“All my life I have been able to hear the whispering voice of the Spirit saying, ‘Come, follow me,’ and that has led me in my decisions in life,” says Elder William Rawsel Bradford, president of the Chile Santiago Mission since July 1975, and newly called to be a General Authority in the Church as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
“I would like to challenge the youth to keep their lives clean so that the Spirit can dwell in them. If they do that while young, they will be worthy for mission calls. Then, when they are called, the channel will be open through which missionary work is done. I have a great love for missionary work and believe this is the time of harvest.”
Born in Springville, Utah, to Rawsel W. and Mary Waddoups Bradford on October 25, 1933, Elder Bradford fondly remembers as a child accompanying his parents to the Temple Bureau Mission in Hawaii in 1944, where his father presided and where the 12-year-old boy was ordained a deacon. Later he graduated from Springville, Utah, high school and attended Brigham Young University. He left school to fill a mission in Japan from 1953 to 1955; and on his return married Mary Ann Bird of Mapleton, Utah, in the Salt Lake Temple. Inducted into the U.S. Army in 1955, he served three years, and was servicemen’s group leader in Fort Devens, Massachusetts.
Later the Bradfords moved to Texas to grow citrus and truck garden crops, and Brother Bradford formed and became president and general manager of the International Fruit Growers and Shippers, Inc., in McAllen, Texas. The company is now managed by his brother, Richard Bradford, and a brother-in-law, William H. Bingham.
Elder Bradford served for eight years as a counselor in the Texas Mission district presidency, and then as district mission president. He also served on the mission auxiliary board, as elders quorum president, and at the time of his call to the mission, as president of McAllen Branch.
The Bradfords have six children, a married daughter in Texas, and five younger, from 8 to 18 years, all of whom are attending the international school in Chile.
“I really thought that a call to be mission president was the ultimate shock that a person could receive, until this call came,” Elder Bradford commented. “I have a great love for the prophet and the sure knowledge that Jesus Christ directs the work through him.” Elder and Sister Bradford will continue to preside over the Chile Santiago Mission.