Mark Albright is the president of the Washington DC South mission and shares these missionary stories with Meridian Magazine. This letter comes from Elder Greg Karren.
If you want to share a missionary story, send it to President Albright by clicking on the “email author button” by the title of the article. Please note the names of new converts and investigators may be changed to maintain privacy.
Dear President Albright,
My first night in our new area, we went to visit our ward mission leader, Brother Brough, so I could get to know him a little bit and correlate what was happening in the Springfield Ward. After a nice visit, he gave Elder Williams and me a few names of people that were considered by the ward council “lost sheep,” meaning no one in the ward had heard from them in many years. He told us that he had prayed over the ward council list and felt really strongly about one of the names in particular. He felt prompted to have us go by her home first, although he knew nothing about her or her family situation, or even if she was married.
After we left his home we excitedly drove to the address we were given as a priority assignment and went to the front door. The woman who answered the door was named Cindy, but her last name was now Mullins, she had gotten married and had three children, 17, 14, and 10. She didn’t look overly excited to see us. She had been inactive since she was about 13 years old.
Her nonmember husband Dave sat on the couch with a beer and a pack of cigarettes on the seat next to him. She said that she was too busy to listen to us, so we asked if we could please come by the next night. She yelled in to her husband, “Hey! can they come back tomorrow?” He threw a thumbs up in the air. We of course returned the next night and Sister Mullins let us right in.
We sat on the couch and invited everyone to come sit down to join us. To our surprise they all did, even the three sons. I received an impression to ask the father a rather strange question, “Dave, have you by chance been praying lately that God would bring your family closer together?” He looked at me almost shocked, and quickly replied, “Buddy, you have no idea!” He then explained how for years he would always chase the missionaries away who tried to visit his less active wife, wanting nothing to do with the church. However, he explained that the reason he was so surprised that we showed up exactly when we did was because he had just started looking and praying for a change in his life. He was worried about his three boys and family unity. “So,” he said, “Let me hear what you have to say.”
We taught a great first lesson and then went back the next night for a return appointment. Something was very different about Dave and the whole family the next evening. This time he had shaved, cut his hair and was wearing a shirt and tie! He had his Book of Mormon opened and his favorite verses highlighted, ready to listen to our lesson. No beer cans or cigarettes were in sight. After a few minutes into our gospel discussion we felt prompted to invite Dave to be baptized. After a few moments, he replied through tear-filled eyes, “You know what, yes, I will. I can already feel a difference in my life in just one day and I feel like this is the change I’ve been looking for.” We then set a baptismal date for him and his 3 teenage boys. Their whole family came to church the next day and have not missed a day since. Their baptismal service was beautiful and well attended. The ward has been tremendously supportive. Mom is thrilled to be back active in the Church, and can’t believe the entire family has become so united as a result of attending church together as a family. Their 17-year-old is getting baptized next week. I’m so grateful for our great ward mission leader who followed a prompting from the Holy Ghost of who we should go rescue first on the list prepared by the ward council!
Elder Gregg Karren