baptismDear President Albright,

 It has been about three months since I received my release and returned home from the mission field. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t have a flood of memories about companions, people, and the work.  But ending a mission is only the start of a new beginning. 

I have heard of some missionaries who come home and forget about what they have learned and stop doing the things they were taught. I decided that when I came home I would consider it only a transfer from full-time to part-time missionary work. I tried to be the type of returned missionary who kept sharing the gospel–a missionary without a nametag.  So I got involved in my ward and in starting my life here in Idaho. My desire to share the gospel was just the same here as it was in my mission so I continued praying for opportunities to share the gospel and looked for ways to invite.

I was asked to give a talk in church and my father came to listen. He had to leave quickly after the first meeting, so I went out to the lobby to thank him for coming. While in the hall we met a young black man in street clothing. My dad extended his hand in friendship and I introduced myself and said,” If I can ever serve you I will. Let me know brother.”  He said his name was Solomon. The next day I had to go to the Social Security office for some paper work and I saw a young black man asking people for a ride to the local college campus. I suddenly recognized the young man as Solomon, the same man I had met at church the day before. I offered him a ride to the campus and learned his story.

He told me that he had just immigrated to America from Nigeria on a college student visa. He was the youngest of four boys and had grown up in Africa believing in Christ. When he arrived in Idaho, he asked his roommate for a place to worship and was directed to our local LDS church. He walked inside by himself and started his new journey. I dropped him off at the campus and hoped to see him again but I didn’t know how. Good thing that the Lord guides our paths!

The next day I went to my engineering class and in walked Solomon! In that moment I knew that the Lord was sending me a message. The number three is a significant number. Just like Peter rejected the Lord three times, I too needed three opportunities to know what I should do. Ever since that day I made it a priority to pray for Solomon and help the missionaries teach him the Gospel.

Solomon

We taught him the lessons and Solomon progressed well. Then came the bombshell. Last week Solomon’s father was killed by a terrorist explosion in Nigeria. Solomon was distraught and grieving. We had a family home evening with him and gave him a priesthood blessing. The powers of heaven were poured out upon him. This week he had a test in every single class and he passed each exam with flying colors. Mortals and angels from the unseen world helped him succeed and overcome the loss of his father. At the end of the week we held a beautiful baptismal service for Solomon. He looked great in his sweet new suit from Deseret Industries. His face was beaming!

I know that ending a mission and returning home can be a difficult transition.   No one tells you what to do or when to do it.  However I know that the Lord puts us in the right places for the right reasons. He answers our prayers when we seek for continued missionary opportunities. The lessons we learn in the mission field help prepare us for the rest of our lives. 

With Love,

Aaron Kirkham

 

Send your missionary moments to the author at gma@albrightstoddard.com