Elders in My English Class

The missionaries not only helped us with our English, they also helped me answer all the questions my friends had about the Church.

I was nervous and insecure as I walked to my new classroom with 30 other girls who did not know each other. I would be attending school with them in a Catholic private school for the next five years. First thing, our teacher asked if everybody had been christened in the Catholic Church. As I was the only one to say no, everybody’s eyes were directed at me.

That was my first day in a new school in Salzburg, Austria, a school managed by nuns. I quickly became used to the crucifixes hanging in each classroom, the morning devotionals, and the nuns. However, it was unusual for my schoolmates to have a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with them. They were curious to learn what I believed. I was not able to answer all their questions precisely. I wondered how I could receive permission to invite the missionaries.

This opportunity finally presented itself. We did not have a native speaker in our English class one year. I asked my classmates if it was a good idea to invite the missionaries. Then I asked the missionaries if they were allowed to come to schools. And finally I asked my English professor if they could come. I passed out a list on which everyone wrote what she would like the missionaries to talk about. I was amazed to see that the majority wanted to know why they had decided to go on missions, what kind of work they were doing, and how our Church differed from other churches.

Elder Allen and Elder Jones came to class and took most of the class period talking about the Church. It was awesome! After they left, I was bombarded with even more questions.

Later that year, two of my Latter-day Saint friends began attending the school. We introduced the song “A Child’s Prayer” (Children’s Songbook, 12–13) to our schoolmates, and now the song is part of the music teacher’s repertoire.

It was not as difficult as I expected to talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for His Son, Jesus Christ, and for His wonderful gospel. I am also grateful for every opportunity to share my testimony by the Holy Spirit.

[photo] Photograph by Welden C. Andersen

Anette Malzl Knapp is a member of the Graz Ward, Vienna Austria Stake.