As a reminder, I have not authored any of the posts in the You Make the Call series. They have each come from a mystery correspondent. This one is grounded in a real situation, but the facts have been changed to render it more in the nature of a hypothetical:
You are a newly called bishop of three or four months. You’ve noticed the Goode’s, a nice retired couple in the ward who are in declining health. They’ve had a young woman in her early 20’s and a two year old daughter with them the last couple of weeks at church. You go and say hi to them before meetings, and they introduce you to Amie, and her daughter Nicole, who are staying with them. She says she is from France, speaks good English, and is temporarily staying with the Goode’s. When you ask how long she’ll be staying with the Goode’s, she says that it all depends. Later on that Sunday, the Goode’s call you and ask if they can talk to you about Amie.
When you drop by a couple of days later, the Goode’s, Amie, and Nicole are all waiting for you. The Goode’s tell you that they got acquainted with Amie through a friend in another stake, and she has been helping to take care of them in exchange for a place to stay for a while, helping with cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
Amie tells you that she joined the church in France as a teenager, initially with the approval of her non-member parents. She came to the US on a tourist visa to spend some time with a BYU student who had served a mission in France, and got pregnant. She and the BYU student did not get married, and she did not want to give up the child for adoption. Her boyfriend was excommunicated, and Amie was disfellowshipped, but later reinstated while living in another stake with a friend. She is still in the US 3 years after entering on a tourist visa, does not have a green card, and her boyfriend and his family will have nothing to do with her. She is desperate to remain in the states, as her own family in France now have strained relationships with her. She can’t work legally, so she has been doing housework and the like in exchange for a place for her and her daughter to stay. The Goode’s can provide her a room, but their finances are meager, and they ask if the church can help her with food orders, clothing from the DI, and if possible, some help in getting a regular job so she can start to pay for school and occasional daycare. You ask her if she knows she’s breaking the law in staying in the US, but she is adamant that her family will not support her if she returns home to France, and she really believes that she needs to stay in the US where she can meet another LDS man and get married. You check out her records, and she indeed has been reinstated as she said.
You have compassion for her, and also for the Goode’s. Do you provide her or the Goode’s with any assistance, and what advice do you give her?