Family life for someone who would become a Latter-day Saint missionary was not idyllic when Jordyn Felhauer entered her pre-teen years. In fact, religion was not on the Felhauer family’s radar screen. It was only with the tender mercies of the Lord and the persistence of young Jordyn that the future of her family would eventually include baptism, conversion and missionary service.
Although Jordyn’s mother was baptized, she didn't stay involved. “After Mom joined, we didn’t go to church,” she says. “It was never applied in our home.”
Eventually the family relocated from Houston in northern BC to Cranbrook, in the southeast corner of the province. It was in that remote location that the Lord’s “coincidences” began to play out in the Felhauer family. “We were driving into town and we passed an LDS church,” Jordyn remembers. “Mom said, ‘Hey, that’s the religion that I was baptized in.’ We went to that church on the next Sunday, and I met Taellor. She became my best friend and I went to church because of her.
As her friendship and affiliation with Church members continued, Jordyn had become an “active” non-member. During one Sunday school class, the teacher said, “You have all been baptized and all of you have the Gift of the Holy Ghost.” The casual statement captivated Jordyn’s attention. “I thought, ‘Wait a minute. I don’t have this gift!’ I was concerned and a little sad, because I didn’t have this gift that everybody else had. I really wanted the Gift of the Holy Ghost.”
After that day’s meetings ended, Jordyn returned home and spent the rest of the day thinking about how she could receive this important gift. “That night, I asked if I could be baptized. It was World War III! Dad said, “Absolutely, not!” I felt very sad and we left it at that.”
Still Jordyn felt grateful that she could continue attending church meetings. Then when she was 14 years old, Jordyn was invited to join a ward youth temple trip. Though she knew that she would not be able to participate in baptisms for the dead, she agreed to join the outing. “I remember that I sat in the waiting room. I saw everyone dressed in white and they were so happy and peaceful. I had this overwhelming feeling that this is where I needed to be, that the temple had to be my goal and that there was nowhere else on earth that I would rather be.”
After this spiritual experience sitting, Jordyn returned home with a new, stronger resolution. “That night I said my first kneeling prayer to God and asked Him to soften my Dad’s heart so that I could be baptized. I cried, got up from my prayer and went to my Dad.”
“Don’t say anything and just listen to what I have to say,” I began. “I am old enough to decide if I want to be baptized, and I want to be baptized!” After a moment’s thought, her father looked up into Jordyn’s eyes. “If that’s what you really want, you can be baptized.” “I was surprised,” says Jordyn. “I knew that my Father in Heaven had heard me when I told Him that I wanted my dad’s heart to be softened.”
The missionaries were called and gospel lessons began. Jordyn’s sister also joined the discussions and both young women were baptized on 23 December 2008.
Several weeks later, as she listened to President Thomas S. Monson deliver a welcoming address to the October 2012 General Conference of the Church, Jordyn heard these life-changing words:
“I am pleased to announce that effective immediately all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19.
“We have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve,” continued President Monson. “Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.”
Sister Felhauer recalls, “I knew then that I was going on a mission. My mother was supportive and although my dad was not happy, I decided to go.”
Soon the letter arrived from Church headquarters calling Sister Felhauer to serve in the Canada Vancouver Mission. Preparations were made, farewells were said and the new missionary entered full-time service to the Lord.
Yet there were more tender mercies from the Lord’s hand. “My bishop wrote to me and said, ‘Your Dad is still as stubborn as ever, but your Mom has grown in the gospel. She has been called to serve in the Relief Society. She is amazing in the gospel!’”
“The gospel blesses us,” says Sister Felhauer. “My Mom told me that I was a ‘really old soul’ and that my soul must be older than hers.”
“This last January, Dad wrote me a letter saying, ‘I don’t understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it, but I’m proud to have a daughter who can stand up for what she believes.’”