Wednesday night I had an amazing dream which requires a bit of background information. At Christmastime, one of my childhood babysitters died of cancer. I had been intending to send her a letter, telling her how much I appreciated her while I was growing up. I never did get that letter out to her and it had been tormenting me for a while that I hadn’t let her know how I felt before she had died. The night of my dream, I felt something telling me to just lay my head down and go to sleep. I did as provoked. I dreamt that I was able to see that babysitter, both of us knowing that she was gone, and let her know how much I admired her. I was able to tell her goodbye.
I woke up feeling completely at peace and knowing that Heavenly Father had heard my prayers. I felt very connected to Heavenly Father and was able to meditate about my feelings as I flew out to
I felt that I didn’t need to worry about
anything because I was in God’s hands and doing what I was supposed to do. I had hoped that I would be able to find a
Book of Mormon sometime soon.
Interestingly enough, the had me
staying at one of the local Marriott hotels so I got a Book of Mormon sooner
that I had ever expected. (It wasn’t
until later that I learned that they are only found in Marriotts.) I dove in and started reading it from the
beginning. However, since I was there
for an interview, I wasn’t able to read much.
When it came time to pack up and get ready to head back to Chicago, I
debated for quite a while about whether to take the book with me. After all, it had been placed there with the
intent of it touching someone’s heart and them reading it. In the end, I decided I should be able to get
my hands on one some other way so I left it there. University
I got back to
and started doing some more intensive web-searching. On the www.mormon.org
website I found a link for “Get a Free Book of Mormon”. I filled it out and didn’t even think about
how it would show up. I guess I just
thought it would be mailed or something.
A few weeks later, I got home from my night class and was very excited
to see that there was a note on my door.
I didn’t care who it was from – I was just glad for the acknowledgement
of my existence…like seeing a note on your locker in high school. The note was in perfect ‘boy-handwriting’ and
stated that they had stopped by to drop off a Book of Mormon and left a phone
number. It was signed Elder Nordberg and
Elder Steoger. I called them up that
night and talked with Elder Steoger. I
wouldn’t be able to meet with them until the next week but decided to check out
church that upcoming Sunday. They gave
me directions on how to get there which consisted of a few bus and train rides,
taking about an hour in total to get up to Logan Square.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am compulsively early, especially when I am dependent upon others and am not driving myself. I ended up getting to the church about 45 minutes early. I was quite confused when I got there because everyone was speaking Spanish. I took three years of the language between high school and college and even studied for a few weeks in
Mexico but I retained absolutely
nothing. (Maybe it was a bit of
foreshadowing for my Spanish-speaking mission a few years later.) A pair of sister missionaries must have seen
my scared face and they rescued me from my puzzlement. They explained that there was an English
speaking ward meeting a bit later and that the Spanish one had just finished. We couldn’t find Elder Steoger but I was
introduced to Elder Morrill and Elder Weston who gave me my first Book of
Mormon. I chatted with them until it was
time for Sacrament Meeting. Elder
Steoger still wasn’t there so Elders Morrill and Weston invited me to sit with
them. Elder Steoger came in just as the
service was starting and was able to get a handshake in before finding his own
seat. Throughout the service, Elder
Weston was very concerned about whether I had any questions and if anything
made me feel uncomfortable, etc. I was
just trying to be a ‘sponge’ and absorb everything. Oddly enough, everything felt right.
I was able to go to the other church meetings and was befriended by Sister Carmen, a member of the ward. She was very loving and very interested in my life. I was also introduced to the missionary couple that would be coming to my apartment with Elder Steoger and Elder Nordberg – the Jespersons. I absolutely loved the Sunday school class. I thought it was such a great thing – to discuss, analyze and study the scriptures and beliefs. I left church that day, excited for my upcoming meeting with the missionaries. I had three pages of questions for them that I had generated through my reading of the Latter Days book and through my discussions with Lars.
I remember the day I was to meet with them. I was very nervous. I didn’t know if I should be dressed up and I had no idea how we would fit all of us into my little studio that was about 8’ x 13’. Well, we made it work. The first discussion was pretty easy to understand so we had time to address some of my numerous questions. We set the next meeting up for Sunday after church. The Jesperson's weren’t able to come so another member,
Ravi, came with to the
little room at the church. When they
asked if I wanted to be baptized, I was a bit hesitant. I believed everything I had been taught to be
true but was concerned about whether I would be denying everything I had been
brought up with. Also, I was distraught
about what my family and friends would say.