Serving my last transfer on the campus of George Mason University was a missionary adventure a world apart from all the former areas where I had served. Most of our success came from setting up posters and a table display in a common area located in the middle of campus. The area is referred to as the “Freedom of Speech Circle” where different groups are free to share diverse opinions. We always found someone to talk to on this busy campus in Virginia.
On our very first day after the table display was set up, we met Rachael. She came up to our table and said “Hi Elders!” I assumed that she was a member attending one of the wards in the area since every member on campus seemed to go out of their way to be friendly and say hello to us. When I asked Rachael which ward she was in, I was shocked when she responded “None, I’m not a member.” “But you’re wearing a CTR ring,” I pointed out. She explained that her best friend was a member and then she went off to attend her next class. I then realized that I had forgotten to obtain a phone number or any contact information. I felt horrible. I even asked my missionary roommates that night to pray for her so that I could have a second chance to meet her again on our large campus of 30,000 students.
The next day as I was working the table and speaking with students I turned around just in time to see Elder Carter speaking with Rachael. This time I didn’t hesitate to get her full name and contact information. We learned that she not only had a CTR ring, but she also owned her own triple combination that she actually read from regularly. She even had her favorite Book of Mormon scriptures marked but she had never received a single missionary lesson.
As we taught Rachel the missionary lessons, she just soaked it all in, with no real concerns. We then invited her to meet with us at the Temple Visitors Center in DC. There I shared with her my personal experience of when I had decided to be baptized. My father, who was openly opposed to the church, discovered that I had decided to be baptized and called me right as I was at the stake center in my white jumpsuit getting ready to enter into the water. He expressed deep disappointment in my choice. I went into a side room at the church with one of my priesthood leaders to offer a prayer seeking divine direction. I was unsure if I would have a place to stay if I proceeded with my baptism, so I prayed and asked God if I should continue and get baptized. After a few minutes, I was comforted in my decision by a powerful feeling and a voice which said simply, “It will be okay.” After sharing this personal experience with Rachel, I asked her to do the same thing. She agreed to make it a matter of personal prayer.
I am so grateful that we were able to find someone so prepared to receive the gospel in the middle of a busy college campus we had just recently opened to missionary work.