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3 Mormon brothers grow together on and off the basketball court

Published: Friday, March 1 2013 11:15 a.m. MST

"It definitely has motivated me to be closer with Heavenly Father and get more involved in the church, and reach out to other people," Jonathan said. "It's really strengthened my testimony of the church."

Just a short time after Kim's conversion, Chris Pendleton, the Southern Virginia sports information director, introduced Isaac to his sister-in-law, Ivy Kuroki — even though Pendleton himself had only known her for a short time.

"My wife Tiffany had never met her dad before," Pendleton said. "We got in contact with (him) and found out that she had these five siblings she had never met before. We went out to meet them, and they were all farmers in Nebraska who had no idea about the church. But the one thing we had in common was sports."

Kuroki ended up playing tennis and soccer for Southern Virginia.

"Chris introduced us last year," Isaac said. "We dated for about a year and she had a little interest in the church, but she had told me multiple times that she didn't think she would ever join."

Attending Southern Virginia was a very different atmosphere for Kuroki, but she gradually got used to it.

"She was very inquisitive because this was a new way of life she was learning about," Pendelton said. "But she went home with Isaac over Christmas break, and Anders and Jon and their whole family went home, and that's when things really changed for Ivy. She saw the whole family together and realized that's what she wanted. So when she came back from Christmas break, that's when she got really serious about the church."

Kuroki was baptized this past January.

Youngest of the three brothers, Anders has witnessed his brothers' experiences and grown himself. It wasn't until last year that he made the decision to serve a mission.

"I think last year especially helped with seeing Jon's wife Kim, because that was before I decided to go," Anders said. "I think it was really awesome to see how the church in people's lives can really change them. Kim was already really awesome before she joined the church, but just by seeing how strong she is in the church has really been cool for me to see."

Anders just recently received his mission call to the Colorado Denver South Mission.

The Southern Virginia basketball team recently participated in the USCAA National Tournament where it won a first-round game Wednesday against Lindenwood-Belleville, 91-79, but lost to No. 1-seeded Rochester College Thursday night, 59-47.

Sarah Sanders Petersen is an intern for Deseret News where she writes for Mormon Times and other feature articles. She is a communications major and editing minor from Brigham Young University.

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