A few weeks ago, a young college student named H. Evers showed up at church in Nancy. He was previously a student in Annecy and had met a member of the Church there. Before he moved away, this sister gave him a Book of Mormon with her testimony and the address of the chapel in Nancy. When H. met Elder VanDenBerghe and Elder Glade in Nancy, he explained that although he didn’t believe in God, he had noticed something different about his friend who had given him the book. From then on, H. began to read the Book of Mormon and take the missionary lessons.
In our recent zone conferences, missionaries were encouraged to follow Ammon’s example to “win the hearts” of their companions, friends, and members of the Church. They were also asked to include these stories in their weekly letters. Here is an excerpt from Elder VanDenBerghe’s letter from October 7th, which both he and H. have given permission for me to share:
“I've also been thinking a lot about Sister Hansen's and your invitation to win hearts. As I was thinking about the ways God wins hearts, I thought of an experience that happened this week during General Conference when we watched it with H.. He admitted to us a few minutes before conference started on Sunday evening that he was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the mountain of change that lies in front of him with his conversion. As the prayer was said to open the session, I felt the Spirit prompt me to promise H. that he would find an answer to his worries during that particular meeting. I told him this fully confident that he would receive his answer. Well, Elder Godoy's talk about angels on earth and their help in his own conversion touched H. profoundly. It was as if the talk had been written for him. As the talk ended, H. turned to us and gave us a group bro-hug. It was a special moment, realizing that this man considered us his angels. H.'s heart was 'won' in that moment as he realized his prayer was answered and that God knew what he was going through. So how do we win hearts out here? Well, we don't--only God can through the Holy Ghost. All of our friends are looking for answers and signs about whether our message is true. It's our duty as missionaries to help those who are searching to recognize the answers to their questions, because they are always there for honest seekers. We win their hearts by helping them to recognize the real heart changer: Jesus Christ.”
I am happy to report that shortly thereafter H. entered the waters of baptism. Sister Hansen and I were able to attend via Zoom. It was a wonderful experience for all of us. After Elder Glade performed the ordinance, H. gave him a warm embrace right there in the baptismal font. Later, during his testimony, H. expressed the joy he felt in becoming a member of the Lord’s Church. He referenced Elder Godoy’s General Conference address and mentioned how the missionaries had been “the angels that the Lord had sent to help him.”
Editor's Note: When Elder Carlos A. Godoy learned of H.'s conversion story, he responded, 'Wow!!! What a touching experience! I had tears in my eyes as I read the email. I am really grateful to know my message has helped H. in some way. Thank you very much for sharing it with me. I will keep it as part of my ministry treasures.'
President and Sister Hansen
France Paris Mission