Persistence Paid Off
From an interview with Michael Ira Jensen of the Winnipeg Manitoba Stake
I was baptized in a small branch in Northern Ontario. Those good members did their best to help me grow up and to develop a testimony. Despite their best efforts, I made other choices and decided that Mormonism wasn’t for me.
When I was 21, I decided to move to Winnipeg, Manitoba. My older brother, Richard, had lived there for years and he convinced me that coming back to Church, and specifically going to YSA, would be good for me. After all, I had never really been around youth in the Church before. They didn’t exist in the small town where I grew up. This was going to be an opportunity for me to make changes and finally start to build a relationship with Christ.
Unfortunately after a little more than a year, I was ready to give up. I was frustrated with my own progress and I felt like a failure. It wasn’t as though I didn't believe the Church was true. Rather, I felt that I would never be good enough. I decided that the reason I felt like such a failure was because the Church was too good for me. And so, I convinced myself that I couldn’t be happy there.
Sunday morning while I was sleeping, I heard knocking at my door and immediately knew it was Will. True to his word, he refused to leave until I was dressed and in his car, ready to go to Church.
Will continued this activity for weeks. Eventually, I chose to be dressed and ready to go to Church before he got to my door. He provided my ride to Church for a long time after that.
As I attended, I was able to grow in my testimony and develop a relationship with my Saviour, Jesus Christ. I went from feeling like I didn’t belong at Church, to realizing that I didn’t belong anywhere else.
It has been almost six years since Will's persistence brought me back to the Church. In that time, I have had the opportunity to serve in many callings, often learning from and serving with him.
In this Church and in our work to save others, seemingly small acts of love can have eternal consequences. I learned that we need to take the time to love the people we teach. We need to be willing to go the extra mile for them when they need it. William did that for me.
Genuine Friendship Saved Me
From an interview with Stephen Max Wille of the Edmonton Alberta Bonnie Doon Stake
My family joined the Church when I was three years old. Later, they moved from Europe to Vancouver, Canada. When I was 19, I left home to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. I stopped attending church, because I didn’t know where to go. I was less active for 20 years. In my mind, I still thought the Church was true.
I married a woman who was not religious, so religion continued to be absent from my life. We divorced and the separation caused me to rethink life, so I moved to the east coast.
An acquaintance from the Air Force, Richard Kinner, and his wife,Tanya, befriended me during this lonely time in my life. They were members of the Church. I was ready for a big change and I prepared to get more serious about life. They invited me to dinner often. The gospel was so evident in their lives. It was their centre.
During my RCAF service and moves across the country, my parents made sure that my Church records followed me. Occasionally, I would get a call from a member of the Church to check on me, but I perceived those as “duty” calls. Richard and Tanya were different. They were genuine friends and their love helped me to come back. Although Richard is probably ten years younger than I am, our friendship wasn’t merely a connection with a peer, but with someone who truly loved me and cared about my welfare.
Soon after, I began dating a girl who was not a Church member. Because of my changing nature, I told her that if I were to get married, it would be to an LDS girl. By this time, the missionaries were refreshing my knowledge of the gospel, so she joined our discussions. When I received the Aaronic Priesthood, the first ordinance I performed was to baptize Grace. Six months later, we were married and six months after that, Grace and I were sealed in the temple.
Richard became my faithful home teacher. Later, he and I were assigned as home teaching companions and we were able to work together to help less active members.
Home teachers who become true friends can make a world of difference.