I became friends with Kerstin when I was 14 years old. We went to the same school. I had known who she was for a long time, but I had not known her personally before because she was 12.
We got to know each other better when we both tried out for the school play. We soon became good friends, even though there was a two-year age difference. It wasn’t long before we met together in the afternoons to go on walks and talk. One spring afternoon, on one of our walks, she asked something that would change her life for forever.
Kerstin wondered why my brother and I didn’t participate in the school’s religion class like most of the students in Austria. I told her about the gospel of Jesus Christ and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then I bore my testimony and invited her to come to a youth activity. Later I gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and the Liahona.
Since then Kerstin has participated in every Church activity and attends Church meetings every Sunday. She has even attended youth conference. Whenever we can, we walk to a little river that is close by to read our scriptures and work on Young Women Personal Progress.
Unfortunately, Kerstin cannot be baptized until she is 18. Her parents don’t want to cause any arguments with her extended family members. Despite this obstacle, Kerstin has already managed to get her mother to attend church.
Kerstin also works with the missionaries. She speaks about the Church with everyone she meets and has helped get her father excited about the family history program, even though he has no interest in religion.
Kerstin is an example to me of how easy it is to speak with others about the gospel and how our Father in Heaven prepares people to hear His word. We need only open our mouths and have faith. The rest will take care of itself.
Illustration by Amy Thompson