Thursday, April 1, 2010


I first met Catharina at a food court near her college . . . and not as a contact. My companions, Sister Waew and Sister Weldon, had already taught her one or two lessons. She was dating a member, a recent convert whose work took him out of town for months at a time.

Sister Waew asked me what my impressions of Catharina were as we left. She told me Catharina's baptismal date was coming up in about two weeks and she wondered if I thought Catharina was ready. I didn't know how to tell my trainer "no" politely. Sister Waew listened to my concerns (that Sister Weldon also shared) and just smiled. "Wait until we get to teach her a lesson at Sister Florence's house. Then you'll see." Sister Florence was the mother of Catharina's boyfriend, David.

Sister Florence is a rock.

(Waew, Caroline, David, Catharina, Florence, Weldon, myself)

I didn't meet David until the baptismal day, which Sister Weldon and I still thought was a little too soon (in Catharina's defense, she was very quite and reserved. Looking back I think she had a strong testimony all along, she just didn't speak much during our lessons, nor did she ask questions . . . so that made we two newbies -- Weldon had only been out four weeks longer than me -- nervous. Also, Catharina didn't want to invite her family to her baptism. I thought that was weird; she kept making excuses about how they lived too far away. I met her dad at her wedding . . . he's a big guy and I think she was worried about his reaction to her new lifestyle.)

Anyway, Waew's last week was approaching and she'd been working with this family since she got to the area, so we knew Catharina's baptism was her dream goodbye. We weren't about to come right out of the MTC and try to stop that. David got off work for the weekend and rode a bus for like 6 straight hours. Waew just kept telling us how much David had changed. She was adamant he baptize Catharina, because Waew wanted to see him one last time before she left. She had to make sure he still had the glow of the gospel and not the gloom of alcohol.

Well, I was impressed. David is a real stand up guy. Further proof that Florence is a rock.

David and Catharina were married about a month before I transferred out of Kuching. Their wedding was such a treat. Practically the whole branch was in attendance. I hadn't been a part of that branch for several months, so it was so wonderful to spend an evening with them.

While I was in Singapore a couple of Elders came through with the good news that they had finally taught Sister Florence's other two sons, their wives, and their kids (who lived on opposite sides of Malaysia). One Elder was convinced the family he taught was the most foreordained family he'd ever come across. I knew that was Sister Florence's deceased husband, making sure they'd all be ready for the temple by the time she'd saved up enough money.

On my plane ride out of Malaysia and back to Utah, I had a layover in Kuching. I was shocked to find David in the airport, waiting for a business flight. He was now working for President Ero (the well to do branch president). Catharina was pregnant, Sister Florence, Caroline (her only daughter), and David and Catharina had all gone to the temple. I believe David acted as proxy for his father. The two older sons hadn't been members long enough to join the trip, but he said his mom couldn't wait any longer to be sealed to her husband. He was sure they'd all make it back together someday.

I couldn't believe how far this family had come since I first met Catharina in a food court near her college. Sister Florence truly was one of the most amazing recent converts I'd ever known. Now, all her sons and their wives were members, and half her family was endowed. She was sealed to her husband for eternity. The gospel blessings are abundant for those who sacrifice with faith.


Scott and Claudia said...

Cool story. Do you still keep in contact with any of these people? It would be fun to know how they're progressing.
Love ya, Pa

Tiff + Albert said...

Ah, missionary jumpers :)

Scott and Claudia said...

Loved you post sis.

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