One of the most exciting experiences of my life was the first time I shared my testimony with a friend. Jan (pronounced like yawn) was an exchange student from Germany. Jan wasn’t a religious person and told me that he didn’t believe in God or any supreme being. He said he believed that after this life, there was nothing; death was the end.
I, of course, had a much different view of life. During our many conversations about religion, Jan was receptive and interested in my ideas. But Jan was adamant. He didn’t believe in God. His convictions were just as firm as mine.
I gave him a Book of Mormon with my testimony written inside. He started to read 1 Nephi, but after two weeks he said he lost interest.
My excitement turned to disappointment and concern that I had done something wrong. I talked to my seminary teacher about it. He told me that I was taking the first step in the process of bringing Jan home, and sometimes the person who introduces someone to the gospel isn’t the person who sees them accept it. He assured me that I hadn’t done anything wrong; Jan just wasn’t ready yet.
This experience taught me a lot. I am beginning to understand why bringing even one soul to Christ (see D&C 18:15) is so important. Heavenly Father loves all His children and He wants us to return to Him.
What I had initially thought of as a failure actually turned out to be one of the greatest blessings of my life. Sharing the gospel with Jan made me realize how much the gospel is worth to me. Knowledge of the gospel plan is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Sometimes I wonder if I could have said or done something that would have brought Jan into the Church. I pray for him, that someone can touch his heart in a way that will help him know that the gospel is true. But no matter what Jan does, he has touched my heart in a way that I will always remember.