In a new Flemish TV show entitled Ja Jan, a TV host commits to say "yes" to every question asked of him for 60 days.
Including when he ran into two Mormon missionaries.
Episode 4 of the show, which aired on January 26th, follows Jan as he flips a coin leaving his house to determine the direction he'll walk that day. As luck would have it, he drops the coin, which then rolls to a stop on tails--directing him to walk forward instead of to the right.
As he walks, who should he find but a pair of American missionaries in a nearby square? Noticing that they speak English, he decides to cross over to them and asks, "You come from a America? Why are you here?"
Elder Argueta, the missionary he picks out of the crowd, answers, "Yeah. I'm here to share the gospel with people, share a little bit about Jesus Christ, and also serve people."
Jan explains that he's making a new TV program where he says "Yes" to everything--and Elder Argueta doesn't let that opportunity slip by. He asks Jan if he can come and share a message with him at a later time. Of course, Jan says "yes."
A week later, Jan meets up with the missionaries again, this time to discuss a more in-depth message.
At a nearby cafe, the missionaries share a message about Jesus Christ, how His gospel was lost, that it is now restored, and today there is a living prophet on the earth. Overwhelmed by this information, Jan admits, "I have so many questions for you. Wow."
Elder Argueta invites, "To really understand us, perhaps you can come along with us? Would you like that?"
As you can predict, Jan's answer is "yes."
After picking up a white shirt and tie for their "missionary-in-training," the trio sets out to hand out pass-along cards. They encounter some adversity with locals laughing at their message or refusing to talk, but the missionaries stay cheerful through it all. As they work, Jan asks them questions about the Church, its standards, and its teachings.
Near the end of their time together, Jan voices, "Can I ask you something that's especially personal to me?" He proceeds to explain that his father died young, a few years prior, from cancer. A little choked up, Jan wonders aloud, "If there's anyone up there, why? Why him?"
The elders respond, explaining, "Eventually, you will see your father again."
Hopeful, Jan asks how he can know, and the elders offer to pray with him for a confirmation.
After a few minutes of silent prayer, a misty-eyed Jan says, "It feels good to stand still for a moment. To take a moment and to hope. To hope and believe. To deeply believe that there really is something more. I want to believe it so badly. Do you understand? I want to believe."
Reflecting on his experience, Jan says, "Saying 'yes' to the Mormons, did I gain anything from it? I think so." He goes on to share, "I have realized that I have never taken the time to grieve the death of my father, and thanks to them, together with them, I was able to say good-bye to my dad. And I'm so grateful for that."
After the overwhelming response to this video, more information has come forward concerning how it came about. Latter-day Saint Stephan van Velzen shares the behind-the-scenes of the story:
Elder Argueta is currently serving in my ward. I initially recorded and captioned this [video] for his family to watch, though it looks like a lot more people are seeing it now. I had the pleasure of watching this with him when it first aired. He told me a little bit more about the story behind it.
It was a transfer day when Jan first met the missionaries at Antwerp station. Elder Argueta was transferred to The Netherlands that day, but he forwarded the information to the Church's PR people, who arranged for the next meeting. The people behind the show really wanted Elder Argueta to do it, so he and his companion Elder Neptune traveled from Leiden in The Netherlands to Kortrijk in Belgium.
While they had a basic idea of how their meeting would go, it exceeded all expectation. They had planned to challenge him to pray for himself after his sixty days were up, but Elder Neptune was inspired to ask him to pray with them when the moment came. When the cameras stopped rolling, two of the producers came up to the elders and said they'd never experienced anything like it. They prayed with one of them as well, and many more tears flowed. The Spirit was definitely strong that day, and it's beautiful to see how a simple "yes" from Jan could plant seeds in so many hearts. I'm incredibly proud of Elder Argueta. He's such a wonderful missionary, and a great example!