A mission for us? My husband and I were past retirement age, yet President Spencer W. Kimball seemed to be looking right at us as he explained in a conference session that older couples were needed in the mission field. (“Let Us Move Forward and Upward,” Ensign, May 1979, p. 82.) The decision did not come easy to us, but come it did, and we found ourselves being interviewed by our bishop, then by our stake president. Even at this early stage we began to experience blessings and surprises.
We had not advertised our house for rent, but suddenly there was a couple at our door who said they were looking for a large house. In calling a real estate agent, they had somehow connected with a wrong number, and the voice on the wire said that he didn’t deal in rentals but he knew of a couple who were going on a mission and perhaps their house would be available. He gave them our address.
When our call came for the Washington Seattle Mission, we were delighted. Our oldest son had served a mission in that area, and we felt well acquainted with it.
Some months later we were interviewed by our district leader, and he asked in what way our testimonies had grown since being in the mission field. My response was that I was surprised at the strength of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. I remember so vividly the help, inspiration, and personal revelations I had received in fulfilling my church and vocational callings; but when we sat with investigators and bore witness of the truthfulness of this gospel, there was a power there that is impossible to describe. We saw men who had been engaged in rough work all their lives, and who confessed they had never prayed except with a quick telegraph prayer, get down on their knees and pour out their hearts to a loving Heavenly Father. We saw their lives change.
Although we planted the seed, we were totally dependent upon the Lord for the harvest. A young man whose wife was a lively member of this Church consented to listen to the discussions. He received the first few with great delight. Then, suddenly, before our next appointment, the world got to him and he sent word for us not to come again.
We prayed and felt that we should go back, but not just then. We continued to ask the Lord for direction, and three weeks later we felt the Spirit’s confirmation that we should go to him on the following Wednesday. We prayed to know the right time, and again felt the influence of the Spirit. We knew Wednesday morning wasn’t the right time. In the afternoon we prayed again, and the answer came with urgency, “NOW.”
We immediately left our apartment, but on the way I stopped at a store to drop off a roll of film. As I put that roll on the counter a feeling of force enveloped me and the Spirit seemed almost offended as the word was repeated in my mind, “NOW!” I felt propelled out of that store and into our car. Three minutes later we were at the door of our friend. He had been reading the Book of Mormon and was thinking about us. As we talked, he became willing to listen to the discussions again.
We were constantly amused, and a little amazed, at our lack of concern for our small apartment, our not-so-comfortable couch and chairs, and other comforts of home. We had to improvise when guests came, but neither we nor they were embarrassed.
We loved our association with the splendid elders and sisters of our mission. We were touched when an elder who was being transferred from our district said, “I looked up my new district to see if there was a missionary couple there. I hoped there would be, but there isn’t.” He was genuinely disappointed.
We are thankful for President Kimball’s message and the impact it had on us. A mission for couples? Certainly! What is it like? It is filled with wonderful surprises.