Dear President Albright,
Working in Australia was tough. When I served there as a young missionary, we had about a .5 percent chance of a baptism during our entire mission. Needless to say, we often tracted 12 hours a day and rejection was constant. Our mission president was Loren C. Dunn.
One day we prayed as a companionship as to where to tract for the day. Both of us felt strongly that we were to go to an area that was the farthest from our flat and had recently been tracted out. Even though it made no sense to go there, we loaded up with extra copies of the Book of Mormon and got on our bikes. It took us almost an hour to pedal to the area. We tracted all day and into the late afternoon with no success; not even a full door approach and no placements of a single book. We decided to hang our heads and return to our flat for our 30 minute tea (dinner in Australia) because we had an evening appointment. As we were riding back wondering why we had felt impressed to an area with zero success and much effort to get there, a lady came running down the street yelling at us, "Boys it is true...It is true!" She introduced herself to us as Mrs. Lapic. Her story is fascinating.
Several days earlier, Mrs. Lapic had been at a friend’s house helping her prepare to move. Her friend was going to throw a Book of Mormon out in the trash. Mrs. Lapic was from Yugoslavia before the Iron Curtain fell. The communist leadership controlled what books they could or could not have so books were very precious to her. One didn't just throw books out in the trash. Mrs. Lapic did not speak English very well and could not read English at all, so she asked her friend if she could keep the book saying she could use it to practice reading English. Her friend readily gave her the book for free.
One night after she put her son to bed and her husband was asleep, she picked up the book to practice to try and read in English. She started to read and was amazed that she could read and understand the contents of the book. She read the promise at the front of the Book of Mormon which told her to read it and pray and God would tell her if it was true. Sister Lapic read all night, amazed by what she was reading and the miracle that she could read and understand English perfectly. She was Russian Orthodox and was a firm believer in Christ. At about 4 in the morning she remembered the promise contained in the introduction and prayed asking about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. She heard three times, "It is true." The next day she asked her friend where she got the book. Her friend explained that the boys who ride around on bikes in suits sold it to her. Sister Lapic said she then went home and prayed, asking God how to find “the boys in suits on bikes."
The next afternoon, she was in her front yard when she saw my companion and I pedaling home after our long day (not knowing why we had both been prompted to go and tract for 9 hours without any success). We already had an appointment for that evening so we made an appointment with the Lapics to return and teach the family. Needless to say, the entire family was soon baptized. Because we could not get a Book of Mormon in Yugoslav or Russian, Sister Lapic would read to her family and translate for them. She was so excited that she wanted us to teach her whole congregation of Russian Orthodox friends. The preacher was not as excited and after a meeting with him, we were not allowed to teach the congregation. Even after we were transferred from the area, the Lapics continued to have friends over to have the missionaries teach them.
Had we became discouraged and gone home early for the day, we would have missed Sister Lapic. Had we not followed the spirit to that area that made no sense to work in, we would have missed Sister Lapic. Had the original elders who left the Book of Mormon not been out tracting and been persistent, they would not have placed the Book of Mormon with someone who showed no obvious interest. Had they not left that book, it would not have been available for Sister Lapic to pick up and the Lord could not have worked His miracles in converting this special family (and who knows how many others).
Too many great prophets have died in bringing the Book of Mormon to print for us to be a judge of who gets one and who doesn't. The book has a special spirit and is a second testimony and witness that Jesus is the Christ. I believe it is a key to missionary work.
Brother Don Cahoon,
Belmont Ridge Ward, Ashburn