Go to Work Now!
When the alarm clock went off at one o’clock on a cold Monday morning in January, Bart Love hit the snooze button. His work shift didn’t start for three hours, but he planned to go in early, as he often did, to do paperwork. But now, in his warm, comfortable bed, he thought he would wait just a while longer before getting up. Then a strong feeling came over him that he should get up and go to work now. So by 1:30 he was on the road.
It was a foggy morning, and the icy roads were especially slick after a recent rainfall and freezing temperatures. Thinking how awful it would be to slide off the road in this kind of weather, Bart drove carefully, trying to keep track of his location just in case he did go off the road.
As he came upon a particularly icy portion of road that went over a bridge, he noticed some lights off to the right. Looking more closely, he realized he was seeing the taillights of someone’s car sticking up out of the water!
He pulled his truck as far off the side of the road as he dared and got out. After checking the depth of the freezing water with a stick, he walked waist deep to the vehicle and called out to anyone who might be there. A teenage girl’s voice answered. She said she was trapped in the car. The car was upside down in the water, and she had managed to find about a five-inch air pocket in the backseat area. The windows were broken and the doors jammed. Bart tried but could not open a door to get her out. He told her he would quickly go to a nearby house to call for help and then be right back.
After asking someone at the nearest home to phone for emergency help, he returned to the girl to wait with her in the freezing water. Unable to see her in the darkness, Bart held her hand through the broken window and continued to talk to her, hoping to keep her calm and conscious. He avoided asking direct questions about what had happened or how long she had been there. She answered each of his questions and continually thanked him for finding her.
When rescue units arrived to help the girl out of the car, Bart slipped away and returned home for a quick shower and dry clothes before heading off again to work. He later learned that the paramedics who had responded to the emergency call said the girl’s body temperature had been so low that she would not have survived another 20 minutes in the freezing water. As it was, she walked away with no permanent damage to her body.
The girl and her parents were very grateful that Bart had found her when he did, and he was grateful that he had heeded the prompting not to delay but to go into work—now.
My Friend “Milkshake”
In February 1958, at age 17, I entered the U.S. Navy. After boot camp I was sent aboard an aircraft carrier, where I met Raymond Bruce Covington, from Provo, Utah.
I thought Raymond was a bit strange—no smoking, no drinking, no cursing, no nothing. I asked him what he did for enjoyment. He said he did a lot of things, but mostly what he enjoyed was either starting or ending his day with one or two big milk shakes. So Raymond was given the nickname “Milkshake.”
After the lights went out at night, Raymond would tell me about his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was really quite interested until he told me that if I joined his church, I could not hold the priesthood. That did not go over well with me. Seeing my agitation, Raymond expressed his feeling that perhaps one day the priesthood would be available to me.
As time went by I began to favor Raymond above all my friends because of the way he carried himself. After a while I found I had ceased to live the kind of life I had been living, and I wanted to do the right thing. He made me realize I didn’t have to curse or drink alcohol to be “cool.” I could make the choice to live a righteous life.
One day several of the guys were sitting on the deck gambling. One of them looked up at Raymond and said, “Milkshake! Say this curse word and you can have all the money in the pot!” I quickly counted the money and found the total to be $240. That was two months’ pay! I figured that since he and I were buddies, he would give me half. But to my dismay, Raymond would not curse. I pleaded with him, but he said, “No way!” He didn’t believe in that kind of talk.
What a guy he was! I knew then that to be a true Latter-day Saint was a sacred thing.
Raymond was discharged in June 1961, and I was discharged in October that year. I got married soon after and eventually became a merchant seaman. I sailed all over the world, often wondering whatever happened to my old navy friend.
One day many years later, in 1990, while looking out the window of my home in Washington state, I spotted two nicely dressed young men. They were missionaries for the Church, and I invited them in. After talking with them a little while, I found out that Raymond’s hopes had come true: a revelation had been received in 1978 directing that all worthy males could receive the priesthood. I was elated. After receiving the missionary lessons, a date was set for my baptism.
About this time I told a neighbor, also a member of the Church, about my friendship with Raymond Covington. I had no idea the neighbor would go to Utah and actually find Raymond. Two weeks later my old friend drove more than 1,000 miles to Gig Harbor, Washington, to speak at my baptism. He said he always knew that someday I would join the Church.
We both knew that many miles and many years could not separate two real friends and now brothers in the gospel.
In December 1997, I got a call from Raymond’s daughter telling me he had passed away. I was saddened by the news, but I smile now when I think of the reunion two sailor boys, Rocky and his friend Milkshake, will someday have on the other side of the veil.
Help from the Other Side
One day in 1903, my grandfather Conrad Trost stopped to listen to two Latter-day Saint missionaries preach the gospel on an Australian street corner. He joined the Church, and since that time there have been many active members in my family. Out of gratitude for what Grandfather Trost did for us, I had a burning desire to seek after his ancestors so that the temple work might be done for them.
Before my mother died, I asked her several times, “Mum, when you return home to the other side, will you tell your family we need help down here to do their work?” A few months after she passed away, several interesting events opened the Trost line to temple work.
In January 1988, my cousin Elva (whose maiden name is Trost) and her husband, Bruce Mitchell, went to Germany on business. My great-grandfather Justus David Trost had come to Australia in 1863 from the German village of Frankenberg, and Elva said that during their trip they would go to the village to find out what they could about the family line. Though we already had some information, our research had seemed to come up against a closed door. I prayed that a door of opportunity would open for Elva and Bruce.
Upon reaching the village they checked the phone book, and there were several Trosts, but because neither Elva nor Bruce spoke German, they decided to visit the families in person.
Searching out addresses in the little village, they became lost. When Bruce stopped the car to ask for directions, Elva happened to look up at an old nearby hotel with a sign that read “Trost Proprietor.”
Elva and Bruce used gestures to help them communicate with a woman at the front desk. Becoming excited, she called to a man and spoke to him, and in due course he beckoned Elva and Bruce to follow him down an old cobblestone street to a little house. A woman named Elizabeth, who spoke broken English, invited them in.
Elizabeth’s maiden name was also Trost, and she produced for Elva and Bruce the Trost family history dating back to 1587. She told them of an American family who were members of the Church and who had visited several years before also searching for their Trost ancestors. A door had opened wide on my family history.
I began corresponding with both Elizabeth and that American branch of the Trost family. The Americans were as delighted to know about their Australian relatives as I was to discover them. Elizabeth was a great help searching out other family records in old churches in Germany.
I marvel to think how so many “coincidences” could happen at just the right time, and I have come to believe that we had help from the other side of the veil. This trip brought my family history to a place where we could submit centuries of our family generations to the temple so that our ancestors could receive their own ordinances, changing the lives of many Saints, living and dead.