Dick Harmon: Half African-American, half Haitian recruit is all BYU
ties and I hid from them," she said. "I thought they were from the FBI or
the CIA or something and they were out to question me about something.
"But one of them was a black guy and he had a white companion. My friend
Jerry, who said he knew a guy who spoke French, meant this black
missionary, who was from Haiti, though his family had migrated to the
Bahamas. He joined the LDS Church when he lived with his cousins in
Emily began taking lessons from the missionaries until her brother found
out and put a stop to it.
"He is Catholic and had heard the Mormons didn't have a good history
with blacks," she said. "Since he was responsible for me, he told me he
didn't want the missionaries to come over any more. I was underaged."
A short time later, she was walking down the street near her home in
Sacramento on a Sunday, heading to a gas station to get a snack, when she
passed an LDS stake center. Out in front of the building, missionaries saw
her and called her name. Standing there with them was the French-speaking
friend, who'd finished his mission and returned to visit. His name was Joel
She admits she "pursued" Timo when he invited her to visit in Florida.
After living with his family for a short time, she returned to Sacramento,
and then moved to Miami.
"I admit it was crazy," she said. "At the time, I didn't think it was
She got a basement apartment for $150 a month, invited the missionaries
over and later joined the LDS faith.
Emily and Joel married in the Oakland Temple. Joel accepted a call as
Haitian branch president, where he served for five years.
"We had three beautiful children," said Emily. Chris came in 1986,
Ashley two years later and Adam in 1990. The couple later divorced and
Emily moved to St. George, where she is currently working as a nurse
assistant and attending Dixie State College.
Chris, who played football at Dixie State College, served as a soldier
nearly two years in Iraq before returning to Dixie State. Ashley is a
member of Utah Valley University's track team, and Adam signed to play
football for the Cougars last Wednesday.
"I am still single," said Emily. "I promised myself when me and my ex
had a falling-out that I would dedicate my life to seeing these kids get an
education. Everything I've done is to help them. I feel sad for them
because I think I'm all they've got. I work really hard to see they receive
everything they can to succeed.
"When they are older and if somebody pops into my life, I'll go from
there, or I will return home to Togo, where I will try and serve my church
with the Ghana temple nearby."
Emily is proud that Adam is headed for BYU, a commitment he made nearly
two years ago, the first to pledge to sign in Bronco Mendenhall's class of
"I want my children to be grateful for their opportunities, to be polite
and kind and respectful," she said.
Adam recently changed his name to Adam Hine, his mother's maiden name.
"For personal reasons," he said.
When Mendenhall visited his home recently, it was a unique visit.
"We didn't talk much about football at all," said Adam. "We talked about
a lot of things. I told him I was still committed to sign."
Last week, when asked if he ever second-guessed himself over the early
decision and commitment so long ago, he said he's never given it a second
thought. He's now 20 pounds heavier and has more fully proven himself.
"No regrets, none at all. It's where I always wanted to be," Adam
Who has had the most influence in his life and his decisions? "My
family, my mom," he said.
In an era of de-commits and torrid recruiting rumors, Hine's signing day
was undramatic. At Snow Canyon High, he was the only one dressed up in a
shirt and tie, a sign of respect for the moment.
To Hine, a commitment is simple. It's for real.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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