“Stellar Missionary,” New Era, Apr. 2005, 46–47
I am a space nut. I love the intricate formations of stars and planets. Last year, I entered a scholarship competition and won a week’s stay at a space academy in Huntsville, Alabama. I was thrilled! I would be part of a team of other young people from all over the country.
As I began making plans for the trip, a thought occurred to me: Why not try to plant some gospel seeds at the space academy? I had been taught that I could pray for missionary opportunities, and I was aching to share the gospel with others. So for days before my trip to Alabama, I prayed for “seed planting” opportunities. It was the first time I had ever asked for a missionary experience.
On the second day in Alabama I received the opportunity I had been praying for. I had set my scriptures on my bed, and one of my new friends read the title out loud as though it were a foreign language. I couldn’t believe it! My friend, Sophia, had never heard of a Mormon and didn’t know what LDS meant. I explained to her what the Book of Mormon is and what LDS stands for.
When it was time to climb into bed, we continued our conversation. The topic changed as four other girls in our room joined the discussion, and eventually we were discussing … can you guess? Boys. I casually said that I wasn’t going to date until I was 16.
As the week progressed, almost every night we’d discuss some of the Church’s standards and beliefs. We talked about language, fashion, boys, and a little about the temple, sealings, and baptisms for the dead. We talked about charity, the theory of evolution, and the big bang theory.
Now that I’m back from the space academy, I reflect on my time spent there and the friendships I developed. The most important things I learned at the space academy were not about science and space. I learned that missionary experiences are everywhere. If you open your heart and mind and listen to the Spirit, you can spread the gospel wherever you go.