By Natalie Peterson
There are people who come in our lives and forever change us, that is what happened to me. It was January 2005. I was a student at the University of Nebraska pursuing and double major in Communication Studies and Art History.
I was a member of the Methodist church, but my sorority habits kept me from waking up on Sunday mornings to go. I had tried several churches that might spark me back into activity but none really filled satisfaction that I needed.
I was to study abroad in London, and before I went I knew my life was going to change. I had met a wonderful boy a few weeks before my semester away, he was LDS. I knew nothing about the Church, he told me about his life in Salt Lake and the way he hoped his life would be, he was working towards the temple.
I expected to go to London and never see him again but he had other ideas. With my permission, he sent the missionaries to see me. I was in London for 30 days before they did! They were two beautiful sisters, who trekked through the bitter rain to find me. I instantly loved them.
I learned about Adam and Eve and agency. Being an Art History student I knew most biblical stories but I had never heard the story of Garden of Eden told in such a magnificent real way, instead of it being a folklore I could see it as history a real fact.
The sisters taught me how to pray, something I had not felt comfortable doing for a very long time. The first time I got on my knees and spoke to our Heavenly Father I was afraid, but I felt something I had never felt before, that he could hear me and he knew me!
I knew reading the Book of Mormon was what Heavenly Father wanted for me, I knew it by the great way I felt and the way I recalled the stories after. My main struggle with wanting to be baptized was wondering what my friends back in the US would say about me, and the risk that I might lose my friends.
A member had given me a whole bunch of Ensigns from the 80’s to read, and one of them was on the pioneers. I read about what the people gave up for what they believed, businesses, comfortable living, family, friends, and so much more.
The stories touched my heart and humbled me, I could not even be baptized because of what people might think, but so many people had given up everything.
Many things happened and I realized just knowing about the Church was not going to change me, I needed to have the Holy Ghost with me. I was baptized May 8 in the Kingston Ward in Surrey UK.
It was so wonderful, first unfamiliar; to no longer a need to carry guilt and baggage with me; to clean and pure. My best friend I was introduced to in London was also baptized, two weeks after me. The boy became a great friend, and he continues to progress.
I have now just turned in my papers to serve a mission. What a great blessing the knowledge of the gospel is. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, and Christ lives!
I am learning how to live by the Spirit now and I can’t believe how I ever got on without it. It was worth the sacrifice, though not all my friends understand the church, nothing will ever stop me from loving and being a part of Jesus Christ’s restored Church!