Montserrat Ventura Wadsworth wanted to change the world. She planned to live an exciting and glamorous life, saving millions by finding cures for the world's diseases.
When Sister Wadsworth found herself raising 10 children on a large farm in Winnemucca, Nev., she realized that Heavenly Father had a different plan for her.
In the speech she gave as Nevada's Young Mother of the Year at the American Mother's, Inc. convention, Sister Wadsworth explained that she now viewed motherhood as an integral part of God's plan to change the world. "While battles rage, diseases spread, and evil rears its ugly head, God is working quietly behind the scenes using mothers and babies to change the world."
Montserrat Ventura left for college at age 15, as homeschooling had allowed her to finish high school in two years. She received an associate's degree in crop and soil science at Rick's College (now BYU-Idaho), where she met and married Nevada farmer Joseph Wadsworth.
"I didn't realize just how important motherhood is until I became a mother," she said. "I think motherhood is the answer to changing the world instead of what I thought I was going to do."
Her family of 10 attracts attention wherever they go, but she has learned to respond to even critical comments about her children politely but firmly, testifying of the importance of families.
"It's just the holiest work that I can be doing here — to help [my children] to gain testimonies so they can return to Heavenly Father," she said.
She draws strength from learning and teaching her children about family history through stories, journals and photographs, finding comfort and guidance in how her "ancestral mothers" handled their challenges.
One of her most challenging times as a mother came when she had six children under age 8.
"I was completely outnumbered," she said. "I was constantly counting them to make sure I didn't leave anybody. It was stressful, but my mother-in-law said to 'just embrace it.' "
When her older daughters reached the high school "stage" four years ago, Sister Wadsworth became a seminary teacher. The other youth who live out of town join them in her living room each morning or, if the day demands a scripture chase, the kitchen table.
"We have seminary stuff set up all over my house," she said.
A lot of educating goes on at the house, as Sister Wadsworth also homeschools her children. This allows them to help their father and uncles on the farm, and Sister Wadsworth considers getting up at 3:30 a.m. to be an education in and of itself.
She is also a writer who has a popular blog that celebrates her family, love of chocolate and even her testimony.
Above all, her writing reflects her love of motherhood. "It's been quite enjoyable," she said, then laughed. "A lot more enjoyable than I had originally thought, thank goodness."