Last Sunday we had a bishop's youth fireside that was just fantastic. (Our internet went out and so I couldn't post about it then.)
The bishop invited a couple from our ward to come and speak to us – he specifically told them not to prepare anything, just to come and share an experience their family had recently.
The woman started by saying that years ago, she read a quote from (I think) Joseph F. Smith. Of course now I can't find it, but it was something like: A man who has not embarked on a serious study of the Book of Mormon is unfit for our Heavenly Father's kingdom. She was struck by this, and put it up on their fridge.
A couple of days later, she saw her 15-year-old son reading the quote while eating a snack. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, she noticed him reading the Book of Mormon. He read the whole thing, prayed about it, and received a witness of its truthfulness.
He later went on to serve a mission. After his mission, he was very interested in finding a young woman to marry. He dated for years, but he just never felt right about any of the women he dated. Finally, he was preparing to leave for medical school and was really feeling distressed. He decided he would go on a date every day (for several months) so that he would feel as though he had done everything he could. Ultimately, he left for med. school, unmarried and without any prospects.
In his program, study guides were distributed each Friday afternoon and tests were on Monday morning on the material received. Study groups would get together and work all weekend to prepare for the test. He told his group that he would work with them on Friday and Saturday, but that he would not be studying on Sunday. (His mother was so proud that he would make this decision when he was in a new place where he didn't know a soul and no one would know what he was doing.)
A girl in his group pointed at him and said, "I knew you were a church boy!"
In later conversations, he learned that she had longed for religion all her life. She dreamed of having a family that would pray and read scripture together. But, never having found that, she had started to give up on that dream and thought it would never happen for her. As she got to know this valiant young man, she learned that his family did indeed do those things, and a spark of hope was lighted within her.
He told her that although he really liked her, he would not date her because he was determined to be married in the temple, but they became great friends. Over the course of several months, his whole family developed relationships with the girl through email and Skype. She was baptized a couple of weeks ago, and his whole family flew out to attend the baptism.
Only time will tell if the two will get married. When his mother asked him about it, he said, "Well, I've waited 9 years, I don't see why I couldn't wait 1 more!"
I was so moved by this story. There are so many things I love about it:
I love that a mother has so much power to influence. I want to be a mother like that.
I love that that young man took the initiative to read the Book of Mormon on his own and gain his own testimony. I want to have sons like that.
I love that he did all he could to pursue his dream.
I love that he was truly a missionary just by living his life with integrity and doing what he knew was right.
I love that his family was all willing to get involved and befriend his friend.
The bishopric spoke about preparing to serve a mission and living by example. I only have 3 years until Max will be a missionary and I feel like I have so very much to do to help him prepare. This fireside gave me the motivation to get started!