When I got married, I went less active for nearly nine years. I thought that I didn’t have a testimony and I wasn’t motivated to go to church each Sunday. My mother suffered a lot during this time, seeing that I wasn’t interested in the Church. It was even worse because all of my older siblings had already been inactive for years. However, even through it all, she always prayed and went to the temple asking the Lord to help my siblings and me.
One day my mom invited me to a church activity. I decided to go with my nine-year-old son, Domenick, and my husband. Outside of the church there was a group of Cub Scouts getting ready to go to do a service activity. Domenick saw them dressed in their full uniforms, the blue shirt with pants matched with their colorful scarves. He quickly turned to me and said, “Mom, I want to be a Scout, I want to wear that uniform.” He then turned to my husband and asked him if he could take him to Scout meetings. In that moment I began to reflect. I thought how can I, having been so blessed to grow up with the gospel in my life and have the great examples of my grandparents and mother, now take away those same blessings that the gospel offers paired together with the Scouting program from my son?
Who was going to assure that he would have the sufficient strength to overcome trials and challenges, especially without a spiritual foundation? I realized that I needed to come back to the Church, that it was my home and the home of my family. I decided to return to the gospel and the Church in that moment.
Everything was going great after that until Domenick went through a very difficult challenge. I found out that he was suffering from bullying at school. It was so difficult for him that he began to think about committing suicide. I felt that something was bothering him and when I asked him he confirmed to me what it was. I was devastated. I decided to be closer to him, look for help and find things to help push him forward in life. One of the things that helped was the Scouting program. The program turned out to be a lifesaver for him. As he went to the Scouting meetings I saw how the principles of the program helped him develop confidence, character and more than anything his personality.
A year later I was given a calling in the Boy Scouts as member of the committee in the troop and in the varsity team. During my first year serving in the calling, my sister went through a very difficult trial. Her husband unexpectedly died, and to make matters worse she was pregnant with twins. We were always very close, and from then on she had my full support.
Months later the Mijares, friends from my ward, invited me to attend Wood Badge. I said yes without really thinking about it. But after when the date started to get closer I began to realize that I probably shouldn’t go. I thought, how am I going to leave my pregnant sister alone with her four-year-old daughter? Also, how was I going to ask her to take care of my three children while my husband was working?
I told my sister and my husband that I was not going to go. I explained to them that a week is too much time. I didn’t realize that that Domenick was listening to our conversation. The next day he came to me and said, “Mom, have faith, go to this training. We will be fine.” I was blown away by the faith and surety he had. Also, those were the same words said to me by my husband and sister. That same sister who with her broken heart had been through so much.
Thanks to the enthusiasm and motivation from the Mijares, my sister, my husband and my son I was able to go to Wood Badge. I never imagined that it would change my life or have the impact that it did. There was one day when the patrols presented that I felt the immense influence of the Spirit. I discovered that I had a testimony that the Church was true. During Wood Badge I felt a true conversion to the gospel and Scouting.
I am so close to finishing my Wood Badge ticket and am now ready to begin the most important project of my life, my spiritual ticket, to have an eternal family.
Author: Giannina Della Rocca | Timpanogos District Staff, Utah National Parks Council