(For the record, I frequently use this bit of advice on many fronts in my decision making process. Again, I am grateful for such an inspired friend.)
Since Lars had recently made the choice to be baptized while wondering how family and friends would respond, I decided to write him a letter voicing my concerns. Following is an excerpt of how he responded.
If I were to tell you to go one specific direction or another in terms of your faith, I would be a little out of my element. However, you’ve certainly entered God’s jurisdiction. Anne, all I can tell you is that it appears as though your heart is in the right place, and when your heart is in the right place, God will lead you down the right path if you ask it of him through prayer.
I have a testimony that the decisions we often make, or the decisions we often feel are the right ones are usually the most difficult, or seem the least likely for us to prevail through. But what you must remember is that God made a promise not to lead his children astray if they give their lives fully to him through trust in, and love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you can testify that you are doing your best to show God you love Him, then He will make the decisions for you. In other words, it’s not so much which decision you make that matters, it’s making a decision at all. You will make a decision and I promise you that it will be what God wants you to do. It will be part of his plan as long as you ask for his guidance.
Furthermore, if it’s answers you’re looking for, God will reveal them to you in the most spectacular ways…
I too now find myself at ends with what I might do, or where I might go next…All-in-all, I try not to look too far ahead these days. I work on being the best person I can be in God’s eyes day by day, and just leave the rest up to God who holds my future in his hands. I take care of myself by day, pray by morning and night, and God gives me the next day’s treasures.
So worry not my friend, let God do the worrying for you. Take care of yourself first, and the rest will be given to you (life’s great rewards) when you least expect it.
His words helped me to realize that I needed to follow my heart and deal with everything else later. At that point, I made the decision to let my heart lead the way and get baptized. I just had to figure where and when. This was going to be a bit complicated because I was moving within a matter of weeks and had to decide if I wanted to get baptized in Chicago or Minnesota. Well, I was thinking it would be cool, no matter where I got baptized, if Lars could be the one to do it. I asked the missionaries if that would be okay, and they were pretty excited about the idea. This only added more confusion to the when and where because Lars was still in Utah and would potentially be driving back to Minnesota about the same time I was moving.
First off, I had to ask Lars. I gave him a call one night and asked him what he was up to. He said he had been fasting and praying about what he should do next. I told him that I had a short-term plan that I was hoping he could do. I’m not sure if he knew what I was going to say at that point or not. I said, “Well, I was thinking that it would be cool if this whole thing could be brought full circle and you could be the one to baptize me.” There was silence for a few seconds, and I thought we had gotten disconnected for a moment. Then he said (in perfect Minnesota fashion), “Really?! Ohhhh…that would be grrreat! Tell me when and where and I’ll be there.” We then talked about the possible places to have it and when it would work best for each of us. At this stage, we planned to have it in Minnesota, where Faye, a family friend of Lars’, could plan it all for some time at the beginning of April. Within a few days, Lars found out he could get tickets to General Conference so he asked what I thought about maybe coming to Utah. There was nothing special about having it in Minnesota because I didn’t think anyone I knew would go and I was open to anything. He said he’d see what he could do. We decided we would have the baptism in Utah on April 5 and go to General Conference on April 6.
Everyone in Chicago was very excited but I felt bad that they wouldn’t be able to be there. It dawned on us then that Elder Steoger’s family lived in Hooper, (which I still don’t say correctly), and could maybe come to the baptism which was going to be in Heber. He gave me all of his family’s information so that I could contact them and he also wrote home to let them know I would be calling.
I finished up my discussions in Chicago, said my goodbyes to the members and missionaries of the Logan Square Ward, got all packed up and moved back to Minnesota. I was at home for a few days before driving down to Minneapolis to catch a plane to Salt Lake on Thursday April 4. At that point, I don’t think I had seen Lars in about 3 years.