Laying a Great Foundation

By Tiffany Tolman

When David and Kathy Ashby sat across from their bishop six years ago and heard his invitation to serve a Church-service mission in the Inner City Mission in Salt Lake City, Utah, they felt several emotions.

The first was surprise. Not only had their bishop been sustained in his own calling just three days before, but the Ashbys were happily serving in Primary and had not requested to serve a Church-service mission.

The second was gratitude. For some time the Ashbys had heard the call for more senior couples to serve full-time missions but knew it wouldn’t work in their current circumstances. So, they had prayed sincerely to know how they could meet their obligations and still answer the Savior’s call. The answer came when their bishop invited them to leave the comforts of their home ward in Bountiful, Utah, and serve the people of Salt Lake City.

The third was a little bit of fear. Despite their desire to serve, they didn’t know what to expect from this new calling. But with faith in Jesus Christ, they accepted the call and got to work.

And now, six years later, they never want to leave.

As Church-service missionaries, Elder and Sister Ashby do more than just attend church on Sundays in the inner city of Salt Lake. They have truly become part of the ward where they serve. While they don’t hold official callings in their assigned ward, they do so much to serve, including assisting in Primary, teaching temple preparation classes, giving blessings, locating appliances for members in need, supporting members with addictions and other struggles, and teaching self-reliance skills. And you can find them in the neighborhood every Wednesday afternoon (and other days as well), when they are visiting homes, meeting needs, and loving individuals.

The scriptures teach, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33–34).

Because they offered (and continue to offer) their hearts and willing minds, Elder and Sister Ashby are laying the foundation of a great work, both for themselves and for those they love and serve, one small act at a time. And it’s bringing them closer to the Savior.

“Who did the Savior go to?” Elder Ashby asks. “He was in the trenches, and that’s where the miracles came. We are very, very blessed to be able to serve as He served.” Sister Ashby agrees: “Our hearts have changed. This is exactly where the Savior would be.”

And to those considering a Church-service mission, particularly one among those in need, Elder Ashby shares, “Do not be afraid. It’s truly one of the most spiritual experiences you will have. It really does mold you in a way that prepares you to meet your Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.”