Sharing with a Stranger

“Sharing with a Stranger,” Friend, Feb. 2000, 18


Sharing with a Stranger

How great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! (D&C 18:16).

“Hi! My name’s Jim.” Jessica looked up to see a young man in his early twenties smiling down at her. He had dark hair and dark eyes. He looked gentle, and he had his hand out to shake hers. Jessica shook his hand, but she was a little timid.

“I guess I’ll sit next to you, if that’s OK. I’m pretty nervous, aren’t you?”

“Not really.” Jessica hadn’t been happy when her parents told her that she would be sharing her baptism day with a stranger. It was supposed to be her special day. She was surprised to find out that the stranger was a grown-up.

“It’s sure hot in here, isn’t it?” Jim said.

The sun was pouring into the little Primary room, but Jessica thought that the temperature was just right. She was still a bit unhappy that the stranger was here, but she was curious and decided that it wouldn’t hurt to talk to him. “How come you weren’t baptized when you were eight? I thought everyone got baptized when they turned eight years old like me.”

“Well, I wasn’t as lucky as you. You see, I just started to learn about the gospel a few months ago. You’ve been learning it all your life.”

“You mean you didn’t go to Primary?” Jessica couldn’t imagine anyone not going to Primary.

“What’s Primary?”

“That’s where children in the Church learn about Jesus and sing songs and do other activities.”

“Well, that sure sounds like fun. No, I didn’t go to Primary, but I used to go to Sunday School with my mom at a different church. That’s where I learned about God. But as I got older, no one could answer my questions about God and Jesus—until I met the elders.”

“My dad and mom answer my questions. My dad helped me learn about what it means to be baptized, and he’s going to baptize me. Is your dad going to baptize you?”

“No, I asked Elder Young to do it for me.”

“Did Elder Young teach you about baptism?”

“Yes, he did. Hey—it looks like they’re ready to start.” Jim nodded toward the bishop, who was conducting the service.

The meeting began with a hymn and an opening prayer. Then Sister Jacobs spoke. Jessica tried hard to listen and be reverent. As the time to be baptized drew closer, she became nervous. What if she forgot to plug her nose? What if the water was cold? Jessica didn’t like being cold.

She looked at Jim to see if he was nervous, too. She couldn’t believe what she saw—he was crying! “Are you scared?” she whispered.

Jim looked at her. “No,” he said. “I was, but I’m not anymore.”

“Why are you crying, then?”

“Because I know that I’m doing the right thing today.” He smiled.

It was time for them to go into the water. Jim went first. Everyone watched him step into the water with Elder Young. He seemed to glow, and a warm feeling came over Jessica. He looked so happy! Jessica no longer felt sorry about having to share her special day with a stranger.

Soon it was her turn. When she stepped into the water, it was cold. Jessica didn’t care—she felt warm inside. Afterward, Jessica looked for Jim. “I know you and I did the right thing today,” she told him. “I felt it inside!”

Jim gave her a great big smile.

“I didn’t want to share my baptism day with anyone,” Jessica admitted. “But now I’m glad I did.”

“Thank you, Jessica,” Jim said. “I hope that we can be friends.”

“I’m sure we can,” Jessica said and gave him a big hug.

Illustrated by Gregg Thorkelson