News Story

'Heavenly Father Must Have Heard My Thoughts'—A Young Woman's Spiritual Journey

Amelia Brady doesn’t know why, after an extended absence from attending worship services, her family suddenly decided to attend one Sunday morning. But what happened after that was just the beginning of her journey to spiritual renewal.

Having gone through a divorce five years before, the experience was very difficult for Miranda Brady and her two daughters. They sought seclusion from others, to try to deal with the aftereffects of this tough situation.

But one morning, Miranda decided to return to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to discuss her situation with the leaders of a congregation in her area. She found a kind Bishop willing to help her chart a path back to not only weekly attendance, but to the pinnacle of discipleship—temple attendance.

Referring to her mother, 14-year-old Ameila said, “The next week she said, ‘How about you guys come with me to church?'"

Amelia continued: "That made me pause a little, because I hadn't been to church for five years. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how to act.”

“Maybe it was a prompting she had. But she's my mum and I believe that she has the best of intentions for me. So, I went along.”

As Amelia and her younger sister Chaela arrived at the meetinghouse they met a smiling row of full-time missionaries, who extended their hands in friendship. “I felt very welcomed, and the energy there felt amazing," she noted.

"I felt at peace.”

Amelia Brady
Amelia Brady
Amelia Brady, of Auckland, New Zealand.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

But after the meeting, the feeling of being "an outsider" came back to Amelia. While her mother talked to others inside, she and her sister sat outside the building wondering what to do next.

This is when the friendly leader of the congregation saw them and decided to introduce himself. He asked Amelia and Chaela about themselves and extended a warm welcome. Amelia says that conversation was an important one.

“I feel like that interaction was probably one of the most important things to happen to me at the time,” she said.  “Nobody knew me or my sister. We felt a little bit out of place.”

“But talking to the Bishop gave me that little bit of encouragement that I really needed,” Amelia added. “I decided to have some patience with this experience and let the situation unfold naturally.”

Amelia decided to attend church with her family again the next Sunday. Having not attended Sunday School in a long time, she was concerned about not knowing the subject matter in the lesson being presented. Amelia felt a little “on the back foot,” and was hesitant to participate.  

“I didn't know what the other kids knew, and I hadn’t been taught all the things that they had,” she said.

Little did she know how the Lord would intervene in her life in such a personal, helpful way in that very Sunday School class.

“I didn’t know anybody like they all knew each other, and it made me feel a lot more disconnected than I thought I was,” she related.

But then a member of the class named India introduced herself.

“Heavenly Father must have heard my thoughts, because India introduced herself to me and, instantly, I felt this kind and caring energy about her,” Amelia related. “I just knew that she was the type of person I needed to be around.”

India’s happy, inclusive way of ministering to Amelia gave her the reassurance that she could participate in the class from where she was at, without an expectation of “knowledge.”

“If she hadn't reached out to me, I would have felt so alone sitting there. But she gave me the reassurance that I wasn’t alone,” Amelia said. “I'm so glad that I met India, because she introduced me to everybody else, she was my guide, and she helped me to adapt to a church environment that I had been so distant from for ages.” 

“She made me feel included and important, and I thank Heavenly Father for giving me this community, for the people that are there.”

India and her other new friends next invited Amelia to join them on their coming trip to attend the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, where they planned to provide sacred baptism ordinances on behalf of their ancestors.

Having never participated in temple ordinances before, Amelia didn’t know how to prepare. But with the assistance of her friends and the new leaders she met in the young women’s organisation of her congregation, she was able to take care of all the preliminary details required and find the records of ancestors that she could take with her to the temple.

“I was able to perform the baptism for my great grandmother, who sadly passed away in January this year,” Amelia said at the time. “The joy I felt after getting baptised for her showed me that her spirit was there with me.”

“I was also baptised on behalf of some of my other ancestors, dating back to the early 1800’s,” she continued. “Doing this for them makes me so happy, knowing that what I did can allow them to have eternal life with our Father in Heaven!”

Amelia said the experience of worshipping in the temple and performing ordinances for her relatives left her feeling complete happiness and joy. “It was so beautiful and that, itself, is such an understatement.”

“My temple experience really exceeded any expectations that I had,” Amelia stated. “I know that God knows each one of us, and He cares about us individually.”

President Russell M. Nelson, Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, turns 100 in September.  To mark that occasion, he has asked everyone to give the gift of ministering to "the one," as the Saviour related in his telling of the parable of The Lost Sheep. #99+1

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.