BETA

Missionary moments: 'Have patience'

In 1965, I was stationed with the U.S. Air Force in Ohio at a radar site near Wright Patterson Air Force Base. One man from Utah on our team was not like the rest of the team.

He would never join in our parties and always seemed to be at peace with himself, something that I wasn't. We talked about many different things, and religion came up. I found he was a Mormon, and he told me many things about his faith. One thing that really stuck with me was Christ's visit to America. That seemed to make a lot of sense.

Two years later, I was assigned to Okinawa, an island in the Pacific 400 miles south of Japan. I was not able to take my wife, Alice, with me at that time. One Sunday morning I decided to attend the base chapel and asked a friend if he would like to go. His name was Lt. Woody. He said he hadn't been to church for a long time, but said he would like to go to his church and that I was welcome to go with him, which I did. It was fast Sunday, and I was impressed with the testimonies, so I decided to find out more.

I made an appointment with the stake missionaries, but I also went to the library and checked out everything available about the Mormons, both pro and con. As I read, especially from the Book of Mormon and A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, the truth rang loud and clear, and I knew what was true even though I read many anti-Mormon books. I put Moroni's promise to the test, and I prayed, and I received the answer promised in Moroni 10:4-5.

I was excited and wrote to my wife, but to her this wasn't good news. Three months later, she arrived and we met with the missionaries, but it didn't go well. I went to the bishop. Being a wise bishop, he told me that the important thing at that time was my family, and that some day my wife would come to know that the Church was true. He said to have patience.

After 2 1/2 years on Okinawa, we returned to the U.S. Eventually, we were sent to Little Rock (Ark.) Air Force Base. A year later, I was sent on temporary duty to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, while my wife stayed in Arkansas. At this time in our lives, we knew we needed to find something for our children, 11 and 13. My wife decided to send them to summer Bible school, but the teachings didn't agree with our beliefs. My wife and a neighbor knelt in prayer together seeking answers. The next morning, missionaries from the Church came knocking on our door. She said that she had to let them in for she knew that Heavenly Father had sent them.

On Oct. 27, 1971, we entered the waters of baptism and we have never looked back and now we are serving a mission in Papeete, Tahiti.

Elder Jerry D. Henley, Tahiti Papeete Mission

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