My conversion unto the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not too crazy, or out of the ordinary. It’s rather plain and simple. A conversion based on full trust in the Lord. But I’ll tell it anyway! About a year and a half ago, I was walking down the street pushing my brother and sister in a stroller. I was having a pretty rough day to end my super rough week. I just was not having a great time. I suffer from severe anxiety and it took a pretty firm hold over my life at that time. It was hot. It was midday. It was Arizona. It was not a good time. Two missionaries came from nowhere and ended up on either side of me. Completely blindsided me. I was raised with no religious background, but we had always hid from and avoided the missionaries. So to be caught in such a situation was a bit overwhelming. For awhile they didn’t say a word. They just rode along side of me in complete and total awkward silence. And then the missionary to my right, Elder Brown, said “You know that Heavenly Father loves you, right? Cause he does. Like a lot. And you’re gonna be okay. Because he loves you.” And then they rode off. I will never understand how he knew that I needed to hear that. And I don’t think he’ll ever understand how much I appreciated those words. I had never been told that before. No one had every told me that I have a Heavenly Father who loves and cares for me. I grew up with all LDS friends, and they always seemed so happy, but I never knew why. I will forever remember and be grateful for that day. I ended up running in to those same Elders later on in the week, and I agreed to a lesson.
The first time they came, old habits kicked in and I hid behind the door until they left. The second time, I left the house before they got there. The third time I opened the door, and they couldn’t find a male to join us, so we had to reschedule. And similar stories went on for fourth to the eighth encounters with the missionaries. Eventually I gave up. I figured that if this wasn’t working out, then it wasn’t right. It wasn’t what I needed. But I knew I needed something. About six months later, I finally gave in to the 18 years of nagging I had been forced to listen to from my best friend Jazmin. And I came to church with her. Which was a huge deal for me. I walked into the building and knew within five minutes that I was exactly where I needed to be. I felt like I was at home. Which is a feeling I had never felt before. I was pretty upset with myself for holding out for so long. I was completely overcome with the Holy Spirit. After sacrament meeting I was introduced to the sister missionaries. These Sisters were placed into my life by the hands of my Heavenly Father. I know that with complete and total certainty. They answered every unspoken prayer I had kept pent up in all of my, then, 19 years. I agreed to take the lesson from them and we scheduled a time for later on that week. By the end of that lesson I knew that I was going to be baptized. The rest of the lesson flew by, and it’s all sort of a blur. Considering they happened so fast. I remember key parts, like praying for the first time by myself out loud. And I remember praying out loud in front of Jazmin for the first time, we both cried for hours after the Sisters left. It was such an amazing experience. Next thing I knew I was in the water with Colton, who baptized me. I remember we were both shaking so bad that the water had little waves. Coming up from the water was by far the best experience I’ve ever had. I instantly felt clean. I felt loved. I felt perfect. I vowed to do whatever I could to keep that feeling for the rest of my life.
Which leads me to now. I’ve been baptized for almost 9 months, and it’s hard. And it’s getting harder. But there is nothing worth more to me than my covenants with Heavenly Father. And I know that by keeping those promises, and by keeping blind faith no matter how hard the circumstance, I will always be okay. I will always be saved. And I will always be grateful. I have a strong testimony of missionary work and the influence it can have on others lives. No matter how small the gesture, it will make a difference. Whether it be telling a stranger that their Heavenly Father loves them, or smiling at the old man at the market, it makes a difference. I know that if we trust in the Lord and all of his doings we will be blessed. We do not have to understand why things are happening to be grateful for them. I know that by praying and reading scriptures diligently we will find answers to questions we didn’t know we had. And I know that by loving everyone we meet, we will feel the love our Heavenly Father has for us more strongly than ever before. I am so grateful for all of the amazing people who are a part of my conversion story. And I love them with all of my heart. All of these things I know to be to true, and I leave them with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.