Mark Albright is the president of the Washington DC South mission and shares these missionary stories with Meridian Magazine. This letter comes from Sister Kimberly Richards.
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,
Since our family just joined the Church, I wanted to share our story with you. After we moved into our home in Woodbridge last year, my kids started spending more and more time with some LDS friends they met that lived down the street.
My 8-year-old son Benny and his new friend Teddy were like two peas in a pod, always at each other’s sides. The older kids also starting hanging out with LDS friends. I thought it was great that the kids had found good friends. Then, one afternoon, the kids came in and asked my husband Ben and me if they could go to church with their new LDS friends. Well, I have never been one to keep the kids from going to church. I just knew that I wasn’t going, and there would be no way in the world that my husband would ever go.
The kids started going to Mormon church activities with their new friends, and they would come home and tell us how great it was and how much they wanted us to come join them. We just kept saying, “Maybe sometime.”
Then, one day about three months ago, when we were sweaty and tired from a home improvement project, Benny ran in and said “Karen (the LDS neighbor mom) wants to know if you would come over for dinner.”
“Well I don’t know, Benny. We are pretty tired.”
“Aww, come on, mom, it’s just dinner. The missionaries are going to be there too.”
Oh boy, I was thinking they were going to shanghai us. I saw the “Don’t you dare“ look on my husband’s face and we kept working as my youngest son stared at us, waiting for an answer. “Well, I have to let them know if you guys are coming or not,” he said.
I really don’t know what made me say what I said next (despite what my husband was hoping I would say), I said “Fine, tell them we will be there.“ Ben looked at me with a puzzled look, “really”? Yes, what can dinner hurt?
So we got cleaned up and went over to the Spamburers home and walked in and found there was a home full of people. I was a little overwhelmed (after all I was sure we were missing a movie we had already seen a hundred times), but it was too late now; I was committed. We walked in, talked, and found that these “Mormons” were pretty normal and pretty cool to talk to. We sat at the table and my husband waited for someone to start preaching religion to him. But nothing of the sort happened…just conversation about friends, family, and everyday things. I thought, “What? Where’s the conspiracy?” And the missionaries were not the two old men that we had pictured at all. They were very nice young men.
So eventually, bursting at the seams, my husband finally said, “So I have a question,” and he did.
As a matter of fact, he had many questions about religion. A few days later during a remodeling project on the Spambaurer’s kitchen, my husband met another normal Mormon in the ward, Brother Gray, and also two elders, Elder Forsberg and Elder Keeffer. These men helped us and talked with us. The elders came over night after night and taught our family that we do not have to be a family just on this earth until we die, but that we can be a family forever and for eternity with our Heavenly Father. Elder Forsburg and Elder Keeffer broke through the shell that my husband Ben had built around himself. I then realized that I had been searching a long time for something, and what I was trying to find was right in front of me!
If anyone had told me that I would have been getting baptized Nov. 13 with my beautiful daughter, Katelynn, and my son, Christopher, I would have told them, “Not me. You got the wrong one.” And if they told me my husband of 10 yrs and my youngest son Ben would be baptized on Dec. 4th, I would have told them, “Now I know you are insane!” But this is my reality and I have found such joy now that Jesus Christ has been brought into my family. Thanks to all the people who prayed and called and visited us. But, the greatest thanks goes to my youngest son, Benny, who didn’t give up on his family, and our wonderful LDS neighbors. I would never go back to who I was before without Christ in my life. I love who I am and look forward to my new life in Christ Jesus. Amen
Sister Kimberly Richards