a name tag everywhere you go...but you will have made a promise to follow Jesus Christ and take upon yourself His Name. You are like the little bird who found a light at the one door that was open. You will be set free to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide you where ever you go.

The Lord has provided for you a path to follow after you are baptized. He does not want you to get lost. Sometimes this path is called a "straight and narrow path." This does not mean that it is dangerous, and so narrow that you have to tip toe carefully through your life or you might fall off.
Jesus is on the path. He wants you to follow him and enjoy all the great adventures of life that he has planned for you. He wants to be with you all along the way.

Where to you want to go? What do you want to do? What will make you happy on this path?

He has promised to guide you, inspire you, and even lift you up when you can't go any further on this path alone. It is a beautiful, straight, and dependable path- that will lead you through a life full of promise and unexpected surprises. Guess where the path will lead you- Back to your Heavenly Father.

What a day this is. Put it on your calendar.

This is the day Gretta Anastasia Hromiko decided to fly through the Lord's door- into the light. She will be baptized, washed clean from head to toe, and become a worthy member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.

May God bless you on this very special day. You will never be sorry that you chose to follow Jesus Christ. We love you so much and so does He.

I want you to know Gretta, that I know that Jesus Christ lives and that he loves us and wants the very best for us. I am so glad that I was baptized many years ago. It is not always easy to do the right things. But the Lord is so happy when we do. I am glad that we can share this happiness together. Have a wonderful day. We will be thinking about you and your family today. Love, Grandma


  1. Well done grandma. You really put your heart into this one. I'm sure her family will cherish your reflections on Gretta. You go grandma!!

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful message. What a wonderful blessing. What a wonderful family.

  3. That was very sweet, Mom. I love that bird story and it fits very well with Gretta since she loves birds so much and her baptism.

  4. Great story, Belva. You did a wonderful job on the story and pictures.

    We love reading the blog. It makes us feel like we are sharing in your adventure. I copied your "Put on the Whole Armor of God" graphic and used it on some bookmarks for my daughter for girls' camp. I tried to make a two-sided coin, but it didn't work out. (I'll have to ponder that one for another time.) I appreciate all your "sharing."
    We love you,
    Bob and Doretta

  5. Thanks, Bel. Your usual great job. A treasure from Grandma Belva.
    Love ya, Sister Simmons

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  7. Belva! I am just starting to read your blog & I love it. Really, I do. I was with Kathy & Nick this past Sunday and we were all so happy to talk about your missionary service and computer skills. Keep up the great work. This story is so beautiful and touching - what a great way to share your gifts

  8. This is one of my all time favorite stories from the Ensign. Thanks so much for sharing it with photos! Your granddaughter is a lucky girl!