It all started one summer night when I was talking with my best friend, Terry.

Terry was a little older, so he would be going on his mission sooner than I would. He was talking about his mission, when I suddenly realized: “Hey, that’s going to be my situation real quick.”

I had always been active in the Church, and I had always been very obedient. But still the thought hit me like a thunderbolt: “You think you’re so good, but how strong is your testimony?”

What was I going to do? I realized I needed to read the Book of Mormon. But I felt I needed a quiet place, and I was the oldest of six children. Things got pretty noisy in our small house and small yard. There was no secluded grove in our neighborhood. My first consideration was to find a spot where I could get away by myself.

A few years before, my dad had bought a used limousine because we had a big family and it had an extra row of seats. The car had not been working for a while and was parked in back of our house under our old basketball hoop. Inside that car was the only place I could think of to go where I could have some quiet and solitude while I read the Book of Mormon uninterrupted.

I don’t remember exactly what part I was reading when a good feeling came over me. I was overcome with emotion, with tears running down my cheeks. This was unusual for me. I couldn’t imagine crying over something I read in a book. I felt an overwhelming peace and reassurance, knowing that I was receiving communication from Heavenly Father. I had no doubts. I knew that the Book of Mormon was the word of God. And I knew I was ready to go on my mission.

[photo] Photograph by Craig Dimond