Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An Amazing Conversion

My father-in-law is the bishop of the single's ward here. He has a lot of people just going through and not staying very long in his ward. This last Sunday when Drew, Luke, and I went over for dinner, we were told that the missionaries and a girl visiting the single's ward was coming to dinner. The only things Mama Pepper really knew about the girl was her name, that her husband had passed away a year after they had been married, she's a convert to the church, and that she owns her own business.

Well, everyone arrived and we ate dinner. This girl was oh-so-pretty and sweet--just a nice LDS girl. I couldn't believe she was so young and had already lost her husband. During dinner she told us her conversion story. I hope she doesn't mind me retelling it, but I'm not mentioning her name, so hopefully it's fine.

She's from a small Texas town where she grew up Baptist and studied the Bible religiously. Her uncle is a pastor, so her family is really into their religion. She went to University of Texas on scholarship. She was a cheerleader. It was her first semester there and her next door neighbor kept leaving her little things about the church (notes with scriptures on it and the Book of Mormon and such). She said this next door neighbor of hers was really reserved and really only talked to her about the church. Her roommate told her "Oh, don't talk to her. She's a Mormon." But this girl didn't know anything about "the Mormons".

Her next door neighbor finally asked her if she would like to meet with the missionaries. "Will it hurt?" she asked. Obviously not, so the appointment was made and the mysterious and slightly odd next door neighbor ditched the girl with the missionaries. What made her KNOW there was something different about the church was this:

The missionaries asked if she had read the Book of Mormon. She had, but there were some things in there that didn't make sense. She wanted to know about baptism for the dead. "I've been studying the Bible my whole life and I've never heard of this," she told them. They then took HER Bible, the one she grew up with in her church, and looked up 1 Corinthians 15:29, where it talks about baptism for the dead. She knew then that there was something real and true about the Mormon church.

She was baptized 7 weeks later. She told her parents she wanted to transfer to BYU. They were hurt and upset but she went. She met a returned missionary but told him she didn't want to get married for a long time. He agreed. They were married after they graduated. A year later, he passed away.

This girl still has an amazing testimony of the church. She knows that her and her husband have been sealed for time and all eternity, so she takes comfort in the fact that they'll see each other again. She is an inspiration to me and her telling her conversion story to me has strengthened my testimony. She makes wedding dresses by hand and has started a company with a friend. I can only hope to be as strong as this girl someday.


Tyler and Kathryn said...

Thanks for that share, it's so bittersweet. It makes me grateful for temples but at the same time I never want to let Tyler out of my sight! I can't imagine losing him when our journey has just begun!

Kathryn Pepper said...

I know, it was amazing that she wasn't angry or bitter. She is still amazingly strong!

Ashley said...

Wow- I should talk about the church more- it can really change people's lives! Thanks for sharing.