Nicholas Teerlink and John Sipkema served as companions in the Netherlands Mission in 1923-24. At the time of their service, they developed a spiritual bond and staunch friendship that has endured to this very day.
Now, both are 92 years old and have spent many years serving together.Nicholas Teerlink, who lives in Salt Lake City, served many years as a bishop and 27 more years as a member of the stake presidency in the Salt Lake Wells Stake (10 years as a counselor and 17 as president).
In 1964, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, called Brother Teerlink to his office and asked him if he was willing to adopt a child. Knowing Elder Kimball's great love for the Lamanite Saints, Brother Teerlink assumed that was what the Church leader was talking about. Without hesitation, he said he would be pleased to do as Elder Kimball asked.
Then with a twinkle in his eye and a friendly smile, Elder Kimball said: "It is probably not what you think that you are going to adopt. I want you to adopt into your stake a branch for Saints from the Netherlands."
With great pleasure, Brother Teerlink accepted.
Brother John Sipkema, who now lives in American Fork, Utah, was later called, in 1966, as president of the Netherlands Branch, Salt Lake Wells Stake. He had proven to be a good leader, was a native speaker of Dutch and had a loving, caring disposition. Elder LeGrand Richards, a great friend of the Dutch, set apart Brother Sipkema in his new calling.
It is interesting how similar life's experiences have been for these former missionary companions.
After returning from their missions, each married a faithful LDS young woman and was sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. Both became successful in business, Brother Teerlink owning the Teerlink Jewelry Store and Brother Sipkema owning Sipkema Dental Supply Company. Both were called to serve as sealers in the Salt Lake Temple and they are still active in those callings, with Brother Sipkema now serving in the Provo Temple.
Although each had the sorrowing experience of the death of a wife, they feel that they have been richly blessed and they know that their friendship will last eternally.