Today was a really a once in a life time sort of day. Not every one is lucky enough to have an awesome friend like Judy and her daughter Kaitlyn. And even fewer people are lucky enough to have those friends find and accept the Gospel.
We had been living in Dupont for about a year. Judy and Kait lived across the ally from us and a few houses down.
Kaitlyn and Emily had been working on their friendship for a while and were starting to become very good friends. I had the impression several times that I should introduce Judy to the Gospel and what I believe. My acting on that prompting was very limited to inviting her to a ward activity. I also invited Kait to start coming to achievement days with my class, because at that time I was Emily's leader. (short lived greatest calling ever!) We invited her to a few things that her schedule prevented her f
rom attending and so there wasn't much else going on.
Then Judy had surgery that took her out of commission for several months. I remember being frustrated because we were pretty good friends by then and she was recovering at her parents house and I felt it was difficult to serve her or be there for her. She was on bed rest for an eternity. And all that time she was learning about the church. Judy had discovered the BYU channel. I think it was just the perfect thing for her. She is so smart and really enjoyed all the intellectual religious stuff that BYU pumps out. She eventually returned home and a few weeks later I get a phone call.
I can tell she is beating around the bush...
There is a little bit of small talk...
We discuss getting together for one of the evenings that n
ight to play rock band...
and then she says, "So when are you going to tell me about your church?"
I couldn't believe it! So I said, "Do you want to come over now?"
I was afraid she would change her mind or I would chicken out about telling her if we set a later date.
From there, there was lots of reading (I mean LOTS - like as in everything I could find to give her and then tons of stuff she starting reading on her own
). She met with the couple missionaries and we had several discussions. Things were going really great. I felt so good to be heaving a good missionary experience. We were praying for her as a family and all focused on teaching. Then things cooled off. It was really sad. I think she felt pushed by the missionaries, unsure of her feelings, scared of the reaction of her friends and family and there was a habit that was giving her a hard time. Anyway for the next year and 1/2 I waited. I tried to gently ask her every once in while if she was still studying it out in her mind. I was always worried about pushing too hard for her to come to a conclusion and then torn by being worried that if I never said anything she would think I had just dropped it all and given up.
Looking back I think that teaching Judy about the gospel k
ept me alive in it. I was going through a really hard time with my Primary calling and working through some problems at home and with my church leaders and I was not at all living in a "strong testimony" moment. And even though I felt like giving up on myself Judy kept me going because I had to be an example to her. Looking back it was around the same time that I started to figure myself out that Judy decided to be baptized. I know her investigation of the Church was a blessing to me. It made me face my own weaknesses and by sharing my testimony with Judy I was reminded on several occasions during that year of great weakness that I actually had one. She wasn't even a member of the church and she was being a missionary to me.
After our trip to the Temple it had all come down to her worry about her parents response. She set a day to talk with them about her decision to join the c
hurch. The Sisters and our family fasted that day for her. I thought about her all day long. I knew she was sick with nerves. And yet I knew with confidence that her parents would accept her decision. That evening when we talked I was surprised to learn that her parents not only had accepted her choice but offered support. They would come to the baptism and be there for her like they always are. I cried with happiness for her.
So the baptism was wonderful. I experienced so much joy watching her become a member of the church. She is more than just a friend, she is my sister!