Work as a volunteer leads to conversion

When she became acquainted with Sharyn Dietrich, Sandy Gillenwater was at a point in her life where she knew the Lord wanted something from her.

Unclear what it was He wanted, she decided her calling was to enter the priesthood in her church. Just as she was about to be selected to train for the priesthood, she realized she was still troubled, so she asked her LDS friend Sharyn Dietrich to pray for her.Sister Dietrich was happy to oblige, and Sister Gillenwater received the guidance she felt she needed. She started attending her own church Sunday morning and the LDS Church in the afternoon, and she read the Book of Mormon.

After being exposed to the Church for a long time through Sister Dietrich and others, Sister Gillenwater said, "I finally realized that all along I knew what they were teaching was true and I had to act on that."

She was baptized Sept. 22, 1985.

A year later, she met her future husband, Mike, a prosecuting attorney in Clark Superior Court No. 1 where Sandy was a volunteer. She shared the gospel with him and he joined the Church.

He is now the elders quorum president in the Jeffersonville Ward, New Albany Indiana Stake. The Gillenwaters have three children - Natalie, 4; Isaiah, 3; and newborn Luke.

Sister Gillenwater's service is now centered on her family, but she still takes time for volunteer work with Sister Dietrich.

"I look back and wonder where I would be if I weren't a member of the Church," Sister Gillenwater said. "Everything we do is centered around our beliefs and our values.

"I have had blessings richer than I thought possible."

Sister Gillenwater has also enjoyed positive missionary experiences. She is especially pleased with one conversion story.

Angela was one of the most rebellious teens Sister Gillenwater had seen at Camp Kite since she and Sister Dietrich developed the summer activity for troubled girls.

But through the Young Women Values that were taught, goal setting and the unconditional love poured out by camp leaders, Angela became an exemplary camper by the end of the week, Sister Gillenwater said. Angela particularly enjoyed the journal exercises because she had been keeping a journal for a long time.

When Angela left camp, Sister Gillenwater told her to call if she ever needed help.

When she ran into problems at home, Angela called Sister Gillenwater. With her mother's approval, Angela started attending Young Women activities with Sister Gillenwater who was Young Women president.

A short time later Angela's mother allowed her to take the missionary discussions, and the young girl was baptized. - Greg Hill

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