Missionaries are often heroes to Church members as they work to preach the gospel and save souls. But in Albany, Ga., two elders became heroes to townspeople for having saved lives as well.
Elder Matthew Sorensen and Elder Craig Hudson were at their apartment about 1 p.m., waiting for an important phone call when they noticed the roof of a neighboring condominium on fire. They normally would not have been home, but for some reason they were on June 22, 1992.Both elders jumped into action to help their neighbors. Elder Sorensen ran to warn building residents while Elder Hudson dialed 911.
The fire was spreading rapidly as Elder Sorensen hammered on doors yelling, "Get out, the building is on fire!" All but one of the five families at home hurried to safety. One woman had to be convinced by seeing the raging fire with her own eyes. The elders assisted one family carry an infant and other children out of their flaming apartment.
Thanks to prompt action by the elders and a quick response by the fire department, no one was hurt. The building, however, was destroyed.
Lending what comfort they could, the elders stayed with shocked residents, and had the chance to place copies of the Book of Mormon with the victims.
"Everything they had was lost," Elder Sorensen explained, "but at least they begin with a precious book as their first new possession."
Elder Sorensen of Layton, Utah, and Elder Hudson of Pocatello, Idaho, met at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, 22 months ago and were serving as companions for the first time in the Georgia Macon Mission when the fire occurred. Their heroic efforts were noted in the local press in Albany.
Since then the missionaries have been better received in the community and many recognize or wave to them as they ride by on their bicycles. "I think it really helped people see a different image of the Church," Elder Sorensen said.
Through it all, the elders said they felt blessed to be in the right place at the right time. They seemed to be guided in what to do as they helped their neighbors. - Elder Ray T. and Sister Val C. Wilcox, Georgia Macon Mission