Monday, February 18, 2013
I should have posted this one first, since it happened before his setting apart... but that would only have made too much sense. So my apologies. Jarrod was set apart as an Elder on January 13, 2013, by his father, Stephen West. He then went through the temple for the first time to receive his own endowments the following Saturday, January 19, 2013. That was a very sweet experience. His dad was his escort, and he was privileged to have his Grandma Sloan (West) there along with his Aunt Michelle Brau (Stephen's sister) and her husband, Jim. There were many other members from the Morningside 3rd Ward there, as well as his friend, Jafid Garcia and another young sister (can't remember her name) who was almost ready to leave on her mission. There were a lot of the West family members that came down from Northern Utah: Grandma, Vickie Sloan, Aunt Rhonda Granquist and her daughter, Annie (along with her husband and baby). Then Stephen's sisters all came: Michelle and Jim Brau and their kids, Mari and Dan Topham and their kids, Jeanna Bromley (and her kids - Beau had to work and couldn't come), and Suzi and Tom and their kids. Steve and Kristi hosted an open house that night for family and ward members. The next day, Sunday January 20, 2013 Jarrod spoke in church along with another young man that was set to leave on his mission the week after Jarrod. It was a packed house... the gym was filled with chairs all the way to the back. The front two benches were filled with young men that were friends of Jarrod's. The sides had family friends from other wards and work. And then all the family took up at least another two rows. There were a lot more friends behind, but I couldn't see them. Jarrod spoke first. He did some little hand thingy to start with just to be silly, but quickly got serious. It's really kind of funny, but I don't remember the topic of his talk... I think it was becoming converted? He read a little bit at first, but then talked of his own conversion. I will try to remember as best I can: He said he really didn't have his own testimony for a long time. There was a an experience that really stuck with him, though. It was a youth conference going to the Manti Pageant and they were approached by protesters. He said he had no idea what to say, but his friend, Vea Fakahua, seemed to have all the right answers. He was impressed by that, but one of the man's questions stuck with him since then. It was something along the lines of how we couldn't have a modern day prophet or the Book of Mormon, that it had to be false. A while later, during scripture time with his dad they read Mormon 9:8-10..." 8 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them. 9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? 10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles." This answered the man's question and witnessed to Jarrod the truth of the Book of Mormon. And then he continued with another experience in which his dad challenged him to think of what his big question in life was at the moment and that his questions would be answered in Conference the following weekend. (The fateful October 2012 conference!) He said that Stephen's questions kept popping up in his head and wouldn't let him alone. And as he was thinking of it, he realized that he needed to decide whether or not he really was going to serve a mission. The next morning he was awoken by his mother's text..."Can you hear conference right now? Did you hear what they just announced?!!!"
He said during the break in between sessions he felt he should read his patriarchal blessing, and it said straight out that he would be called to serve a mission. He had his answer... He called the bishop a bit after conference and the bishop's response was, "Jarrod, I've been waiting for your call."
He bore his testimony that he knew of the truthfulness of the Gospel and wrapped it up.
After the meeting he invited his friends over to his dad's house for some food, and he had quite a crowd! It was a sweet thing to see how many of his friends were there in support of him - and how many friends he had! Kind of crazy!