“A Leap of Faith,” Liahona, Sept. 2002, 35–36
I was only 15 when I first met the full-time missionaries—two nice young men with something unusual in their countenances. Although I didn’t remember much of what they said during the first missionary discussion, I couldn’t forget the good feeling I had when I talked with them.
I was president of my church’s local youth group, and I was not interested in changing religions. In fact, when my older brother and sister decided to be baptized, I felt betrayed. Even though I did not approve of what they were doing, I went to their baptismal service to support them. It was hard for me to admit, but at the baptism I felt that good feeling again.
As time passed, I became better and better friends with the missionaries. Finally, I resigned from my position as my church’s youth group president, but I still wasn’t sure I wanted to be baptized.
Then one day one of the elders came to my home with a ward member. I said, “Elder, I would like to work with you sometime.” He replied, “I’m sorry, but you must be a member of the Church before you can be a missionary.”
Several days later I picked up the pamphlets the elders had left at my home. Reading them one by one, I looked up the Bible and Book of Mormon scriptures they referred to. Then, putting Moroni’s promise to the test, I prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. The Spirit testified to me that it indeed was true, and six months after meeting the missionaries, I was baptized.
The first thing I did after my baptism was ask the missionaries if I could work with them now. “You must wait until you receive the Aaronic Priesthood,” they replied. Two weeks later I did receive the priesthood. That same day, I went out with the elders. And as I walked along with them, I decided that someday I too would be a full-time missionary.
For the next several years, I enjoyed all the blessings Latter-day Saint youth have. I attended seminary and Young Men activities, blessed and passed the sacrament, and eventually received the Melchizedek Priesthood. Unfortunately, my mother opposed my Church activity, protesting that I spent too much time at church. When I turned 19 and began to fill out my mission papers, my mother asked me to stop. I decided to respect her wishes and to serve the Lord in whatever other ways I could.
For the next four years, I served as stake clerk, giving my might, mind, and strength to my duties. And I often worked with the full-time missionaries. I dreamed of someday becoming a full-time missionary.
In time, I was called to teach seminary. This opportunity, along with my stake calling, kept me busy enough to feel that at least I was serving the Lord—even though I was not on a mission.
Then one day my sister came to visit with her two beautiful little daughters. It was one month before my 24th birthday. Time was running out, and I knew I needed to decide what I was going to do with my life. That day one of my nieces fell asleep in my arms. As I watched her sleep I realized that someday I would have children and they would ask me, “Daddy, why didn’t you go on a mission?” At that moment I made my decision.
My decision was not easy for my mother to accept. She and my father were separated, and I was the only child at home with her. Still, I knew that what I was doing was right, so I filled out my papers and sent them in. When my call to serve in the Honduras Comayaguela Mission came, my mother was so upset she became ill. But in time, she began to accept my decision, and she even helped me prepare to leave.
On the day I left for the Missionary Training Center, I gave my mother a priesthood blessing. And as I served I began to understand the Lord’s promise: “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say” (D&C 82:10). How great was my joy when the calling I had so long dreamed of holding was finally mine—that of full-time representative of the Lord and His Church. How great was my joy when one year into my mission I received word that my mother had accepted the truth and had been baptized. How grateful I am that I took a leap of faith.