For many members of the Church, their first calling to serve away from their home ward or branch comes when they receive a mission call as a young adult. For a young Alvin Frazier Meredith III — or “Trip,” as his friends and family call him — that mission call took him to the Utah Salt Lake City Mission.
While that might not be the mission that some prospective missionaries would hope for, it was the perfect place for Elder Meredith, and it was far from the last place — or last time in Salt Lake City — where he would serve the Lord.
A little more than a decade after marrying Jennifer Denise Edgin in the Salt Lake Temple in 1998, the Meredith family found themselves in Hong Kong as part of a work assignment — a unique experience for a family with six children.
“It’s a very vertical city, so it was quite the adventure with all those strollers,” Sister Meredith said.
The family called Hong Kong home from 2010 to 2011. When they returned to the United States, Elder Meredith was called and sustained as an Area Seventy in the North America Southeast Area. He served in that capacity from 2012 to 2016 until the family moved to Asia once again for work. With the move came another calling to serve as an Area Seventy, this time in the Asia Area from 2016 to 2018.
“We count it a great blessing to have served in the buckle of the Bible Belt in the South (of the United States), and all over Asia, and in the heart of the Church here in Salt Lake,” Elder Meredith said.
Their service in Salt Lake came when he received a second mission call, this time with his wife and children, to serve in the same place where he had served as a young missionary. Elder Meredith was serving as mission president of the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission when he was called as a General Authority Seventy.
During the last decade, Elder Meredith has fulfilled Church assignments in Utah, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and North Carolina in the United States. In Asia he served in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Pakistan, China, Thailand and India.
Elder and Sister Meredith’s oldest son received his mission call while the family was living in Singapore. He was called to serve in Madagascar. And while serving in Utah, their second son received his mission call and is currently going through at-home MTC training prior to leaving to serve in Chile.
With so many opportunities to see the gospel of Jesus Christ through the lenses of individuals in over a dozen countries and states, the spiritual takeaway was easy to explain.
“We’ve learned that wherever you go, it’s the Lord’s work and it’s the Lord’s Church regardless of the language or culture they come from,” Elder Meredith said.
Sister Meredith said she first learned that principle while serving a mission of her own in Argentina as a young adult.
“That’s where I learned that the Spirit knows no language barriers,” she said. “Learning Spanish was a bit challenging at first. But I learned that when I testified, the Spirit could transcend my deficiencies.”
Despite the fact that the Merediths have lived and served in so many places around the globe, lifelong service and sacrifice in the Church isn’t a part of their heritage.
Elder Meredith’s mother is a convert to the Church. Sister Meredith’s parents are also converts.
“There were no handcarts in our family history, no crossing the Plains,” Elder Meredith said.
“We’re a product of members and missionaries working together, and we’ll forever be grateful for all those who played a part in our parents joining the Church,” he said.
Sister Meredith’s gratitude is for the simplest of actions when it comes to her family’s conversion.
“I’m so grateful that people opened their mouths,” she said. “They shared the gospel of Jesus Christ that we might receive the same blessings they enjoyed.”
Her parents were raised in other faiths, but they had questions.
“They were searching,” she said. “They had questions that nobody could answer.”
Friends and co-workers helped her parents find answers to their questions. Following a work transfer from England to South Carolina in the United States, new friends picked up where the others had left off. Eventually, the Edgin family was sealed in the Washington D.C. Temple.
Speaking of their two families, Elder Meredith said, “We come from good stock, just not pioneer stock.”
His own journey to a strong testimony of the gospel involved a challenging experience as a teenager.
“I grew up in Tennessee, surrounded by lots of really good people,” Elder Meredith said.
During Elder Meredith’s junior year of high school, he was elected by his peers to be the president of a group of Christian student athletes at his school.
Upon learning that Elder Meredith was a member of the Church, the state leadership of that group refused to recognize The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a Christian religion. That meant Elder Meredith wouldn’t be the president of his school’s chapter of the organization.
Speaking of the experience, Elder Meredith said, “It caused me to look deep at what I believed and why I believed.”
After a time, the school and Elder Meredith were told that the issue had been resolved.
In a bit of irony, at the end of his senior year of high school, he was voted by his peers as the organization’s male athlete of the year. It was only then that he learned that the organization had not actually changed its point of view on his religion.
“My coach pulled me out of my … class and said, ‘The state offices called and noticed your denomination, and you’re not going to be able to receive the award.’”
“My coach was a really good Christian man. With a little emotion, he told me, ‘I told them they needed to send someone here to explain this to you in person,’” Elder Meredith said.
The organization sent a representative from their state offices. Elder Meredith described him as “a really good man — well-intentioned, I’m sure.” He came to the school and explained 10 points of doctrine that he felt justified the decision to disqualify Elder Meredith for the award. Upon seeing a Bible in the man’s bag, Elder Meredith asked if the two of them could review some verses.
“I had a really good seminary teacher. So we turned to the scriptures and looked at each of those 10 points. We went to Chronicles and James and the Book of Revelation and Corinthians,” Elder Meredith said. “That man was not persuaded, but I was. My faith was challenged, and through the fire of that challenge, it was strengthened and has never wavered since.”
Family: Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 22, 1970, to Alvin Frazier Meredith Jr. and Mary Smartt Meredith. He married Jennifer Denise Edgin on June 6, 1998, in the Salt Lake Temple. They have six children.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brigham Young University in 1994 and a Master of Business Administration in 2001 from the University of Chicago.
Employment: Worked as a Six Sigma Black Belt for GE Capital, a consultant for Boston Consulting Group and a senior vice president for Asurion.
Church service: Was serving as president of the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission at the time of his call and had served as a young man in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission. Previous callings include Area Seventy, stake president, mission presidency counselor, bishop and Sunday School teacher.