A few years ago, while serving as Ward Mission Leader, I was introduced to a young man who had come to church with a less-active member of the ward. I knew Rory (not his real name) from the neighborhood, but had never been formally introduced.
Rory, a Buddhist, came to church out of curiosity and said he had no intent to join the Church. He sat through Sacrament meeting and then came to my Gospel Essentials class with his less active friend.
I dispensed with my prepared lesson from the manual and instead gave a lesson with elements from the old first discussion. In spite of Rory’s professed indifference to Mormonism, I wanted to plant a seed and share with him the basic tenets of the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end of the class, Rory thanked me for my lesson and left with his friend.
I continued to see Rory in the neighborhood and maintained a cordial, but distant relationship with him. I always waved to him when I passed him in my car, and shook his hand when I saw him in the park or at the Sonic drive-in close to my house. We didn’t talk about religion when we spoke, but we were always pleasant and friendly with one another.
Just last week, I was at the park with my family and I saw Rory talking with a member of the Elder’s quorum presidency in my ward. I overheard Rory talking about Joseph Smith and walked over to join the conversation. To my surprise and amazement, Rory said that he had joined the Church a few months ago and was attending a singles branch in an adjoining stake.
Rory shared his conversion story with me and said he was converted after reading the Book of Mormon. He told me he threw the Book of Mormon away that a friend had given him, but after finding the book in his native language at the Visitor’s Center, he read it and gained a testimony of its truthfulness.
That next week, Rory attended church with my ward and stood at the door greeting everyone as they came in. There was a look of surprise on a few faces (Rory is one of the last people they expected to see at church, I’m sure), but everyone greeted him with a warm handshake and some greeted him with a hug.
I feel blessed to have played a small role in sharing the gospel with Rory, someone I thought would never join the Church, and thank my Heavenly Father that I was able to witness the mighty and miraculous change in this young man’s life. From this experience, my testimony of the converting power of the Book of Mormon is strengthened, and I am anxious for opportunities to share its message with others.