“I Tried the Experiment,” Ensign, June 2001, 66–67
My parents died while I was still living at home. Being the youngest and the only unmarried member of the family, I was devastated.
Alone and vulnerable, I became so distraught that I had to leave school. Concerned about my emotional state, my brothers and sisters took me to nearly every hospital in the area. The doctors said I was in shock and needed complete rest in a peaceful place away from books and anything that required concentrated thinking.
Life became even more difficult, especially as I saw my friends continuing their studies. The fact that they still had their mothers also caused me pain; my mother had been everything to me. I longed to die so I could rejoin my parents.
But my Father in Heaven had other plans for me. In His wisdom and love, He inspired my brothers and sisters to take me from the city where I had been going to school to another city to be near them. I stayed with my sister Alphonsine. She and her husband and children were so kind and courteous that I began to feel better. Even more importantly, my sister’s oldest son, Faet Nadege, introduced me to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was my association with the Church and the power of the gospel that finally calmed my mind and healed my wounded heart.
When I went to church for the first time, the sisters of the Relief Society and the Young Women welcomed me so warmly I felt I had almost found my parents again. I continued attending church and in time began taking the missionary discussions.
One of the first commitments Elder Hurst and Elder Bekoin asked of me was to read the Book of Mormon. I replied that I couldn’t because I had been told not to read or do anything that required great concentration. The elders encouraged me to pray with sincerity and faith in Jesus Christ about their request, assuring me the Lord would give me the ability to do what was necessary.
And so I did as they counseled. I tried the experiment. I read the Book of Mormon—and did so without any difficulty. I was baptized on 18 November 1995.
I soon received a calling to teach Relief Society. Then I was called to be a branch missionary. After that I served as a counselor in the Relief Society presidency and then as the president of the Young Women in our branch. All of these callings strengthened me and helped me progress, both spiritually and mentally.
My greatest growth came after I was called to serve in the Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa Mission. I was among the first sister missionaries to serve there. The experiences I had, both positive and negative, helped me develop a greater Christian capacity for love and service. My joy felt complete.
I will always be grateful to those who fellowshipped me when I first found the Church. In meeting them, I found a new family, a large and loving one that I know is eternal: the family of our Father in Heaven. I am grateful to the Prophet Joseph Smith, through whom the Lord restored His Church. Above all, I am grateful for my Father in Heaven and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They opened the doors of life and happiness to me when all I could see was sorrow.