Tennis on My Mission

Missionaries share the Gospel thanks to playing tennis with Young Men during quarantine.

I remember when I first got my mission call how excited I was to be coming to the Adriatic North Mission (ANM). I was even more excited to find out that our mission home has a clay tennis court in the backyard. I grew up playing tennis and have loved it my whole life. Once I got to the mission, I played on some P-days while I was in Zagreb, but I never expected that I would be able to use tennis to really further the work here. That changed with COVID-19.

When the Coronavirus started to spread quickly, most places of business were forced to close. This included sporting facilities. It suddenly became impossible for local athletes to train and compete as normal. Some people went on Google Maps when they learned there would be no way for them to train in the immediate future. They found out via satellite views that some homes in Zagreb happened to have their own tennis courts. Within the first several days of quarantine, two separate top Croatian junior tennis players and their parents knocked on the door of the mission home asking if they could use the private court to continue their training. One boy, N., and his mom live in the neighborhood, so they already knew of the mission home tennis court. A girl, Nora, and her dad carefully searched Zagreb on Google Earth looking for backyard tennis courts until they found ours. These two young players and their tennis playing friends are all highly-ranked nationally in both Croatia and Europe. Of course, our mission president and his wife befriended them. They were welcome to use the court during the week to train.

Elder Zac Meyer playing tennis
Elder Zac Meyer playing tennis

My companion and I initially lived in a small city about 3 hours away from Zagreb. However, we were soon relocated in an effort to consolidate young ANM missionaries into a few centers of strength and safety. Thankfully, our mission president had us move to Zagreb just days before all intercity roads were closed for the duration of the quarantine.

We have gotten to know the junior tennis players well on our P-Days and during our exercise time to train with them. We have built wonderful relationships with the youth and their parents. As a result, we have been able to give each of them copies of the Book of Mormon and had countless religious discussions, which have opened them up to the gospel and normalized their view of members of our Church. Along with that, we have given each of them a book about the life of Kresimir Cosic. It includes his conversion story as well as highlights from his basketball career. Brother Cosic was an international basketball star, who joined the Church at BYU and then brought the gospel to Croatia in the 1970’s. He even worked on the first Croatian  translation of the Book of Mormon.

It is amazing how the Lord cares for His children--even to bring people together during a time we all originally thought would isolate us. His hand is surely in the work and it is up to us to find it.

Elder Zac Meyer
Adriatic North Mission