“Courage to Pray,” Liahona, Sept. 2004, 43
It seemed the year 1987 would never arrive. This was the year I would turn 18 and be able to serve in the Brazilian Air Force. When I could, I enlisted and dedicated myself entirely to serving my country.
After a Church leader challenged us to share the gospel, I decided to seek out someone who might be interested in the Church. After many frustrating attempts and feeling somewhat discouraged, I was reading the scriptures in my bunk when I noticed another serviceman kneeling in reverent prayer.
I decided to inquire about his religious affiliation. His response was like a ray of sunshine. He told me he had observed my lack of inhibition in praying at mealtime and before bed. He had always had the desire to pray but had never found the courage. Finally, he resolved to do it, even though he didn’t know exactly what he would say in his prayer.
I asked him, “Would you like to learn how to say a prayer?” His response was a very definite yes. That night I taught him in essence the six missionary discussions and bore my testimony. The Spirit testified clearly to the two of us that it was all true.
The weeks passed, and he accepted my invitation to go to church. He began hearing the discussions from the missionaries and participating in ward activities.
One day during lunch, after saying a prayer, he looked into my eyes and said, “I have decided. I want to be baptized.” His words were like the resounding of a cannon in my heart. I was surprised and happy, and he added to that when he said, “And I want you to baptize me.” Then it was too much. Unable to contain my tears, I embraced him, and he said to me, “Thank you, my friend.”
With the passing of time, we sent in our missionary applications, and he actually ended up leaving on a mission before I did. Today we are far from one another, but we have a strong link that will unite us beyond this mortal life. He married in the temple and has a beautiful family.
I am thankful for the inspired leader who challenged me to share the gospel with those around me and to be an example for others.