“Friend Power,” New Era, Oct. 2001, 12
Jaslyn Simpson took a leap of faith in a Beehive class of only two girls in Wellington, New Zealand. The Beehive teacher of the Crofton Downs Ward challenged the girls, as part of their lesson on missionary work, to invite a friend to church. And Jaslyn decided she’d do it.
“I knew there was something missing in Amy’s life,” Jaslyn says, “so I knew I should introduce her to the gospel.” Jaslyn’s small action of love caused a major reaction in the life of her best friend, Amy Valentine. Amy came to church with Jaslyn at the first invitation and then kept coming to Sunday meetings and youth activities for the next two months, until Jaslyn and her family moved to Sydney, Australia.
“I’ve never really had a Christian background. I had no idea how to pray or anything,” Amy says. “But before they left, I decided I was going to keep going to church without them. By then, I sort of knew some other people at church.”
One of those people was Michelle Broczek, the other Beehive in the Crofton Downs Ward. Michelle invited Amy to take the discussions in her home and, with her parents’ approval, Amy was baptized when she was 13.
But Amy’s transition into the Church wasn’t easy. “Even when I was leading up to it and for a while after my baptism, it was hard to adjust,” she says. Michelle’s friendship and love helped Amy stay close to the gospel, even though none of her family or other friends were members. “Michelle’s an amazing example. That was one of the biggest differences for me.”
“I’ve always done those things,” Michelle says. “I didn’t just change because Amy was joining the Church.” She says it’s important to be an example, especially to strengthen investigators and new members in the Church. “Keep on working on your testimony and yourself and just be aware of the little things you do.”
Amy and Michelle gain a lot of strength from each other, and they have strong individual testimonies, too. They frequently give away copies of the Book of Mormon with their testimonies written inside.
Even with a strong testimony of the gospel, being the only member in the family is not easy. Although she’s been able to share the gospel with her friends at school, it’s more difficult with her family. “They’re the hardest, especially because I look to my parents as an example. It’s kind of a switch when I try to teach them more about the gospel.”
Not having other members of the Church in her family makes the goal of a temple marriage very important to Amy. She wants to have a family that is strong in the gospel and be able to do all the things she doesn’t get a chance to do now, like family scripture study and family home evening.
Amy keeps trying to share the gospel with her family and hopes her example and activity in the Church will finally have an effect on them. She stays active by praying a lot and drawing strength from Young Women.
A value project Amy has chosen also helps her to come closer to Christ. “This year, I’m really concentrating on getting to know Jesus Christ better,” she says. And the way to know Him better is to be more like Him. So Amy made a list of all the attributes of Christ she could think of, with help from the scriptures. She came up with things like faith, charity, love, and generosity, and she works on trying to be each of the things on her list for a few days at a time.
To others who are in her situation, Amy has some words of advice: “Really, really study,” she emphasizes. “Gain a testimony and an understanding of the gospel for yourself. Don’t rely on others because it is up to you. Always rely on Heavenly Father. He will give you the understanding and the blessings you need.”
The young women in her ward all agree: Amy’s life is a labor of love. “Everyone should want to have a friend who’s as into the gospel as she is. She loves the gospel,” says Kelly Butters, who just left the Laurels for the Relief Society. Since the gift of the gospel was shared with her, Amy feels she needs to share it with others too. She and Michelle have fellowshipped many of the other young women in their stake, and they continue to share the gospel and their testimonies. Jaslyn’s small leap of faith, nearly five years ago, has rippled through Amy’s life and continues to bless the lives of others through her example and testimony.
Sister Margaret D. Nadauld, general president of the Young Women, made this special request of all the young women in the Church at the last general Young Women meeting:
“Will you reach out and bring one other young woman into full activity in the Church this coming year? Surely each one of you knows of a girl who is less active or a recent convert or who is not a member. We are asking you to reach out and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with one other young woman, so that she can also enjoy the sweet blessings of heaven. …
“Just think, if each one of you will accept this invitation to reach out and bring in just one, next year there will be twice as many active young women! Let the Holy Spirit guide you in your effort. Your parents and leaders will also help you know what to do and how to do it” (Ensign, May 2001, 92).