This experience was shared by Sister Star Rawiri from Auckland, New Zealand.
The first missionaries that I met didn’t knock on my door and weren’t the young men or women with badges in their suits and ties or dresses.
No, my first missionaries went to school with me. They didn’t have name tags, they didn’t wear “missionary attire” and their first name wasn’t Elder or Sister. To me they were my friends, my best friends in high school.
They loved me, accepted me for who I was, and told me who I could become. More than that, I felt the Love of God through them. They NEVER forced their ideals on me, they NEVER forced me to go to church with them (in fact, I invited myself ) and most importantly they NEVER once gave up on me.
Because of my natural curiosity through our years of friendship I would ask them what they believed in and why they believed it. Although still teenagers, they gave me answers that I found astounding, they spoke with intelligence beyond what a normal teenager would have of God.
They spoke of God and Jesus Christ in such a personal way almost as if they knew Him but also with so much reverence and respect befitting a King.
Those interactions, small and few, but powerful enough to get me to wonder about my OWN personal relationship with God.
Do I truly know Him? If they have such a personal relationship with God, can I too? So, unbeknownst to my friends, I started praying. Well, not the whole kneel down and pour out your whole soul type of prayer -but, the soft silent kind, the kind you say in your heart. The longing for more truth, more love, and a better relationship with God resounding every bit my soul.
My answers would come as I continued to meet and make friends with more members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons), and attend church sporadically.
The next missionary I met was a return missionary (someone who had finished their mission), so no badge, no suit and tie, and his first name wasn’t Elder either. But, that exchange was a turning point in my life – it taught me that God is real and He knows us personally, and most importantly, He loves us.
It was the first time I had felt the Holy Spirit strongly testify that everything he said is TRUE. I couldn’t deny the feeling I felt so I knew at that moment I wanted lessons from the missionaries to find out more.
But life doesn’t always go as we expect it to.
It took me nine months after this experience to finally get missionary lessons. Those nine months were pretty rough. I was challenged emotionally, mentally, and physically and I failed miserably.
I was in and out of the hospital that entire time wondering why I had to be there. But then I finally decided I had enough, I’m gonna get these lessons.
So I decided to go to church that day, I rang a friend and I was like “I wanna go to church” but my friend said that she missed church because she forgot it was Stake Conference that weekend and the chapel near us is not the Stake Center and it already started so we couldn’t make it. I was gutted and thought, “That’s what I get for trying” but then a second thought came to my mind “you have the missionaries’ number in your phone”.
So I decided to ‘Test’ God and was like “If these missionaries don’t pick up I ain’t trying no more”. So I rang the missionaries and they didn’t pick up and I was like “cool, cool that’s fine”.
Then, I thought well I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and ring again and they didn’t pick up again. Now I’m sitting here like a fool and real serious for the last time that if they don’t pick up, then that’s it I’m not going to try anymore.
Before I could call them again they called me back and relief hit me realizing that me testing God was actually Him testing me right back to see if I was serious. I got the missionary lessons within two weeks, I got baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on September 29th 2018 on my best friend’s birthday (My first missionary).
September 24th, 2019 I received my call to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in Seoul, Korea Mission. Here I am still serving but in a different mission for the time being in the New Zealand Wellington Mission.
I just wanted to share my conversion story to encourage all the missionaries and members of the Church of Jesus Christ that EVERYTHING you do counts. No matter how small or insignificant you think your contribution is, it counts it matters and God will magnify everything you do!
It took my friends, RM’s, missionaries in the field, and the support of my friends and families to help me understand the gospel. I also invite people who are searching for answers to keep going, keep searching for God, and 10/10 the result will end in you getting lessons with the missionaries.
Because we understand that God is our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ is Our Lord and Savior, and the Holy Ghost testifies that what we know to be true.
We are called to testify of Christ. “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” – 2 Nephi 25:26
Arohanui, Alofa Tele, Ofa Atu, 사랑해요! – Sister Rawiri (라위리 자매)