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.