The teens in the Coquitlam Ward of the Vancouver British Columbia Stake got together and decided to answer this question asked in the New Era’s Question and Answer section:
“How do I get to know people who are not Church members, be a good example to them, and invite them to church when I can’t spend time with them because they hang out at places I shouldn’t go?”
The Coquitlam Ward has 18 young men and women attending 12 different schools. They wrote: “We feel like we have lots of experience associating with nonmembers and kids that do not have our standards.” They held a joint lesson and talked about the best ways to be a righteous example.
Don’t Be Ashamed
The best way we all agreed upon is not to be ashamed of our beliefs and to share our standards and beliefs every chance we get. When we arrive at school from seminary and our classmates ask why we are so happy and why we smile all the time, we take this opportunity to tell them about seminary and what we have learned that day.
One young woman shared an experience where she was supposed to perform in the final night of her drama production, but it conflicted with the stake youth conference trip to Seattle. So she used this opportunity to tell her friends all about the temple and plan of salvation.
Many of us said it was important to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, dancing, drama, orchestra, and service to have positive associations with friends.
A young woman told of her volunteer work, where a group of students spent an evening serving dinner to the homeless. This was a wonderful night of associations with teachers, classmates, and the less fortunate.
Invite Friends to Come with You
One teen, whose friends like to “party,” invited her friend to a joint Mutual activity. The friend said it was her best day ever, and she loved how everyone was so happy and so friendly.
Another young woman told of how she invited a group of friends from school over to her home and how her friends were so amazed that her family was so friendly, happy, and positive.
A young man said that while playing on his soccer and basketball teams, he had to tell his coaches that he would not be able to play on Sundays. This was hard to do as he felt a commitment to the team, but his coaches were very impressed with his commitment to his religion. Later, he invited his soccer team to visit the church meetinghouse. All the players and the parents were impressed with the beauty of the church and had lots of questions about the pictures inside.
Several of us said we carry the For the Strength of Youth mini-pamphlet to school with us and read it and share it with as many friends as we can.
Just Be Friends
They decided that the best way to be a good example is to be friendly. Look for ways to uplift, smile, help, and talk to those around you. Uphold your standards, and when questioned why don’t you drink iced tea or something, be confident and say you love and believe in the standards the Church has set. Dress modestly, speak with integrity, use good manners, be good listeners, and be honest, helpful, and kind. Always be inclusive and invite friends to as many righteous activities as you can. And most important of all, be the kind of friend that everyone wants to be with.
I first got to know my friend, whom I will call Sally, through running with her. I tried to find someone who had the same running speed as me and found Sally. We found that we had many similarities, which got us talking.
My friend was a Christian, but in some ways doubted God. Over time, Sally and I have become great friends, and through the respect I showed her and the friends we shared, she realized there was something different about me. I was able to share snippets of the gospel with her and explain a little about what we do in the Church. I was able to invite her to activities. Later on I was able to invite her to a Sunday meeting.
I talked to her about my spiritual experiences, invited her to our youth conference, and was able to give her advice on her problems. I suggested she pray—such a simple thing but a great answer to problems. She has taken my advice, and through prayer she has grown closer to Heavenly Father. She also was able to take some of the Bible stories we were taught and apply them into her life. She began to take religion a little more seriously.
I hope I was able to influence her a little to have a stronger connection to Heavenly Father.
Photograph courtesy of the Coquitlam Ward
Photograph by Matt Reier