In her native country, Roohina Arya’s desire to follow Jesus Christ meant risking her life to learn about Christianity. Simply desiring to believe meant subjecting herself to physical abuse. So, upon arriving in the United States and discovering the gospel of Jesus Christ, Arya wanted to be baptized. But the missionaries told her that because she was in the United States with a visitor visa and might have to return to homeland, it would not be safe for her to be baptized.
She was hurt and upset. She didn’t want to talk to the missionaries ever again. But then she decided to read in the Book of Mormon. The following excerpt shares what verse brought Arya comfort in that moment and how she has embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ in the years since.
Note: This excerpt has been lightly edited for clarity, but in an effort to maintain Arya’s voice, other edits have not been made.
Roohina Arya: I opened it to Book of Moroni and chapter 7 verse 33, it says, and “Christ hath said, if you will have faith in me, you shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.”
And reading this brought me so much peace. And I just realized that I need to correct my prayer. And till that point, I was kind of like you know, ordering God. I was asking, “God, I want this to happen, like, make it happen.” But I realized that this is not how, like, if it's expedient in Him. So I just immediately kneel down. I think that was my first correct prayer that I said in my life. And I asked Him that, if you allow it, make this happen. And lo and behold, next day, my brother-in-law helped me calling so many different people, and I finally got the approval to be baptized.
Morgan Jones: Amazing. I love that that scripture stood out to you, the one in Moroni that uses that word “Expedient.” Recently, I was reading the scriptures and that word stood out to me. And I looked it up because I was like, what does that word even mean? And it says–there's different definitions of it–but one of them says, “Conducive to advantage or interest, as opposed to right.” Meaning, I think, to me, at least, what I took away from it is, if it's something that's going to help move you forward in your life, then God can help us prepare a way to accomplish that thing. And I love that thought.
So you were able to be baptized, and then shortly thereafter, you ended up deciding that you wanted to serve a mission. Is that right?
Roohina Arya: Yes, that is right. One day, you know, a year passed. And one day I just thought to myself, I can do something more. It was so crazy, because it was the second hour, and just the thought came to my mind. And I told my sister, if it's okay if I become a full-time missionary. And she said, “Yes.” So I was like, “Okay, you sit down here. I'll go talk with Bishop right now.’ I go talk with bishop, and bishop immediately gives me these papers. And he said that, “Oh, go fill this out. That's so great. Whenever you're done, come back.”
I come home, show the papers to my brother-in-law, and he just immediately starts laughing at me and he's like, “Girl you are crazy. You're having toothache for two years—you can't even fix it because you don't have insurance or money. And now, you want to go on a mission in here it says like you have to do checkups, you know, for your tooth, like vaccines, how you going to bring all this money?” And I thought I don't know. But I immediately said a prayer. And I asked God if it's something that I should be doing. If it's His will–make it happen.
Next day, I started searching and I found a really cheap insurance for the women for low income. And nobody believed it, but I completed those papers in less than a week. Next Sunday, I put the papers right above my bishop and he just looked at me and he was like, “That was fast.” And nobody could believe it. Just because God wanted it, He made it happen, and I'm so grateful for it.
I served my mission in California as the first Persian missionary native speaker. And we were able to start a whole community for Persian people: start the first Persian branch, second Persian branch, and bring the Persian language to the MTC. Before that they were not training the Persian language in the MTC, and now they have started it.
And I'm just so grateful that Heavenly Father gave me this chance to find that hope. Now I have a purpose for my life, now I know what I want out of life and I wanted to spend my whole life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.