Dany was a miracle in so many ways. He first met the sisters on the street, and they gave him a pass-along card.
I arrived in the area a few weeks later. In that area we volunteered at the food bank every Friday. The first time I went, Dany was there, also volunteering (Mosiah 2:17). He came up to us and said, “I’ve seen you missionaries before. I know it’s not a coincidence that I ran into you again!” We asked if he was available to sit down sometime and learn more. He said that he was too busy, but he would call us. Then over the course of the next few weeks, we kept meeting Dany at the food bank. We became pretty good friends with him.
One day my companion felt like she should ask him again if we could share our message with him. He said, “Yes. I was actually thinking about that this morning. I would really like that.” We started teaching Dany. On our first lesson, we committed him to start reading the Book of Mormon and encouraged him to write down any questions that he had.
On our next visit, he told us that he had read a bit and had prayed about it. He explained that when he was younger, he went out to prove that God didn’t exist. Instead, he ended up proving to himself that God does exist. He said that he had done a lot of research but had ultimately come to a dead end—until this moment when he learned about and read the Book of Mormon. He said that this was the end of his research and that he had found the true Church! Then, he said, “And I remember that you told me to bring questions, and I just have one: How can I become Mormon?”
We were so excited and more than happy to share with him about baptism. This ordinance is best explained in Doctrine & Covenants 20:37:
“And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.”
He committed to be baptized, and we set a date with him. From that point on, he learned eagerly and came to Church multiple times (even when it was in Val D’or, more than an hour away).
It wasn’t, however, all smooth sailing. Dany had a few addictions that were very difficult to overcome, and he fell back on them a few times. One time was just a few days before his baptism, so we postponed the baptism. That was very hard for him, but it was cool to see him learn how there are consequences for his decisions. He came to understand true repentance a little better after that. As Moroni explained, “Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins” (Moroni 6:2)
Eventually, after the trial of his faith, he was baptized. And, situations being what they were in our tiny branch, he was baptized in a hot tub. Still, it was an incredibly spiritual experience to see this man learn and grow and sacrifice a lot. He became that new person he wanted to be because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
A similar miraculous change is described in the Book of Mormon as God spoke to Alma the younger:
“And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures;…” (Mosiah 27:25-26)
And to think: it all started just because of one little pass-along card. It is a testimony builder to me that everything we do with the Spirit of the Lord makes a difference.