Elder Choules’s father, Albert Choules, passed on to his son not only his name but also his love for and commitment to the gospel. Albert Choules was born in England and came to America when he was six years old. Later he returned to his native land to serve a mission. Elder Choules said, “We heard about his first mission all our lives. It shaped his life, and his talking about it helped shape our lives.
“We learned about commitment when he told us about receiving his mission call. His parents had both recently passed away and, after their burial, left him with a few debts to pay. When the bishop talked to him about going on a mission, he mentioned these debts to the bishop and said that it would take him six months to pay them if he saved everything that he could.
“At the end of the six months, the bishop returned and asked if the debts had been paid. My father said yes, but that he didn’t have any money left, adding, ‘But I’ll go, even though I don’t have a nickel to my name.’ So he went to the bank, where, because of his reputation for integrity, he was able to borrow enough money to support himself on his mission. When he returned from his mission, he worked and paid the money back.
“I don’t remember how old I was when he first told me that story, but I have remembered it all my life. It helped me understand that you do what you’re asked to do.”
After fulfilling his mission in England, Albert Choules moved to Idaho, married, and served as stake president for twenty-seven years. Elder Choules said, “My father was the stake president before I was born and was still the stake president when I went on my mission. The greatest example in my life was my father. His level of commitment to the Church was unexcelled. We always knew that the Church came first in his life. As my brother and sisters and I received our own church callings, we followed the pattern that our father had set. It has been a great blessing to follow in his footsteps.”
Elder Choules served in the Marine Corps during World War II. “When I returned from the service,” he said, “the bishop talked to me the first Sunday I went to church about going on a mission. As I thought about going on a mission, I thought that when I returned I might be too old to start college. As I look back on the day that I told the bishop that I would go, the things that motivated me the most were my father’s teaching and the fact that I had always planned on going on a mission.”
Elder Choules has a great love of the scriptures. “My mother’s favorite scripture,” he recalled, “was ‘Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers’ (D&C 112:10). She lived by that and taught it. It’s the scripture that I remember most from my parents. I developed a deeper love for the scriptures on my first mission. That deepened even more when I later served as a mission president. As the missionaries studied the scriptures, I could see the impact that the scriptures had on their lives.
“We all have difficulties in our lives. Everyone needs support and spiritual strength—some more than others, and some more frequently than others. We have little control over many events that occur, whether accidents, illness, or death of loved ones, but the sustaining influence of the Lord’s Spirit, of family, and of the people within the Church can be very supportive. My own family always has been a tremendous support. If children can understand the great blessing it is to be able to serve their families and to develop a loving relationship with their parents and brothers and sisters, they will always be there to sustain and support each other.”