Eric Monsia arrived in the United States with his parents and two siblings in 2006. He knew no English. His father was on assignment to be the financial officer for Ivory Coast diplomats and staff at the United Nations in New York City.
One day, Eric's mother met French-speaking missionaries on the street. The family studied with them and his parents were baptized in April 2007. Eric joined the Church the following July.
Eric was eager to learn English to began studying at a local community college.
The following January, hoping it would help his English, Eric began attending an institute class in New Rochelle, N.Y. His English improved and his knowledge of the gospel grew. He continued his education with the goal of receiving a degree in accounting.
Another young man, Qian Wang, who goes by "Carson," finished college at Shandong University in Jinan, China. He came to the United States to continue his education, enrolling at Monroe College in New Rochelle.
In February 2008, Carson was waiting for a bus when he saw two LDS missionaries walking by. He wanted to know who they were, but he didn't know the words in English to ask. One of the elders spoke to him in Chinese. He was invited to attend Church and given directions.
A rainy Saturday four weeks later, Carson was feeling low. As he was falling asleep, he remembered the missionaries saying, "Pray to God. He will help you." So Carson prayed for the first time saying, "If you are really there, please hear me. If it stops raining, I will go to Church."
He woke up earlier than usual the next morning to a beautiful, sunny day. Shocked, he realized that he should go to Church, but had lost the address. Knowing it was within walking distance, he set out. He passed three churches, all with steps up to the front door. Then he came to the LDS meetinghouse in New Rochelle.
"I like this one," he thought. "No steps. This Church is for everyone."
Missionary lessons followed and Carson began reading the Book of Mormon. He thought, "There are so many words I do not understand, but I can't put it down. It has such a power."
Soon after his baptism, he attended the institute class at New Rochelle. There, he found fellow ward member Eric Monsia. Both new members, striving to improve their English, arrived a half hour early at institute each Thursday night to practice their English with their teachers, and then to study their newfound religion. — Elder Howard R. Gilstrap and Sister Luana Leigh Gilstrap, New York New York North Mission.