Me, Tanya, and her kids at their ward in Mt Vernon, Virginia.

Back in late April I was preparing to go to Army Airborne school in Fort Benning, Georgia (from May 5th to the 27th). As part of that, I had to obtain eyeglasses that could withstand the shock of jumping out of an airplane and all of the associated trauma. So I went to Fort Belvoir, VA to an optician there in hopes that I would get an official pair of what I now know are called “BCGs.” Come to find out, they offered pretty normal, civilian glasses, and retrospectively I might as well have gone to my local America’s Best. But I think there were other reasons why I was there. I encountered two friendly and talkative optician’s assistants there who both spoke freely of God. One of them, named Tanya, expressed her daughter’s desire to attend church again, as they hadn’t done so in years. She didn’t know which church to go to. I offered that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was all over the world, and certainly in Virginia. She mentioned having been visited by LDS missionaries previously, but having to turn them away due to marital conflict at the time. She expressed that she would enjoy having them by again. She gave me her number, which I passed on to the mission in her area. I didn’t know what to expect. On my mission I had spoken with many people who sounded interested in the Restored Gospel yet never really pursued it, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much. I left for Airborne training and didn’t give it too much thought thereafter. Upon my return the event had left my consciousness. Until a few days ago*.

I was browsing through a few notes on my iPod this week, when I stumbled upon the one where I had jotted down Tanya’s name and number. I remembered her, and wondered what had happened. I called her this morning on my way to work, but she didn’t answer. After work I called her again, once again not knowing what to expect, imagining that perhaps the elders in her area had not even gotten around to contacting their referrals yet (as all too frequently occurred in my mission). To my great surprise and delight, she informed me that she had been baptized on June 9th and is now looking forward to getting sealed to her kids in the coming year!!! I am so excited for her! She spoke of how much the Gospel has enriched her life, how much she loves her ward and how friendly, happy, and wonderful they are, how she feels so strengthened by this…I never could have dreamed up such a miracle!

God is so mindful of each one of His children, and when a dear daughter such as Tanya wants and needs answers to questions He puts the Gospel within her reach. But as Dieter F Uchtdorf has pointed out, Jesus says to us “You are my hands” (excellent talk, you can read it here). He seeks out those who are prepared, and puts us in the right place, at the right time. But we cannot be selfish and shy when we should be loving and bold. If we love what we’ve been given, we should share it. I know the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is what He has given us to support and sustain us in our lives. I know it is true, and it has blessed, now blesses, and will always bless me and anyone and everyone who comes to accept it. It’s not just for me and my lifestyle; it’s for everyone in all circumstances. I implore anyone and everyone to learn about it, live it, and share it. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

*Time of writing was July 22nd, 2010.