Mark Albright is the president of the Washington DC South mission and shares these missionary stories with Meridian Magazine. This letter comes from Elder Kyle Gifford.
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,
As a young missionary, with an even younger companion, I studied for days and searched my soul to have hope in my ministry. “Hope is the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting something will occur.” PMG pg 117. Reciting this passage in my mind over and over I pressed forward going house to house in Orange County, Virginia.
While talking on a doorstep one afternoon, our cell phone rang and my companion Elder Brunstad went to the sidewalk to speak on the phone to a family who needed some service as soon as we were available. I told Elder Brunstad that we would go help them after we had finished the street we were on; with only three doors left I thought we had time to finish. But as we were about to knock on the next door, the Spirit whispered that we needed to leave right then. We left and drove to help the family who called, expecting a miracle to be waiting for us when we arrived at their house. We got there, moved some furniture, and shared a scripture, but nothing out of the ordinary occured.
For two weeks I tried to return to finish tracting the street, but we never quite had time to go back there. Finally we returned to the doorstep where the Spirit had previously directed us to leave and we knocked. A woman came to the door, looked at us, and then started to cry. “Mormons? Are the Mormon missionaries really knocking on my door today?” she asked as she looked heavenward.
After a few questions Piedad McKee went on to explain how several years previously she had experienced an unusual dream at her home in Florida. In her dream she saw two young men, dressed in white shirts, knocking on her door and bringing her happiness. When she awoke from her dream she described it to her husband. He told her it must be the Mormon missionaries. He knew just enough about the Church to know how to recognize the missionaries! She had never heard of the Mormons before. Several weeks later however, her husband tragically died. A few days after his funeral, the dream of two young men actually materialized when two missionaries knocked on her door. She invited them into her home and they taught her about the Plan of Salvation and the Restored Gospel. After investigating for a time she moved to Virginia and lost contact with the Church.
She then told us with tears in her eyes that today was her deceased husband’s birthday! It was the first time she had not gone to work in many months because she was simply too sad to leave home today! “God and my husband sent you here for my family again didn’t they?” After reviewing in my mind the events of the past two weeks, I looked her in the eye and with a surety could say, “Yes, they did.” If we had finished tracting the street as previously planned, we would have missed her. It may have been years before missionaries could find her again in such a remote area combined with her work schedule.
Her family had recently started to search and pray for what God would have them do. Their hearts had been softened just enough that they knew they needed to be baptized. Piedad would often say that in the New Testament, Heavenly Father introduced Jesus after his baptism as, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then she would add: “I want God to feel the same way about me.”
So after a few weeks of teaching Piedad and her family, they were all baptized, including several children. They have since gone to the temple and finished the temple work for their husband and father. The Lord fulfills his promises to us. We can have confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patiently perservere trials and adversity. The gospel is here to change lives, ours and all those we serve.
Elder Kyle Gifford