Ramona, New Church–New Opportunities

Ramona, New Church–New Opportunities

Ramona Morris was born into a Christian home with parents who attended the Methodist Church. During her late teens, she stopped attending regularly because she felt that church was more about money and people’s status than Christ. After some negative experiences with a few churches, Ramona stopped going to church for a time.

One day, years after giving up on organized religion she saw the movie “Meet the Mormons.” Still, she didn’t give much thought about it as an avid watcher of documentaries. Shortly after that, she saw some missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sheltering on her “gallery” or porch from the rain. As a kind gesture, she gave them an umbrella.

Ramona and the missionaries exchanged the umbrella several times over the coming weeks. Eventually, the missionaries inquired whether she would be interested in learning about the gospel. At first, she told them no, but came around after discovering that her grandmother had listened to a couple of lessons from two missionaries while in England working as a nurse after leaving Barbados as a part of the “Windrush Generation”.

She was naturally still a little nervous because 90% of her family were Methodist. The church was conveniently only 5 minutes away from her grandmother’s home, near Rendezvous Hill and had always been a cause of curiosity; however, she had never felt prompted to attend or ask questions. “I asked the missionaries to give me the gospel lessons,” she recalls, “but it wasn’t easy with so many of my family being Methodists.”

The lessons began but progress was slow. “I think the missionaries were going to drop me soon,” she shared, recalling the slowness of her understanding of the gospel. Several times, the missionaries had tried getting me to attend church, but she didn’t because the fear of her family discovering that she had left the religion she had grown up in was much stronger.

A few weeks later, she informed the missionaries that she would be traveling. The pair then decided to give her some homework. “I was planning on going on a cruise,” she admitted, “and the missionaries asked me to read the Book of Mormon during the week. I agreed just to get them to stop asking me.” While on the cruise, she lost an expensive camera lens and had a massive panic attack in front of the entire dining area passengers. With the help of another passenger and a Barbadian waiter, she was able to locate the equipment in the ship’s lost and found.

Once she had returned to her room, she told her mother what had happened. Right then she laid her hand on the Book of Mormon. She felt a peaceful feeling and began reading it. “Two months later I was baptized.”

Ramona’s mother came to the baptism after seeing the transformation in her daughter and was impressed by what she saw. “She liked the feeling she got when she was at the church and realized that it was different,” said Ramona. Her mother started taking missionary lessons and was baptized four months after Ramona and a few days before her daughter’s birthday.

During the following year, Ramona enjoyed a temple trip to the Dominican Republic for a Young Single Adults Conference. “It was such a special experience and time for me although it was filled with sadness as my grandmother had just passed away,” she reflected, “and later during an FSY (For the Strength of Youth) 2019, I was able to go and complete my grandmother’s temple work in the Dominican Republic.” Ramona confessed, “It was very emotional for me.”

Ramona had been her grandmother’s caretaker during the last part of her life. During that time, “I was going through a difficult time when my grandmother passed in 2018, I needed something to help me get out of the way I was feeling.”

Knowing her situation and needs, her missionary friends suggested she investigate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints “Pathway” program. At first, the program wasn’t available in Barbados. This Program is now called “PathwayConnect” and has “grown from 50 students in three U.S. cities to tens of thousands of students in numerous locations worldwide”.

Today, Ramona has only a year left before she graduates with a Bachelor's in Marriage and Family Studies. “I'm so grateful I kept on pushing through, especially in the difficult times,” she admitted. She plans to continue her schooling until she has her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Ramona is now teaching others about Pathway while she continues her own educational goals.