When Jennifer Morales, a sophomore studying psychology, was 13 years old, she was in an accident that changed her life.
“I don’t remember a lot of my life before the accident. I had hit my head really hard and it caused me to forget a lot of who I was,” Morales said.
Morales was at a ward picnic when she and a group of her friends decided to play soccer nearby. The group wandered off from the ward in efforts to find a soccer net. After searching for one, they found a big steel net that was perfect for their game.
“We love soccer and all of us were on the same soccer team,” Morales said. “We were just shooting the ball around until I saw the net falling and it was heading towards me.”
The metal frame ended up hitting Morales in the head causing her to bleed from her head, mouth, nose, and ears. She doesn’t remember it happening, all she remembers is people telling her not to close her eyes.
A couple of her friends were in shock and didn’t know how to respond but one of them ran to the ward gathering. They called 911 immediately. More than 10 minutes had gone by so Morales’ parents took her to the emergency room themselves.
The doctors told the Morales family that their daughter was lucky to be alive. The soccer net was made of pure steel and cut Morales’ head open.
“Trying to figure out what I don’t remember was very hard for me,” Morales said. “To this day I can’t remember me getting baptized. It’s very hard,”
The accident, among other personal family issues, caused Morales to leave the church. She didn’t remember any of the members, or what the church meant to her before.
“Everything happened for a reason,” Morales said. “Right before my accident my parents got angry at the church because another member committed fraud to them and the bishop didn’t do anything. Then with my accident, they took that as their way out.”
Morales was 13 when the accident happened and didn’t know anything about the church until she was 20 years old.
She remembers that day clearly. Two elders knocked on her door, she opened the door and they invited Morales to come to church the following Sunday.
“I only went because one of the Elders was so cute,” Morales said. “It’s embarrassing to tell but I believe that God meant for it to happen like that. I don’t think I would’ve gone if I didn’t feel attracted to him some sort of way.”
Three months later Morales hasn’t missed a Sunday at church. She took the Preach my Gospel lessons and she gained a whole new family at church. Then within a year Morales decided to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After leaving for her mission, her parents came back to church and are now the Elder’s Quorum president and a teacher in the Relief Society.
“The second I walked into church there was this feeling of belonging,” Morales said. “It was strange because everyone knew me, but I didn’t know them. In that moment I knew that I needed to be there. So I stayed. I wouldn’t have gone that Sunday if it wasn’t for that cute Elder.”