A Young Missionary
Yanina Rastelli and Marianela Salgado live in Godoy Cruz, Argentina. They are both nine years old, and they have been friends for a long time. But they are even better friends now than they were a year and a half ago. Something very important happened in the spring of 1997.
Marianela had come to play with Yanina and her 11-year-old sister, Ornela. Marianela often comes to the Rastelli home, but on this day, when the three girls were talking in the kitchen, Marianela started asking some questions—about the Church, about the Book of Mormon, and about baptism. Marianela had known for a long time that Yanina and Ornela were members of the Church, but this was the first time she had ever asked them about it.
Yanina and her sister answered Marianela’s questions as best they could and were really surprised when she asked if she could have a Book of Mormon to read. “I got my Book of Mormon and offered to let her borrow it,” Yanina remembers. “I thought she would take it home to read later, but when Ornela and I went outside to play, Marianela didn’t want to come. She wanted to sit down and begin reading the book right then.”
For two weeks Marianela went to church with Yanina; then she told Yanina she wanted to be baptized. “I didn’t know what to say,” Yanina recalls, “so I asked my mother what I should do.” Yanina’s mother’s advice was that Marianela should talk to her mother. Yanina and Ornela went home with their friend and helped Marianela tell her mother about the Church. Marianela also told her mother that she wanted to be baptized.
Soon after this, the missionaries happened to visit Marianela’s home. They didn’t know anything about her or her wish to join the Church. When they were getting ready to leave after their visit, Marianela’s mother said, “You know, my daughter wants to be baptized in your church.” This was a very big surprise to the elders—they were happy to learn about Marianela, who already knew about the Church and was waiting to be baptized.
The missionaries began teaching the family about the Church, and eventually Marianela’s mother and her brother, Diego, age 10, both decided to be baptized, too. Marianela’s mother asked Yanina to bear her testimony at the baptism because Yanina had helped the Salgado family learn about the Church. “When I got up to bear my testimony, I started to cry,” Yanina remembers, “but I was very happy—I think everyone in the room could feel the Spirit there. I am so glad that Marianela, Diego, and their mother are now members of the Church!”