Missionary moments: The crooked horn

From the mid-1960s through the 1970s, Allen Sellers of the Clarke Ward, Ririe Idaho Stake, found it a pleasure to drive to work each morning. Employment on a maintenance and construction crew in Yellowstone National Park had some distinct advantages for one who loved nature and the outdoors. During the drive, Brother Sellers would often see herds of animals grazing in the meadows near the highway. There were nearly always deer, elk, buffalo and an assortment of other wild animals. Sometimes the herds would be near the highway. It was always fun to spot that extra big buck deer or an especially magnificent bull elk.

One morning in the late 1970s, Brother Sellers noted a large bull elk with an unusually shaped crooked horn. It caused the animal to stand out individually from the rest of the herd, and so Brother Sellers began watching for the elk each morning.Another day, as he approached the place where he had seen the elk, Brother Sellers observed a car parked on the shoulder of the highway. A man had ventured forth with his camera to capture the bull on film. Brother Sellers pulled off the road and parked behind the car.

"He's a beauty, isn't he?" he commented as he approached the woman waiting by her car as her husband photographed the elk. "I have been watching him each morning as I drive by, wishing I had a camera, but I never seem to have one at the right time."

The lady responded, "If one of the pictures turns out, perhaps we could share it with you."

With this friendly exchange, their conversation continued. Brother Sellers learned that they were Mr. and Mrs. William James from Indian Springs, Colo., a small town 20 miles west of Denver. Mrs. James asked if Brother Sellers was a Mormon, and they discussed the Church. They parted as friends.

The couple did send a picture of the elk, and a friendship developed. About two months later, Brother Sellers learned a young man from his ward was to serve a mission in the Denver area. He referred the future missionary to Mr. and Mrs. James. About two years later, Brother and Sister James were baptized.

Imagine the thrill when Brother Sellers received a letter from them about two years after that. The letter was an expression of thanks and an account how Brother and Sister James and their three children had been sealed in the Salt Lake Temple - all because of a member who cared and an elk with a crooked horn.

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