Missionary Moment: The Church Gives Us a Worldwide Family
Contributed By Kathryn H. Ipson, Church News contributor
- No matter where you are in the world, you have a family in fellow members of the Church.
In 1997 my husband and I were serving a Church Educational System mission in South Africa and Botswana. Our seminary and institute students were the best. One institute student, Candice Nish, from the Roodepoort South Africa Stake, was being sent to Rhode Island in June 1997 to help with the World-Scholar Athlete Games that were being played there, and a seminary student, Gaeboloki Gabotepele from Botswana, was going to Rhode Island as a runner at the same time.
We didn’t hear about Gaeboloki going to the United States until she and Candice had already left. We were sorry we were not able to get them together. However, a few weeks later Candice shared the following story with us:
“Recently, at the Second World-Scholar Athlete Games held in Rhode Island, I was working in the press room as an alumni volunteer. One afternoon there was a girl from Botswana who came in with a counselor, and she was crying. The counselor couldn’t really make out what she was saying because of her African accent. Because I am from South Africa, I thought I could maybe help her. There were many students from all over the world who were missing home and were upset. I knew the feeling from the last time I was there, so I went over and asked if I could maybe help.
“As I walked over to them, I noticed that the girl was wearing a CTR ring, so I asked her if she was a Mormon. She looked at me in surprise and said, ‘Yes.’ When I told her I was also a Mormon, she started crying even more and said, ‘I’ve finally found one!’ I told the counselor that she was OK now, and I could take care of her for the rest of the day. It was great meeting her. We found out that she knew many of the same people that I did because we were in the same stake. We hadn’t met each other before because I was in young single adults, and she was in Young Women. She was now excited to go to YSA because then we would see each other at conventions and conferences.
“We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening together speaking about the Church and our beautiful countries. I realize how thankful I am to be a member of a worldwide Church who has a family wherever I go.”
Several years ago when President Gordon B. Hinckley was encouraging couples to serve missions, he said that when you are old you will be able to sit in your rocking chairs and remember all the wonderful experiences you had while serving missions. So true. The above story is just one recorded in our journal.
—Sister Kathryn H. Ipson is from the Cedar 16th Ward, Cedar City Utah Cross Hollow Stake.