The role of LDS women in missionary work is crucial to preparing the earth for the second coming. In 1979 President Spencer W. Kimball prophesied:
“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world…will be drawn to the church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the church are seen as distinct and different-in happy ways-from the women of the world.
Thus it will be that female exemplars of the church will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.”
One particular experience in my life stands out as a fulfillment of President Kimball’s words. My Junior year in high school, I became best friends with a young woman who would later join the church. It came as a bit of a surprise when she told me about her decision to be baptized as we hadn’t seen each other in a while. I had gone off to college, and she had moved thousands of miles away to join the Army.
Talking with my friend in the years since her baptism has revealed pivotal moments in our friendship that demonstrate how the example, spirituality and love of LDS women of faith attracts other spiritually minded women to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Such moments often occurred late at night, when Kelly slept over at my house. As girls do, we talked for hours and hours about anything and everything. Looking back my friend said “you were bearing your testimony to me weren’t you?” Yes I was. While our conversations rarely included the direct teaching of church doctrine, I often used our intimate discussions to share the truths I had learned that helped answer so many of life perplexities and bring peace during times of turmoil.
I did this, in part, because I was on fire from feasting on the word of God daily (2 Nephi:31:20) through early morning Seminary and personal scripture study. I felt confident in my understanding of the gospel and church doctrine. I also had developed a powerful testimony of the love of God ever since first reading the Book of Mormon at the age of 13. I had “felt to sing the song of redeeming love” (Alma 5:26), and I simply had the desire to share that with my friend.
I knew God loved me. That had made all the difference in my life, and I wanted her to know it too.
Another moment came when Kelly and I had gone to a local coffee shop for drinks. I ordered a cream soda which was prepared by an acquaintance we both knew from school. As we sat down to talk and enjoy our drinks, I noticed mine tasted funny, possibly of alcohol. Since I really didn’t know what alcohol tasted like I asked Kelly if she thought it was spiked by our barista as a joke. She took a sip and agreed it tasted like alcohol. Kelly told me not to worry about it, even if it was spiked, nobody would know or care. I told her it was okay and that I didn’t really need a soda right then anyway. We sat and talked as my friend finished her drink. Years later, Kelly told me how that simple little act impressed her. She realized my faith ran much deeper than going to church on Sunday.
Finally, the moment that changed the course of my dear friend’s life is when she became pregnant at 19. She was afraid to tell me. As she called she worried about how I would judge her and that it might even affect our friendship. After Kelly explained her circumstances and what led up to them, I was a bit shocked. I prayed in my heart for guidance to know what to say to my friend. I had no rebuke for her. I don’t remember what I said, actually. I just remember that I wanted to show her compassion. I wanted to guide her to find the help and direction she needed in going forward. I loved her. Kelly was both relieved and grateful for my response.
Lehi’s dream shows us that the whole purpose of living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is love. Firstly, we need to experience that love for ourselves. Then we have the desire to share it. We do this in a million different ways, many of which we may not even be aware were missionary moments, like my experience with my best friend. “Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14-16). This love and light can be powerful enough to change a life and even to change the world “as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth” (D&C 65:2). Women whose lives sincerely reflect their testimonies, fulfill the words of President Kimball each day.