...that missionary work can be done in happy valley.

Meet my friend Anastasia.
We met five weeks ago after she showed up at my ward one Sunday with a woman who is a patient at the clinic where I work. Because of my background in family therapy/counseling I am very familiar with the regulations of HIPAA in regards to patient privilege and confidentiality so I just noticed her from across the room and resisted approaching her to say hi. A couple days later, this patient was in the clinic and we talked.

I explained why I didn't say hi and she told me about Stasia, how she came to BYU for athletics and remained here for five years having limited contact with the LDS church to her coaches (after being bombarded in the dorms her freshman year, she has lived with other non-LDS athletes). I gave her my phone number to give to Stasia since she had expressed interest in coming to the activity we had planned for that week. Thursday, at the end of the day, the phone rang at the office after hours. I almost let it go to voicemail, but answered it at the last second. It was this patient-friend of Stasia's saying she had lost my number. I told her to give me Stasia's number and I would call her. That was our first "introduction", me calling her to invite her to our ward BBQ. It was like we had been friends forever on the phone and she immediately accepted my invitation.

After that night I invited her to church again. She seemed a little hesitant, saying that if she was up and didn't have anything else, she would come. After her response, I wasn't too hopeful about her showing up, but she did. And she came to the activity the next week (see above) and again to church the next Sunday. Later that week as we were playing tennis (well, she really was just giving me a lesson on how to hit) she told me she was having her first discussion with the missionaries. I was a little shocked. I knew she had lots of conversations with our mutual friend about the gospel--this lady is an amazingly positive example--but, she had told me that she had just needed friends. I asked her if I could come. The discussion was so different than I am used to, no invitation to be baptized, no challenge to read the Book of Mormon. The elders simply asked her what she knew about missionaries and then invited her to pray everyday (to which she replied she already was). My thought was, this girl is ready and these elders are totally unprepared. BUT it left her wanting more. They set up an appointment to come back on Wednesday (I couldn't make it because of a scheduling conflict in schedule).

Tuesday night after work, Stasia and I met up to hike the Y (my first time ever--I know, right?). At the top, as we looked over the valley she told me everything she loves about the LDS Church. I just listened in awe and tried my best to validate what she was saying and help her recognize the Spirit's witness. On the descent, she told me she wanted to be baptized before the end of next week and she was going to tell the missionaries at her appointment the next day. I couldn't have been more excited. "Really?" I said. "You really want to get baptized next week?" And with the biggest smile I've ever seen, she said, "Yes!" I got a call from her Wednesday night around 11:30, "Charity, will you come to my baptism this Saturday at 3:00?" Ha! And yesterday we got to watch as she was "reborn"..."no more [a] stranger and foreigner, but [a] fellowcitizen with the saints and the household of God."

It was a combined effort of her coaches, friends, professors, even Tom Homo the athletic director at many people participated in Stasia's conversion. I feel so honored to have played a small part. It was a great reminder to me of the power of example and friendship AND a great reminder of why I am LDS.


T*town said...

what an awesome experience! I love feeling the power of conversion so closely.

The Hokanson Family said...

That is the coolest story, Char! I loved reading that!