The Gift of My Heart,
was inspired by our mother’s conversion story, written by her own
hand. In the poem, where possible, most of the words, sentences and phrases are
hers. "My conversion took place in our lovely but humble home, located at 20
Marlborough Street, Mt. Eden, S.W.I., Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday night, March
17th, 1935, continuing on until after day break, Monday. I would like
to begin by saying a few words about my most wonderful parents. I am Ida Eloise
Davis Jeppsen. I am the daughter of Dr. Harold Edgeworth Davis and Minna
Mathilde Sanft. My mother is Polynesian, and of the lovely island of Neiafu,
Vauau, Tonga. The Friendly island in the beautiful South Sea Isles of the
Pacific. My father was a surgeon from San Francisco, California, who traveled
the beautiful South Sea Isles of the Pacific in his desire to further gain
experience in his field before returning to his home in America to go into
partnership with his father and brother, also of the same profession."
The Gift of My Heart...
"I was just a small and curious little girl of three,
who lived with my family on the South Sea Isle of Figi.
My father, a doctor, died when I was the age of four,
and where once we had been rich, we were now poor.
Mother moved us to Tonga and during the nights I’d hear her pine.
We lived there until Frederick was ten and I was barely nine.
At ten, my brother Fred was the first to leave and go on his way.
My mother sent him to New Zealand to go to school at Hawkes Bay.
Someone there talked to him about the Church, I really don’t know who.
But he came back to Tonga, saying he knew this church was true.
Every Sunday, Fred returned from church, filled with the gospel he’d
but mother wouldn’t listen, instead she was angry and refused to believe.
When he tried to tell us about the gospel, mother stuffed cotton in her ear,
and when he asked if he could be baptized, mother’s answer was clear.
‘No!’ she said. ‘This Church is evil, that’s the end of it, don’t bring it up
But my brother knew in his heart that it was of God, not of Satan or men.
‘If you’re going to follow the devil,’ she’d say. ‘Then leave me and your
But the seeds of the gospel planted in my heart had already begun to sprout.
The more I listened to my brother’s teachings, the more my heart yearned to
So one day my brother showed me his Book of Mormon, he’d hidden out of fear.
With every opportunity, I slipped into my brother’s room and read from this
Until one day my mother found me and angrily the Book of Mormon she took.
Now, whatever happened to his Book of Mormon, I’m sure I’ll never know.
But the truthfulness of what I had read from it, had already begun to grow.
As time passed on, my brother became old enough and got baptized on his own.
Soon after, he sailed to America and I stayed with mother at home.
For my twenty-fifth birthday, mother told me I could have the gift of my
I studied her eyes and asked her if she was prepared to fulfill her part.
Realizing that I too wanted to be baptized, she cried with a good deal of
I cried too, as I put my arms around her and kissed my mother goodnight.
In my heart I knew that mother loved me and was only doing what she felt
But I needed to know if this Church was true and to join my brother and the
That night I began praying to the Lord because I so desperately needed to
until finally dawn had broken with the sound of the rooster’s crow.
Still not having my answer, I fell into bed exhausted from the all night
I then fell into a deep sleep and dreamed a dream that was somehow real.
I dreamed I was seeking the truth as I walked alongside a deserted road.
I came to a large rock, sat and leaned forward with tears that heavily
As I wept, I felt a hand on my head and a man’s voice calling me by name,
asking me why I was crying and so I told Him of what was the blame.
He bent over me, took my right hand in His and said, ‘Come follow Me.’
I looked up and saw it was Jesus, wiping my tears so I could see.
I gazed upon His face as we walked, then by chance I happened to look down.
It was then I realized we were walking hundreds of feet off the ground.
When I saw I was walking in the air, I became frightened and started to fall.
He tightened His grip on my hand and walked as if it were nothing at all.
I had the look of fear on my face but as He looked in my eyes I could see
the tremendous love He had to give. He said, ‘Never take your eyes off Me.’
I then awoke, still hearing the sound of His voice ringing in my ear.My mothers conversion took place in Auckland, New Zealand on March 17th,
I was shaking uncontrollably, but it was out of joy and not out of fear.
‘My prayer had been answered,’ I said, and an overwhelming joy filled my
I wanted to run to mother’s room to tell her of what I had seen and been
But knowing how I hurt her the night before, I got ready for work instead.
It was then mother called me to her room. ‘You’ve been praying all night’ she
‘Yes, I have mother’ I replied. ‘I too have been praying and now I am
that you are to receive the gift of your heart of which you have long
She said, ‘On your way to work stop by the Mission Home and make the
I ran straightaway to schedule my baptism and the elders listened with
On the day of my baptism the Chapel was filled with people, happiness and
Even my mother came to witness the glorious event and gave me her full
* * *
She was a little Tongan girl who lived on the South Sea isle and today is
Yet when the name of Jesus is spoken to her, you wouldn’t believe the look in
how her face lights up, how her arms and legs move ...or the tears of joy
Officer Samuel Jeppsen #3751, July 2K-a
Our mother was baptized five days later on her birthday, March 22nd
, 1935. And as a result of our mother and father, Harvey Ira Jeppsen Sr.,
son of Conrad Nielson Jeppesen and Laurine Nicoline Nielsen, both of Danish descent, there
are to-date, 74 decedents who were born under the covenant and are, or will be,
members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her
mother, Minna Mithilde Sanft Davis Shultz, was baptized nine years later on January 13tth, 1944 by Apostle, Matthew M. Cowley, then president
of the New Zealand Mission.
"I leave my witness with you that I know that God lives. That Jesus is The
Christ. I know
this Church is the one and only true Church–it is the gospel of our Savior. I
know that gospel guidance will give us peace in this world, exaltation in the
eternities if we will but live it’s principles, covenants and doctrines. I know
that inspired prophets are leading this Church today. I pray we will all seek to
perfect our lives in the pattern of the Savior–each of us helping each other.
God bless us all and grant us the strength always to endure faithfully to the
end, to run the race and run it well. May His peace ever abide with us–that
peace which the world cannot give nor take away, but the peace of those who have
found their sanctuary in His great love, I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, our Beloved Savior and Redeemer,
Ida Eloise Davis Jeppsen