Healthy Habits – Spiritual Well-Being

Sometimes, when we are ailing physically, we may not tend to pay attention to our spiritual well-being and treasures in heaven.  We may ignore the Lord’s most important counsel: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)  Laying up treasures in heaven should be our first priority.  My great-grandmother, Christiana Christensdatter Petersen Twede was such a great example to me of one who laid up treasures in heaven.

Christiana was Born in Denmark

Christiana was born in 1835.  She loved helping take care of her father’s sheep on the green hills near their home in Oudrup, Denmark.  Her father would give her a coin for her help.  Her siblings would spend theirs, but Christiana saved hers in a special box.  Her father would tease as he bounced her on his knee, “Whatever will you do with all that money?”

She replied, “I will save it all.  I don’t know why, but someday I will need it!”  He said she was such a good girl.

Christiana and Her Mother meet the Missionaries

When she was twenty years old, Christiana and her mother were shopping in the village when they saw the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wearing suits and having this message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and that Christ had visited America after His resurrection, as documented in the Book of Mormon.  They both felt the Spirit witness of the truth of what the missionaries shared.  They obtained a copy of the Book of Mormon and some other tracts.  Christiana’s father was furious.  He forbade them from joining “that American church!”

The Money She had Saved was just what She Needed

Her mother had a little wooden chest where she kept the tracts and the Book of Mormon.  Christiana continued to study.  Following the promptings of the Spirit, she was baptized a year later.  The money she had saved was exactly the amount she needed to make her way across the ocean and to join the seventh handcart company arriving in the Salt Lake valley in Utah in September 1857.  She could not speak English, but the other Danish converts and saints in the valley helped her adjust to her new and exciting culture.

She Married in 1879 — Two years after Arriving in Utah

She married Christen Frederick Twede two years later, and they had nine children.  Their first child died as a baby.  My grandma was the youngest.  Grandma tells how charitable and kind her mother was.  She lived a life laying up treasures in heaven.  Whenever she had any extra money, she would use it to serve others, and she would often use it for transport, “Now I can go to the temple and do work for someone who has not had the privilege I have.”

The Gospel of Jesus Christ Offers an Equal Opportunity for Everyone to Chose Eternal Life

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe everyone will have a chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ – if not in this life, then in the spirit world after they die. “For, for this cause was the gospel preached also, to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6)  When her son, Gideon was called on a mission, she said, “That was one of the happiest times of my life.”  Now he would be able to help others hear this glorious gospel message.  She saved and deprived herself so that they could send him the money he needed.

Great Rejoicing when Her Mother came to Utah

After Christiana’s father passed away, her mother at age 79 left Denmark and joined her daughter in Utah, and there was a great reunion.  As soon as possible they went to Salt Lake City to the Endowment House as the Salt Lake Temple was under construction, so that her mother could enjoy the blessings of the temple.

Her Personal Story was in My Family History

I had her story in my personal history, and the following is extracted from the church’s article about her and from my personal history file, written by my grandmother, Edith Viola Twede Allan and her sister.

My great-grandmother, Christiana, truly accumulated great treasures in heaven I was delighted to see her story written up in our church’s magazine back in 2005 entitled Christiana;s Treasure.The Children’s Friend. (Scroll down to view article)

She left an enormous-celestial legacy for all of us of her devotion to the Savior, her kindness to everyone, and a knowledge of His restored gospel and the joy it brings.

I am quarter Danish because of her.

Her Youngest Daughter was My Grandmother

I was really close to Grandpa and Grandma Allan.  They just lived down the street from us, and Dad and Grandpa would farm together.

When my wife and I lived in Boulder, Colorado, we would come to Utah for our church’s semi-annual General Conferences and our family would often stop by Grandma Allan’s; she then lived in Springville, Utah, after Grandpa died.  We desirous for our children to get to know this wonderful lady and their great-grandmother.

She had this really cute sense of humor, and she and her sister, Delia, were always doing temple work.  I was her only grandson to go on a mission for our church, so she gave me her beautiful-large marriage certificate for when she and “Wil’,” as she called him, were sealed for time and eternity (married) in the Manti Temple.  William Benjamin Allan was his full name.  It took them two days to get to the temple from Mapleton, Utah, in 1896, where I was born forty years later.

That temple is a marvel in workmanship; for example, it has two of only three self-supporting spiral stair cases in the USA.   When my grandparents were married, that was only eight years after the Manti Temple had been finished.  Grandma also gave me her copy of the second edition of Jesus the Christ (1915) by Talmage.  Both of which I treasure.

Grandma had hardly ever been sick in her life.  Grandpa had died from a farming accident when he was 75, and Grandma didn’t die until she was 97. She was hospitalized with a bowel blockage.  After two weeks in the hospital she told my brother, Dean, that if “Wil’” didn’t come and get her soon, she was going to get married again!  He came and got her!!

Treasures in Heaven

I am greatly blessed to that wonderful ancestry, and I thank the Lord for all that came before me and their goodness. Their examples have contributed greatly to my spiritual well-being and health.

David W Allan

P.S. Follow the Healthy Habits Series:
Healthy Habits: 1 Mind, Heart and Soul
Healthy Habits: 2 Healing, Recovery from a Stroke
Healthy Habits :3  Arrhythmia Solution
Healthy Habits: 4: Failing Eyesight and Blood
Healthy Habits 5: Healing Back Pain
Healthy Habits 6: Healthy Bones
Healthy Habits 7: Spiritual Well-being
Healthy Habits 8: Controlling Hypertension
Healthy Habits 9: Healing 8 Health Challenges