Over a year ago, while I was living in Jordan with the BYU Study Abroad Arabic program, I, along with several other students, befriended a Christian refugee from Iraq named R. He was always hanging out with us. At one point, he even invited us to be guests at his parents' home to have dinner with him. Because of certain safety measures, the students in Jordan were prohibited from sharing the Gospel with any natives of the region regardless of their religion. R. knew that many of us had already or were about to serve missions for the Church, yet unfortunately due to the circumstances at the time, his knowledge of the Restoration of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon remained limited.
Flash-forward to a couple weeks ago when a missionary in Sweden, who I knew from the MTC, invited me to share my testimony through a simple Facebook post. Much obliged, I made a quick post in Arabic and R. was the first to leave a comment! As soon as I had liked his comment, he immediately video-called me through Facebook messenger. He asked me how I was doing, what I was doing, and how the situation is here in the Netherlands. He told me that since we had last seen each other, he had established residency in Sydney, Australia. He gave me a tour of his flat and showed me all his pictures of Jesus and the wooden crosses his neighbor had carved for him. I asked him whether in all his time hanging out with us, if any of the other students in Jordan had ever told him about The Book of Mormon. After I explained everything to him, he asked me immediately how he could get a copy. Amazingly enough, I knew somebody down in Sydney who could help with the referral: Elder Runia, a missionary from our mission who had been temporarily released due to the Corona virus. He had been sent to live with his parents in Sydney, because his father is the mission president there!
What's been so cool for me is to see how everything has come full circle. For example, the first students who met R., my post in Arabic on Facebook, and Elder Runia being in the right place and time to get the book to him. Thanks to all these circumstances, my friend will now get a chance to learn about the Restoration of the Gospel, whereas when we first became friends he didn't have that chance. I know there's a reason we are still out here - there is still a work to do and it is not yet done! You never know the difference you can make from inside your apartment, despite being over thousands of miles apart.
Belgium / Netherlands Mission