Vignette: The Missionary Who Waited … and Waited

P. Ocampo Jr.


The Missionary Who Waited … and Waited

Elder Craig Proctor and his companion had to wait for every appointment with Julieta Villanueva Bulan Ledesma, a 5-foot nutrition graduate from Philippine Women’s University and mother of four (a girl and three boys), who had a fierce determination to resist the efforts of the two towering missionaries in converting her to the Church.

She found all the excuses to make them wait expecting that, by taxing them to the limit of their patience, they would be exasperated with her. One time, she started to wash a huge bundle of clothes when the two came for another appointment, hoping that they will get the message and leave her alone, not to return anymore. But, Elder Proctor and his companion were not to be discouraged and, at that time and other times, they held fast to their positions in the battle of the long wait. And, then, the moment long awaited by the diminutive Julieta came. The persistent Elder Proctor was transferred. At last, Julieta thought, the battle of nerves was won by her.

There was no apparent reason for Julieta to shy away from the missionaries. Her husband was then 1st Counselor in the Bishopric under Bishop Robert Evans of Makati I Ward. She was, in fact, already active in Church, serving an assignment as non-member Home Making Teacher under the guidance of Sis. Doris Scott, President of the Makati Ward Relief Society.

She was like any other member, attending Church functions and services, but the thought of baptism was still farthest from her mind. She was determined to remain in the faith she was born into. And, that was that, until …

During an unguarded moment, she saw her husband alone in her room, kneeling in fervent prayer, and a very strong feeling tugged at her heart, knowing that her husband was beseeching the Lord to show her the way and the light.

On July 20, 1974, two years, five months and one week after her husband was converted to the Church, Julieta was baptized at the Quezon City chapel. Elder Proctor was there, and great joy was in their hearts as her husband immersed her in the baptismal font.

Autumn of 1975, on October 1 to be exact, Bro. Craig Proctor stood impatiently at the doorway of his home at Oneida Street in Salt Lake City, waiting … This was the longest wait ever. He was expecting the arrival of two close friends from the Philippines, and the minutes ticked on like days.

And then, two familiar figures came into view. His heart leaped with joy as he ran towards them with tears in his eyes. His two friends from the Philippines also cried unashamedly as they embraced him on the street.

For Bro. Proctor, the missionary who waited and waited, another chapter in his book of life had been written.—P. Ocampo, Jr.

Editor’s Note: On October 6, 1975, Bro. Jacinto L. Ledesma and Sis. Julieta were sealed for eternity in the Salt Lake Temple.