Sometimes life can be blurry, unfocused, unclear. A blot of color adds to a whole of a painting. A word adds to a book. A pixel adds to an image. Sometimes the little splotches don’t seem to fit together or make sense; yet, sometimes each is beautiful in and of itself, and this adds to the whole, making it even more beautiful than it was before.
A single person could be one of these blots, one of these words, one of these pixels that changes another person’s masterpiece of life. In fact, the combination of all these blots, words, or pixels can add up to something pretty wonderful. Looking at how these combinations add up can make a person more grateful and understand life on a new level. It can make all the difference.
For my friend, Marinda Quist, life has a purpose. Her grandmother, who is now in her eighties, is a shining example in Marinda’s life. On a quiet Sunday evening, Marinda sat down with me to talk about one person who has made all the difference in her life.
So I’m from Salt Lake, and both of my parents grew up in Salt Lake. That is where my grandma is from, and her name is Ivy Quist. Her whole name, her full name is Ivy Mae Wagstaff Quist. She is from Salt Lake and lived there her whole life. She is still alive but is getting old.
Her story is when she was a little girl. Her family were members of the church, but they weren’t very active. She didn’t really grow up going to church or anything. When she was like primary age, younger than ten, she had a friend she played with at school. Her friend’s name was Betty Buttle. And we loved Betty because she invited [Marinda’s grandma] to come to primary activities with her. My grandma went with her because she was friends with her, and she just wanted to go with her friend to do what she was doing. And she ended up loving church and loving primary and the things that she learned there.
It changed her life. She started going to church. She brought all her family back to church with her and rekindled the Gospel in the lives of her family. She has been a really faithful member of the church for her whole life. You can see it in the way she takes care of people. You know, I have never met anyone who has served like she has and was always the person taking meals to people and serving and helping – just really strong in the Gospel.
It’s a simple story, but it’s amazing just the difference that one person can make. They were life long friends. I think Betty moved away, but they stayed in touch and were really close for their whole lives.
Do you believe that children can be missionaries?
Yeah, I do. I really do. It’s just like what we keep hearing in General Conference and other meetings about missionary work is that every member is a missionary and that it starts with being friends with people and wanting to share what you love.
And that is exactly the way it went for [Marinda’s grandma]. It’s just that her friend invited her and brought her to church with her so the Spirit was able to work through their relationship, which is what I think the way it is suppose to be.
How has your grandmother’s example influenced you in your life?
Well, I grew up around my family. I grew up like a five-minute drive away from my grandmother’s house. So something that I always thought was really cool was that the Gospel was really central to my grandma’s and grandpa’s lives. We would go over for Sunday dinners, and we would just naturally talk about church things as part of the conversation. My grandma was always sharing her love of the Gospel with us just in the way that she talked about it and bore her testimony to us and made church a really central part of her life.
I know that as well because of how she influenced my dad. I remember my dad telling me that he learned so much about faith from her because she was so strong in the Gospel. He followed in those footsteps. It goes from generation to generation. Personally, she influenced me, but also she influenced my dad and that had an impact on me, as well.
So would you say that developing that conversion, that change of heart can begin in the home?
I think so, definitely. It can happen anywhere, but we learn so much from our families. That is where we try out our new ideas and the way we want to act. It all begins first in our home. Your parents are teaching you by the time you are small by example and by formally teaching. Conversion can definitely start there.
You have two great examples in your own family of your grandma’s friend and your dad.
It’s cool because [Marinda’s grandma] took what she learned from her friend and took it back to her family and changed her family’s life, as well, and got them interested in the church again. All of her siblings have been active members of the church their whole lives. It all started with her sweet little friend inviting her to church.
I am really thankful for the strong members of the church in my family on both sides. My grandpa on the other side of my family – his family was kind of active but didn’t live the Gospel fully. But in his own life he took it so seriously. He lived the Gospel fully and out of the sixteen kids in his family, he is the only one that has stayed active. It’s because of the choices he has made and so my mom and her sisters learned the Gospel. I think it’s amazing the difference one person can make. You know, just making the choice and influencing your family and you can see that in the generations as it goes down.
You are a living testament of that.
Right, yeah. I’m just really thankful for all the people in my life who have been examples to me.