Image: Stephen and RaNae Weston with their five children.
Editor’s Note: This is a Sacrament meeting talk that Lara Weston gave recently in her Idaho Falls ward. Lara has Down syndrome. She is now 36 years old, a high school graduate, and 4 year seminary graduate. She received her Patriarchal Blessing, is temple endowed and attends the Idaho Falls Temple. She works at TJ Maxx, is a visiting teacher, and the Relief Society chorister in her home ward. She regularly shares her testimony on Fast Sunday. She is the 4th of 5 children in the Stephen and ReNea Weston family and accompanied her family to Austrailia for three years while her father served as Mission President over the Australia Adelaide Mission.
Good Morning Brothers and Sisters.
My name is Lara Weston. I have lived in the Sunnyside Idaho ward for 6 and ½ years. I am excited to speak to you.
In John chapter 4 verse 19 it says “We love Him, because He first loved us.” Jesus has always loved me. He loved me when I lived with Him in heaven before I was born. He created this beautiful world for me. Jesus loved me so much to give me a wonderful family. I love Jesus and Heavenly Father because they gave me grandparents and a family who care about me. Even the best mom and dad.
I am thankful that Jesus loved me so much that He let me come to earth with a body that has Down syndrome. I used to think it was bad to have Down syndrome. I thought it was taken away when I had my open heart surgery when I was 2 years old. Now I know that it is a blessing. I know that if I do all I can, I will get to live with Jesus Christ again.
Jesus loves me and even when I do something bad, He wants me to be with Him.
For a while, when I lived in Las Vegas, I lived in a group home. Some of the things I did were not right and I stopped going to church. Then I heard the bad news, that my Grandpa Floyd Weston had died. My grandpa loved me and before he died he called me and asked me if I believed in God. I told him “Yes,” but that wasn’t true. I did not really believe in God anymore. I always felt bad that I didn’t tell my Grandpa the truth. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I prayed but I never got an answer about God being real. So then I stopped praying because if there was a God, why did he take my Grandpa Weston away.
Then after he died, I had a dream about my Grandpa and I told him the truth. Then I learned that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were real. My Grandpa said to me in my dream, “It’s all right Lara; I want you to give me a special gift. Every time you sing out loud, then I will be able to hear you and I will know that you are thinking of me.”
In this life we all go through hard times. My dad Stephen Weston was a mission president in Australia. Australia didn’t want me to come because I had Down syndrome. A lot of people prayed that I could get my visa so I could go with my family on the mission. Even when we got to the airport in Los Angeles, I still did not have my visa. Everyone else in my family did. Jesus knew I needed to be with my family since I was only in Junior High School. Then there was a miracle. A lady flew in from Salt Lake City and right before we were supposed to get on the plane in California she handed my dad my visa.
While I was in Australia I was in Junior High school. Some of the kids kept teasing me and I told my mom I wouldn’t go back to that school. One day Elder Matsamora, who was the assistant to my dad in the mission, heard me crying. He was a very big missionary from New Zealand. He told my mom that he and his companion would take me to school the next day. His companion was also a very big man.
The next day the two Elders took me to my school and walked down the hall with me to my class. They told the kids who had been bothering me that I was their friend and they should be nice to me. After that things were much better. I think Jesus sent special helpers to help me go back to school and feel better while I was there. They did not bother me again.
When my parents moved to Idaho Falls, I liked it here. When they decided to move away to Utah I didn’t want to move and leave my new life. I asked the Blacker family in this ward to be my foster parents and they love me and take care of me. They helped me come back to church. I know that Jesus loves me. It is so perfect for me to be in two great families. I love them both so much and they love me and take care of me.
The most important thing we have is love. Jesus Christ loves us first and forever. I love Him.