|TRIBUTE PAGE - BRETHREN||
When my wife and I married, she was LDS and I Catholic. For four years I visited the church with her but didn't join. One of the things that impressed me during that period was the generosity and support from her Home Teacher. We received a call late one night that we needed to "rescue" my 9 month old niece. Her mother, my sister, was in a hospital (long-term) and her husband had just been arrested. It was either us or foster care. We drove 7 hours to Watertown, NY stayed nearly a week hoping the husband would be freed from jail (nope), then returned home with an infant. We had no children and nothing for a baby. The Home Teacher came to our rescue. He supplied baby furniture, bought a big box of diapers, suggested a relative of his as a daycare provider, etc. Other ward members offered suggestions for diaper rash and other problems we encountered. This all contributed to my later conversion when I pondered the statement "By their fruits ye shall know them".
Gary Kibble, Elders Quorum President,
Yorktown Ward, Yorktown New York Stake, USA
My wife and I had lost our first child in Sep of 90 to a prolonged heart disease. She had been 2½. I took a job offer to move from Orange County, CA to Charlotte, NC. It was culture shock, to say the least. We did not feel like we fit in anywhere. We were also still grieving the loss of our daughter and desperately needed loving support.
We went to church our first Sunday there wanting open arms flung around us and warm smiles and friendships to be made on the spot. Of course that did not happen and we felt really alone. Here we were thousands of miles from our friends and family, and not even our fellow LDS families cared. We were really having a pity party for ourselves.
By a wonderful stroke of divine inspiration, one brother had thought to obtain our address and phone number. We, of course, did the only logical thing we could think of, we quit going to church. (I must take the time to say here, that when the emotions are in the way, that is what going inactive feels like.) After three weeks, and the beginning of the new month, along came our home teachers. They were two very kind and caring men. They approached us boldly, offering help and sincerely wanting to know how our family was doing. We let them in and talked and not once were we pressured into coming back (which is the BIG reason why inactive members dread their home teachers! ). They simply cared. Told us the meeting schedules before they left and departed by saying they hoped to see us out one Sunday. Very low pressure, but planted the seed that made us think.
The following month they came and the visit went the same. This was December now, and they called later in the month to see if we would allow them and the sister missionaries come over to give a Christmas message to us. By this time we had trust and genuine friendship for our home teachers, so we said sure. It was a very emotional gathering. We felt comfortable enough to let out some of our sorrow over our daughter and we expressed our desires to return to church, which we did.
Let me just say that had it not been for those brothers doing their home teaching in such a kind and loving manner, my family might still be inactive. They did such a wonderful and caring job. I also want to say that they were there all through our time in that ward as well. About two years later we had to move. They were there to help us move as well. We owe them a great deal, so we pay back their kindness by magnifying our home teaching and visiting teaching callings and hoping that we can make a difference as they did.
After 20 years in a temple marriage with 6 children and a missionary in the field I found myself in the middle of a divorce. I was working in California and traveling home to Utah every two weeks.
A brother who was home teaching my family in Utah had occasion to travel to Los Angeles on business from time to time. Imagine my surprise when the receptionist at our corporate offices in Los Angeles called me and said that a brother Humphreys was here to see me. I met him at the entrance and took him back to my office. He told me that one of my son's had confided in him regarding family difficulties and I assured him that I was grateful for his administration to my son in my absence. It is the rare home teacher who loves a family enough that he ministers to both sides of the fence during a divorce.
He stopped several times before he moved to accept another job away from my old home town in Utah. I will never forget his patient even handed manner. Home teachers can make a great difference. That was almost five years ago.
Everyone who touches us in the gospel contributes to our ability to endure to the end through adversity. I was recently released as the Elders Quorum President in my ward and am now serving as a stake missionary. Another son is at the MTC in Provo waiting for a visa to serve a mission in France. Many of the blessings that I enjoy as a single father in Zion are the direct result of loving home teachers who have not abandoned me because they were uncomfortable with my situation.
Ron Woods, Laguna Beach Ward
Laguna Niguel California Stake, USA
I had the opportunity to talk with my brother closest to me in age two nights ago. He hasn't been very active for about the past ten years. Well he informed me that he had stopped smoking about five weeks ago and that he and his wife were coming back out to church. They had been out for two weeks in a row. Then he surprised me by saying that he basically had finally gained his own testimony and that his understanding of Our Father was deepening. We talked for two hours about the gospel. I can honestly say it was the longest time we had spent talking to each other about the gospel since my parents joined the Church 19 years ago.
What really got me excited though was just before he closed the conversation, he mentioned how much he thanked me for my example and being able to talk to him, and he extolled his Home Teachers. Well, one Home Teacher. He said he was the best Home Teacher they have ever had assigned to them. He is always contacting them, and seeing how they are doing. It really made me happy when we were done talking. And there's one Home Teacher in the Surrey First Ward that I want to thank for his perseverance and hard work.
Kim Siever, Ward Mission Leader,
Lethbridge Ninth Ward, Lethbridge Alberta West Stake, Canada
* If anyone has anything to add here, please let me know.