“Growing up, my father was pretty abusive, so life was really hard. He was in and out of the picture a lot. I think I was angry at God because my childhood was so hard.
When I was 12 things got really bad. Mom finally got the courage to leave. She packed one duffle bag for all of us and we headed back to our hometown. She had no job, no place to live; so we slept on the floor of my aunt's living room for a couple of weeks.
One day we were walking home from the grocery store and the missionaries were on the other side of the street. They walked over to us, so I started walking faster. Mom stopped and talked to them and they gave her a pass along card. I still remember, it was the one with Christ dressed in a white robe.
A week later I was watching TV and mom walks in and asks, "Would you like to try out a church with me?"
I said, "definitely not."
She bribed me so I agreed to go with her. And literally the minute I stepped through those doors, even at 12 years old, I started crying and I knew this is what I was looking for. It was fast and testimony Sunday and I was crying and crying! We were baptized a month later.
After two years Mom and my sister stopped going to Church for their own reasons. In my senior year of High School I stopped going. I didn't know how to belong at church.
I later had a moment sitting outside on a swing. Sitting there I realized that the church was the only thing that ever made me truly happy… and then the missionaries pulled up. They lived next door to us and they started helping me read my scriptures again.
Later on I left on my mission to Oregon. I met Summer. She was the first girl I helped prepare for baptism. She had many similar experiences that I had growing up. She was even baptized on the same weekend in August, almost 10 years later, and at the same age as me. I realized God is in the details of our lives and he never leaves us. And that is what the world needs to know." (New York)