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August 7, 2014

Leadership Missionaries

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Best @ 4:44 pm

We are happy to share some details of our mission with you. We were called to the Florida Tampa Mission.  We reported to the Provo MTC on April 1st for training. On April 11 we left for our mission in Florida.  Before we left we read Ralph’s Grandma and Grandpa Cutler’s history.  We learned that when his grandpa was the same age as Ralph and his Grandma was the same age as Aileen they were also called to a mission in Florida.

So like Grandma and Grandpa we started our drive to Florida.   One difference was we fortunately had air conditioning for which we were grateful.  When we arrived in Florida we were given the assignment to work in the mission office.  They needed assistance in the finance area so we spent three days of the week helping in that area.  The rest of the other days we spent time working as Member Leadership Missionaries as we were called.  We started out working in the New Tampa Ward with Bishop Bailey.  When we went to church on the first Sunday and introduced ourselves and told them we had been called to work in their ward his counselor said, “You guys are like manna from Heaven.”

Bishop Bailey gave us a list of 20 people to start with and we went to work.  This ward covered an area of 12 miles long by 4 miles wide with 440 members.  We would choose 5 or 6 names every day and then we would have a prayer and go in the car to start searching. We knocked on doors.  Some would let us in and sometimes they would slam the door (not very often however) and sometimes they would just plain lie about who they were. We always could feel the spirit of the Lord with us.  It was hard to find some of these addresses even with the GPS, but on two occasions the GPS lead us to an address which was not the address we had put into the GPS, but was where we needed to be. A small miracle in itself, because the place we were to be in both cases were at least a mile away, but the GPS stopped us at these places and after knocking on the door we found who we were looking for.

In one instance she verified who she was and then when we tried to verify her address she got really, really upset and started yelling at us.  She said, “That is all you want the church keeps calling me for a correct address.  They don’t care about me.”  We told her we did care about her that is why we were at her door.  She continued to tell at us about the way she had been treated at the church when she attended.  Finally she said something that made sense to us.  I said to Ralph she has been offended by somebody.  She looked and me and in a calm voice said,  “you are right.” Then we were able to have a pleasant conversation with her. She agreed to attend church and she did. The Bishop went to visit her. We found that she knew a lot of ward members because she had been active before she was offended. We learned who had offended her from some other ward members. It wasn’t just one person it was a whole family from the Grandpa and Grandma down to all their children, spouses and children who all lived in the ward.  It was interesting to watch how she was treated and she was very forgiving.  It taught us a good lesson about being forgiving and about how to be friends to everyone. Velma Augillar became a good friend to us.

After 5 or 6 months we had sent out 110 members who had either moved or died.  We found one man who had been dead for 9 years and no one had ever checked on him.

At this time the mission President asked us to work in two other wards.  The area for one of the wards was ½ hour away.  We had already been traveling about 2000 miles a month in our car.  So this was an added challenge.  Again we had a spiritual experience each day.   We made many new friends and helped many people.  It would have been wonderful if there had been a couple to replace us to help work with some members we had been trying to help continue.

We love the Gospel and we were so happy we could share with others.  It was a wonderful experience.

-Ralph and Aileen Walker

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