Mark Albright is the president of the Washington DC South mission and shares these missionary stories with Meridian Magazine. This letter comes from Sister Enid Schoes
If you want to share a missionary story, send it to [email protected]. Please note the names of new converts and investigators may be changed to maintain privacy.
Dear President Albright,
It was spring of 1966. I had no knowledge of Mormons. I attended a little church of England church called St. Lukes Doseley Shropshire England. Usually I would take my two sons with me, but this particular Sunday I was on my own. Walking home to Wellington Telford Shropshire, after the service along the beautiful country lanes (very little traffic! ) I stopped and leaned on a gate into a field and was pondering and I said out loud, “Why don’t I feel anything when I am in that church?” I heard a voice say, “I don’t want you to go to that church.” I felt no fear at the voice and finished my walk home. I did not go to the church again (which caused me problems where I worked at the local school. The supervisor was the bell ringer at that church. She got pretty mad at me for not coming!)
A couple of weeks went by and I had taken my boys to school, returned home and taken out the vacuum cleaner. I sat down thinking, “What can I do about a church?” Immediately there was a knock on the door (which I would not have heard had I been busy vaccuuming). Two young men stood there on the balcony (we lived in a block of flats). One said, “We have a brief message about Jesus Christ.” I saw they had this bright light around them and I said, “I know, I’ve been waiting for you. You have come to bring me the truth. Please come in.” I was not at all in the habit of inviting strangers into my home! But these two were definitely different!
They came in and we talked and everything they said seemed so familiar, as if it was something I already knew but had somehow forgotten. They were very excited, which made no sense to me at that time. Then they asked if they could they go and bring two other missionaries like them to meet me. I said, “Yes, if you are quick because I have to go out to work soon.” They soon returned with the others. The older man introduced himself as Elder Schmit from Switzerland. He said he was a Zone Leader on a split with the two who had knocked on my door, who were called Elder Patrick Jensen and Elder Craig Bradley. I think they were both from Utah. Elder Jensen was deaf I believe. But he said he heard what I said at the door.
Then Elder Schmit asked me what made me say what I said when I opened the door. I replied, “They have this light, some kind of power I’ve never seen before, all around them, and you both have it too.” They all got terribly excited at this. I said, ” I know that power is so great that if you tell me to step off my balcony and I shall be safe till I reach the ground, I know it will be so.” Even greater excitement! We were three stories up!
About then I had to leave for work. So an appointment was made for an evening when my husband Peter would be home from work. Back in 1966 you had to pay for a Book of Mormon so I happily bought one. This caused my husband to decide on his return home that evening that they were book salesmen! He was afraid they would return with other books to sell us! However I knew what I had felt. It was true. My neighbours said I was crazy to let them in. My older sister wrote me saying she would never speak to me again if I joined. My mom was also pretty mad at me. But how could I deny what I KNEW to be true? Eventually we were baptized on Sept 22nd 1966 at Newcastle-under Lyme Staffordshire chapel (located about 35 miles away there being no chapel locally at that time.
I should tell you my husband had a smoking problem and so it took a while for him, BUT one night he had a dream in which he said he was walking along the street and two missionaries came up to him. (Not the two we knew at the time) and asked him to go with them which he did. They went to a big house with THREE flights of stairs and they all went up, first one then a second to a third flight and knocked on a door and my husband went inside into a beautiful room. Jesus was sitting at a desk and He said, “Peter, I need you to work for me in this area. Will you do that?” Peter said, “Yes,” and woke up and said he knew without any doubt the Church was true. So we were able to be baptized at the same time! It was so wonderful. We were baptized by Elder Gary L. Bengtzen and Elder Karl W. Weber both of Utah and who I met up with again when I served a mission in The Family History centre in Salt Lake City!
My sister took two years before she spoke to me again. But I knew it was the true Church of Jesus Christ, so nothing else mattered. My husband really did work so hard for the Lord. He wrote to local newspapers and organized dinners etc., to get us known by the local people (the local Vicar of the Church of England preached against us on Sundays). Peter and some others went along and talked to the Vicar, then eventually we were kind of accepted and now 45 years later we have two chapels in our area! Though it was a lot of hard work, it was so very worthwhile! We have three of our children with temple marriages and bringing up families in the gospel. My husband Peter went to work in the Spirit world eleven years ago this week having served the Lord in this area as he promised. He eventually served on four bishoprics. It’s been a roller coaster ride, but I would hate to have missed it! I have served often in various church callings, including being the first Stake Primary President for the Newcastle -under Lyme Stake. Serving the Lord is such an honor. I am constantly amazed that He would trust us!
My regards to you,
Sister Enid Schoes