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From basketball rivals to missionary companions: ‘We are all essential to God’s team’


Left photo, Sister Sophie Dil and Sister Tyla Tuala pose for a photo as they serve together in the New Zealand Wellington Mission after being rivals in opposing basketball teams (right photo).

Screenshot from Facebook

Growing up, Sophie Dil was more Tyla Tuala’s “enemy” than friend. As frequent competitors on opposing basketball teams in their hometown in Auckland, New Zealand, the two engaged in some “pretty hearty battles on the court,” Sister Tuala recalled in a social media post on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Pacific Area Facebook page.

“I never was the greatest fan of Sophie Dil ... and I know the feeling was mutual,” she wrote.

It came as a shock to both of them when years later they were assigned to be mission companions serving in the New Zealand Wellington Mission.

Suddenly they were on the same team, with the same “jersey,” with the same goal: “to invite all to come unto Christ.”

In the post, Sister Tuala shared a quote from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We must realize that all of God’s children wear the same jersey. Our team is the brotherhood of man. This mortal life is our playing field. Our goal is to learn to love God and to extend that same love toward our fellowman” (“Pride and the Priesthood,” October 2010 general conference).

Both sisters now feel it is a blessing to serve together. When sharing Sister Tuala’s post to her personal Facebook page, Sister Dil wrote, “Never thought I’d ever become [companions] with one of my basketball rivals, but I am so grateful to be serving on the Lord’s team alongside Sister Tuala.”

To conclude her social post, Sister Tuala testified, “We are all essential players in God's Team.”

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