I thought it was just a broken brake, but it was really the beginning of a journey of much happiness.

In October 1980 I was riding my bicycle when I suddenly realized my foot brake was not working. I panicked, not knowing when or how I would be able to stop. When my wild ride ended and I finally coasted safely to a stop, I ended up next to Rodico Flores, a good friend and high school classmate. I explained what had happened, and then we chatted for a little while. During our conversation, he asked if I had time to come to his church. Since I knew he was a good person and I admired the other Latter-day Saints I knew, I decided to go the next Sunday.

On Sunday I noticed that the building his church met in was clean and beautiful. I felt something different there. I was met by a person who shook my hand and even put his arm around me, telling me he was happy to see me. I felt good, even though I was a bit shy and nervous. This brother took me to a class for investigators.

After the lesson two young women introduced themselves as full-time missionaries. They asked if they could visit me at my home. I quickly told them I was busy and started giving them excuses. But they still asked me to tell them when I was available, and I responded that I was available early Monday morning. I said they could come but only if they wanted to come at 4:00 A.M.

To my surprise, they looked at each other and said, “Brother Solomon, we will be there.” Then I insisted that it was hard to reach my family’s house, that it was located in the middle of a fishpond, that we had a lot of dogs. I told them they would have a hard time getting there. But they said again, “Brother Solomon, we will be there.” After I left, I forgot all about our appointment because I didn’t believe they would be coming.

Early Monday morning I was surprised to hear the dogs barking and a voice calling, “Brother Solomon! Brother Solomon!” I looked out the window, and I started to feel differently about the missionaries. I felt a confirmation that they were true servants of God. I invited them in and listened to their message. After a while I told them to come every day with a lesson, which they did. They taught me until I was prepared for baptism.

Just after my baptism on 31 October 1980, a friend invited me to a ward party. I said to myself, This Church is nice; they even throw a party for me. I later realized I wasn’t really the guest of honor. But at the party my friend introduced me to a young woman and told her to take good care of me. Annie Ortiz was indeed a good fellowshipper. At this time, she is still taking good care of me. We were married in 1985 and sealed in the Manila Philippines Temple.

Since my baptism, I have grown in the gospel as I have been given opportunities to serve. In 1983 I was called to serve full time in the Philippines Davao Mission, and four months after my marriage I was called as a bishop. I also served as a stake president and in a mission presidency. My wife and I are happily married and have two children, Ezra and Brigham, and we are looking forward to a lifetime of service.

I am grateful for the happiness I have found in the Church, for the dedicated missionaries who persevered, and for the broken bicycle brake that actually helped send me on my way.

Illustration by Sam Lawlor

Ravenal P. Solomon is a member of the Dagupan First Ward, Dagupan Philippines Stake.