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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended July 16, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 13Jul00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Missionaries Win Discussion Through Basketball
Wilkes-Barre PA Times Leader 12Jul00 D1
By Grace Dove: Back Mountain Leader Correspondent

BACK MOUNTAIN, PENNSYLVANIA -- Maybe this will be a scene in the next Richard Dutcher film about LDS missionaries. Seeing a group of teens playing basketball, four LDS missionaries challenge them to a game. What's at stake? Five minutes listening to the missionaries. Who wins? The Elders.

Scene from a movie or not, according to the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, that is exactly what happened in the Pennsylvania Harrisburg Mission. Elder Brett Boyle explains, "We were out walking through a neighborhood and saw a group of teens playing basketball in a park. We challenged them to a friendly game. They agreed that if we won, they would sit with us for five minutes talking about the Gospel. If they won, they didn't have to." Boyle and his companions, Elders DeGrange, Anderson and Offen, played a close game, winning on an improbable basket by Offen. "It was a good, friendly game the whole way," Offen said."It showed them we're people too, and we also like to have fun," added Boyle.

And the payoff for the missionaries was larger than expected, also. The five minute discussion with the missionaries became 45 minutes, and the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader got a pretext for writing about missionary life and the four Elders.

Offen, 21, who won the game for the missionaries, is from Tucson, Arizona and is a business student at the University of Arizona. Anderson, 20, is from Mesa, Arizona and plans to study computer animation at Arizona State. Emmett, Idaho's Degrange, 20, is a history major at Ricks (soon to be BYU-Idaho) and Boyle, 20, is a business major at Weber State University, and is from Ogden, Utah.


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