Becoming a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not even an option for Jane Prefumo, but that changed when she went to Utah about six years ago.
Jane Prefumo is an international student from Mauritius, an island which is off the coast of Madagascar, and is currently a junior studying web design and development.
Prefumo said she was born and raised in the Catholic religion, and knew very little about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She said she knew the Church always provides food to its members and that most missionaries that came to her neighborhood were from the United States. They were always dressed in white with a name tag.
Her neighbor used to invite her to her branch opening and closing social and to go to English and piano lessons offered by a church member. She said she went with her neighbor to these activities as they were fun. However, she was never able to go to churchbecause her parents would not let her.
Her parents didn’t believe in the Church and did not want to learn about it.
“My neighbor gave my father a Book of Mormon many years ago, but he never read it,” Prefumo said. “He just hid it in the closet.”
In 2011, after graduating from high school, Prefumo said she decided to apply to the English Language Center at BYU.
She said applying to BYU was not in her plan, as she was not a member, and was planning on moving to Australia for her studies, where she has family. But, her neighbor introduced her to BYU, as his daughter was studying there.
Prefumo flew from Mauritius to Utah in August 2011. She said she was excited while flying there and was thinking she was just going there for school.
She said she was surprised in her first class because they always had an opening and closing prayer, which she never did before.
Prefumo only went to the Church a couple times and she said she was mostly going to the Catholic church since that is what she was practicing at the time.
She was always scared of missionaries because she said they would come to her and ask, “Can we meet with you?”
She said because she was not familiar with what missionaries do, she did not trust them and thought they were weird.
Prefumo said she was always hiding from them when they came looking for her, or she would just lie to them and tell them she did not know who Jane was.
She said she was scared of missionaries because a lot of people from her home country told her they would brainwash her.
After a couple of years of running away from the missionaries, Prefumo said she decided to open her door to them, thinking she would give them a chance to answer all the questions she had about the religion.
The missionaries asked her if she would get baptized, and she said she was considering it. She decided to talk to her family about it, and her parents did not agree.
“My mom was surprised, and my dad told me if I don’t have anything better to talk about … he (stood) and walk away like he was mad,” Prefumo said.
The reaction of her parents put doubt in her heart, but after coming back from a trip to Nauvoo, she said she decided to do what her heart told her and what she thought was good for her.
Prefumo got baptized in May 2014 and has been an active member since.
“I do not regret my decision for getting baptized,” Prefumo said. “I have received many blessings since I’ve become a member. Sometimes we get scared to take a new step, to make a decision. But, if you ask Heavenly Father for help, He will put you in the right path. If you have faith like a grain mustard seed, you can move mountains.”