“The Church or My Girlfriend?” Liahona, Sept. 2009, 44–45
My maternal grandmother joined the Church in 1962. Her children were also baptized, but over time they all became less active. Years later, one of them, my aunt, moved from Costa Rica to the United States and became active in the Church there.
As a teenager I went to visit my aunt in 1991. During my stay she introduced me to the full-time missionaries, and I met with them a few times in my aunt’s home. They asked me if I wanted to learn more about the gospel, but I told them I wasn’t interested.
I returned home to Costa Rica, only to have missionaries visit me there. (My aunt had given them my address.) I still didn’t have any interest in their message, so I asked them to leave.
Four years passed. I was dating a woman with whom I had been friends for many years, and our relationship progressed to engagement. As I thought about our future together, my heart turned to things of a spiritual nature, and I told my fiancée that I wanted to know God. We decided that I would attend church with her to learn about Him. In the meantime I prayed privately to God for opportunities to come to know Him.
During this period of searching, missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint again knocked on my door. Frustrated that they had returned, I told them to go away, and then I shut the door. But at that very moment, a thought struck me: “You’ve been praying to know God. What if these men have some answers for you?”
I opened the door again and called after the elders. I invited them to come in and teach me.
I quickly discovered the power of the truths they taught, and I embraced the restored gospel. Three weeks later, on March 12, 1995, I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
My girlfriend was not pleased with my decision. One night about three months later, she told me that I had to choose between her and the Church. What a painful decision! After a lot of pondering and deliberating, I chose the Church.
I felt that I had made the right decision, but the months following our breakup were a dark time in my life. Nevertheless, I found hope in living my newfound religion, especially in coming to know my Heavenly Father, as I had prayed to do.
A year after my baptism, I left for a full-time mission in Nicaragua. My service there brought me great joy, and my knowledge of and love for my Heavenly Father grew. Several months after I returned from Nicaragua, I met Lili, the woman who would later become my wife.
Making the gospel a priority in our lives isn’t always easy. The decisions I made were difficult ones. But I learned then—and have continued to learn since—that whenever we make sacrifices to know our Heavenly Father, He will reveal His will for us and our lives. The happiness that comes from following His plan and His commandments is always worth the effort.