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Mendy’s Story

How a young woman learned how to pray and to receive answers from God to her most sincere questions

Written by Newsroom contributor, Maria Russo

Mendy Ip grew up in a home where she says they “never actively practised religion.” Her father was an atheist and her mother followed her family’s tradition as a devout Buddhist.

At a very young age Mendy was exposed to many different religions and she says she always believed there was a God but “never knew exactly who He is to us.”

Growing up she was always searching for greater truth and peace and “perhaps a way out of the situation that [her] family was in,” she recalls. Mendy always believed that God was the person who could help her.

During Mendy’s school years, as she walked home from school, she remembers passing a church building around the corner from her home, which would always capture her attention. She imagined it to be a place like “Hogwarts” (of Harry Potter fame) where magic spells were taught and practised.

When Mendy was 14 years old she worked up the courage to go inside the church one Sunday hoping to find out more about “that God who everyone was talking about.” She continued to attend services “here and there” after that.

When Mendy completed high school she was facing many challenges and decisions about life. She reflected on her life and realized that even at such a young age she had already gone through some “sore trials”—as she described her challenges—especially in her family situation.

She remembers sitting at home one day contemplating and questioning deeper the purpose of her life and feeling “overwhelmed by the world, the negativity and destructive scenes that happen before our eyes every single day.”

Mendy said a brief thought came to her which was … “what if I could put an end to it all?” She said the thought quickly left because she “realized how stupid it was,” but she was “still drenched in the pool of hopelessness and helplessness.”

In that moment a voice whispered to her ... “Mendy, you should pray.” Mendy said she looked over her shoulder but no one was there, then she searched the house but no one was home. She said the voice was so real that she could not deny she’d heard it and that she needed to do something about it.

Looking back, she feels that it was similar experience to what she later read in The Book of Mormon: “And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul” (Helaman 5:30).

Mendy said the voice pierced right through her soul and before she knew it she was saying her “first heartfelt prayer.”

While she was still attending her “old church, now and then,” she said she wasn’t taught how to pray, and never prayed herself, but would just say “Amen to whatever others were praying.”

To her great astonishment, when she opened her mouth to pray, the first phrase she uttered was: “Dear Heavenly Father.” It felt so odd to her that she knew this phrase as it wasn’t the way her old church prayed.

As she continued her attempt to pray another voice said …. “Mendy, you don’t know how to pray.” Mendy said she “arrogantly denied it” and thought to herself .. “yeah right! I know how to pray! I’ve heard prayers so many times!” She said that with arrogance she continued to pray, but something didn’t feel right, the voice was too real and she couldn’t deny it so she decided that maybe she didn’t know how to pray, so thought perhaps she should learn.

The only way she could think of at that time to find an answer was to Google it—so she googled “How to Pray” and went from web page to web page searching for the answer. However, none of them felt right to her even though she had no idea what she was searching for.

After a lengthy search she decided to give up and do something more productive than search for something she wasn’t even sure about! As she was closing the web pages one by one she landed on a particular page which had a massive pop-up window saying “If you want to learn how to pray we can send you a book.”

Mendy enjoys reading and loved the idea of a free book. She entered her details and expected to receive an e-book immediately but she didn’t, so she thought it was a scam.

Approximately one week later two missionary sisters serving at Temple Square phoned and said they had the “item she requested.”

With a heart full of doubt and much caution that this might be a scam she agreed to meet up with her local missionaries to receive a copy of the book.

It was July 2018 when she met up with the missionaries and they started teaching Mendy the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Mendy said she “believed every single thing they taught [her] about the gospel of Jesus Christ but [she] had lots of questions about Joseph Smith.” So she did a lot of research on the Church website (ComeUntoChrist.org) and other resources, but couldn’t find answers to her questions.

At that time she was also reading the Book of Mormon and had read 1 Nephi 1-8 (the first eight chapters of the book) eight times, but, she said, she could not understand a single word God was trying to tell her.

Mendy reached the point that she felt so “desperate and frustrated” that she was about to give up, when she decided to give it just one last chance. She knelt in prayer and asked God to show her that Joseph Smith truly was His prophet who He called to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

After her prayer she again picked up the Book of Mormon and again started from the beginning, but this time she had a long list of questions next to her. This attempt was different. Mendy found that every single one of her questions was being answered. She said the Spirit opened her eyes and she was able to see what God had been trying to tell her and “that’s when I experienced the First Vision that Joseph Smith had, that’s when I knew the Book of Mormon truly is an inspired work from God.”

After that experience Mendy decided to take a leap of faith and was baptised on 8 April 2019, and almost immediately expressed her interest in serving a mission. As she was preparing for a mission, Covid 19 arrived in Australia and the process was delayed. However, she continued to prepare and submitted her papers.

Within a week she received her call to serve in the Australia Adelaide Mission commencing her mission on 3 September 2020 and returning home on 22 March 2022.

The following quotes are from Sister Ip’s farewell talk which she gave at the Adelaide City Branch the Sunday before returning home:

“Missionary work means everything to me………it truly changes lives……..it changed mine three years ago when I found the missionaries through an online platform. Without the missionaries teaching me the knowledge and truth about Jesus Christ, His restored Gospel, I cannot imagine where I would be today.”

“When I think of how much I will soon miss this black badge that I’m wearing, my heart begins to swell and tremble, and I can’t help but weep. It is all because I’m about to leave the tremendous joy that I’ve felt in the past 18 months, inviting others to come unto Christ. My testimony was strengthened as I testified the truth of Jesus Christ; my family relationship was strengthened as I shared my beliefs with members of my family. Starting from just myself joining the Church three years ago, to teaching my mother the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and now she’s ready to be baptised. There are so many more blessings that I can’t list one by one.”

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