I can sincerely say that Jennifer and I had a blast together. We used to run down the church halls, laughing as hard as we could, our main goal to see who could make the most noise. Even when we were scolded, we couldn’t stop laughing.
The other people in the ward probably didn’t appreciate the friendship as much as we did. But it certainly helped me. When I was 12 years old, my mother told me she had decided not to go to church anymore, but I still could if I wanted to. I never did like getting up on Sunday mornings and listening to lessons, so I decided not to go anymore either.
When I told Jennifer of my mom’s decision, she offered to have her mom start swinging by my house to pick me up for church. I loved the fellowship and fun, and their family picked me up faithfully. I was sorely disappointed a few years later when they moved away.
By this time, I wanted to continue going to church on my own, but that was such a challenge! It was hard for me to sit alone at church. I felt like everyone was staring at me and feeling sorry for me because my family wasn’t with me. To ward off sympathy, I would sit with my head bowed, reading a book until the meeting started. I felt sorry for myself and thought the challenge wasn’t worth it. I decided that without a family, the Church was not going to be true for me.
It was another small miracle of friendship that brought me back. Wendolyn and I had been friends since childhood, but we’d slowly drifted apart. One afternoon, Wendolyn and her mother sat me down and told me about the importance of going to church. They offered to have me go and sit with their family. My main stumbling block was removed! I had people to sit with who cared!
Through the rest of my high school years, my friendship with Wendolyn deepened, and my testimony of the gospel along with it. Wendolyn’s mother even offered to help me pay for a mission if I ever decided to go. I was touched by their willingness to sacrifice for me and for the gospel.
I know it is sometimes hard to accept an outsider into your family, but these two families accepted me, and to them I owe my active participation in the Church today. I will be eternally grateful to these friends. What small miracles of friendship can do!