Sister missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been working with students on campus to convert or reactivate those who are wavering in their faith.
Sister Sondrup and Sister Poulson have been serving on campus at BYU-Idaho since finals week of last semester.
BYU-I is a part of the Idaho Pocatello Mission. When Sister Sondrup got her call, she said everyone told her she was not going to baptize anyone since the area was so heavily populated by Mormons.
“The Idaho Pocatello Mission is the second highest baptizing mission in the United States,” Sister Sondrup said. “BYU-Idaho is a major part of that success.”
Sister Sondrup said many students have asked the sisters what they are doing at BYU-I. She said there is missionary work to do all over the world, even on campus.
“We are just trying to find those people who are in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Sister Sondrup said. “Whether that be a complete nonmember or a less active student.”
Sister Sondrup said one of the reasons students go less active during college is because they are not used to the lifestyle at BYU-I and living by the Honor Code.
“We really can’t stop someone from going less active,” Sister Poulson said. “That’s their own choice and their own agency. Lots of it is culture shock.”
Sister Sondrup said she and her companion ask students to check on their roommates to see if they are struggling or need some help with their testimonies.
“You might not know someone who’s not a member of the Church, but you know someone who’s wayward or struggling,” Sister Sondrup said.
Sister Poulson said there are students that are considered active because they go to all their church meetings but they are less active at heart.
“They are less active at heart, and they are struggling and questioning,” Sister Poulson said. “That’s the time to help them exercise that testimony they have, because even if it’s shaking and small, they have that testimony.”
Sister Sondrup said the leadership on campus is an excellent source to the missionaries.
“The spirit of the Lord is truly on campus,” Sister Sondrup said.
Sister Poulson said the bishops work with less active members and nonmembers and call the sisters when they have someone who’s ready for lessons.
“Continually, everyone is invited to draw closer to Christ,” Sister Sondrup said. “That’s what’s so cool about BYU-I, specifically, is that, no matter where you go or what you do, you’re reminded of that Savior, even in an academic setting.”
Sister Sondrup said there are a lot of international students that come to BYU-I that have never heard of Christ.
“Teaching them that they have a Savior and that they have a loving God who’s truly there for them in every situation is like some of the greatest successes we’ve been able to see,” Sister Sondrup said.
Sister Poulson said the examples people set for one another are what is important.
“It’s not a question anymore of do you believe, it’s how do you act on that belief?” Sister Poulson said.
Sister Sondrup and Sister Poulson said they invite everyone to be a missionary on campus.
“You can continue to invite others to come unto Christ even without your name tag,” Sister Sondrup said. “Even though some of them might say they are not interested, love them, treat them just as Christ would, and they will understand how important this message is.”
The sister missionaries have a booth in the Manwaring Center on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.