One of the Least of These

By Tiffany Tolman

The fifth-wheel camper was ready, and Bill and Kay Geist were set to travel wherever the Lord called them to serve a mission. So imagine their surprise when they got the invitation from their stake president to serve a Church-service mission in the Inner City Mission of Salt Lake City, Utah, a short, 20-minute drive from their home in West Jordan, Utah. And not only were they called to serve in the inner city, but they were called specifically to serve with male inmates of the local county jail. Kay jokes, “They don’t have hookups [for the fifth-wheel] at the jail, and they wouldn’t let us park there.”

But what was initially a surprising call for the Geists has turned into a huge blessing—for them and for those they served. One such person is Brigham Smith, whom they’ve helped transition from life in jail to life as a contributing member of society. Brigham has changed his life so completely that he is now worthy of a temple recommend.

Originally from Houston, Texas, Brigham met the Geists while incarcerated on drug-related charges. From their initial meeting, Brigham had a plan to get clean, get out, and get to the temple. And with their help, that’s just what he did.

In July 2016 Brigham was released from jail with little more than his hope for a better future. But with the one-on-one guidance Bill and Kay provided, Brigham found a safe place to live, got a job—a difficult task for someone with a criminal record and one that wouldn’t have happened without the Geists’ personal recommendation—and prepared to enter the temple. And with his commitment to attend the Addiction Recovery Program and other support groups regularly, Brigham is happy with the progress he has made.

The relationship Kay and Bill have developed with Brigham runs deeper than a calling. “I love them,” Brigham shares. “I can be real with them, and I know there’s no judgment.” When Brigham found a new apartment, the Geists were there to help him move. For his birthday, Kay showed up with a homemade Boston cream pie—his favorite—to help him celebrate. And they continue to plan temple trips so Brigham can enjoy the blessings of regular temple attendance.

The Geists have learned a very important lesson through this Church-service mission. Where once they may have judged the men in jail blindly, now they see them as God sees them—cherished children worthy of guidance and love. And as Kay shares, “It doesn’t take long to love them.” Bill agrees. “Yes,” he says emphatically. “These are His children, and they are worth our time.”

Through this Church-service mission, Bill and Kay Geist have come to know for themselves the truthfulness of two important scriptures: “If it so be that you should labor . . . and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy” (D&C 18:15), and “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).