Missionary Experiences





Ogden Kraut

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Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul. (D. & C. 4:2-3)


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The labor you are about to embark upon is but a preparatory mission for many more missions yet to come. (Apostle John A. Widtsoe, 1948, In Ogden’s missionary blessing)

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If every Elder had, during the last nineteen years, kept a faithful record of all that he had seen, heard, and felt of the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, the Church would now have been in the possession of many thousand volumes, containing much important and useful information. How many thousands have been miraculously healed in this Church, and yet no one has recorded the circumstances. Is this right? Should these miraculous manifestations of the power of God be forgotten and pass into oblivion? Should the knowledge of these things slumber in the hearts of those who witnessed them, and extend no farther than their own verbal reports will carry them? This negligence on the part of the servants of God ought no longer to exist. We should keep a record because Jesus has commanded it. We should keep a record because the same will benefit us and the generations of our children after us. We should keep a record because it will furnish many important items for the general history of the Church which would otherwise be lost. (Orson Pratt, Mill. Star 11:152)

[5]                              INTRODUCTION


And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. (Luke 9:3)

Traveling “without purse or scrip” has been the Lord”s method of doing missionary work in every age of the world. Every true prophet and apostle has had the experience of placing his faith and trust in God while engaged in the labors of His ministry.

We read how Elijah the prophet was three times fed by Divine intervention and when the widow woman took him in and fed him, she was blessed so that her “barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.” (I Kings 17:16)

When the ancient prophet Alma came into a wicked city, God had already prepared the way for him:

And as he entered the city he was an hungered, and he said to a man: Will ye give to an humble servant of God something to eat? And the man said unto him: I am a Nephite, and I know that thou art a holy prophet of God, for thou art the man whom an angel said in a vision: Thou shalt receive. Therefore, go with me into my house and I will impart unto thee of my food? and I know that thou wilt be a blessing unto me and my house. (Alma 8:19-20)

This same method was used by Christ in His ministry for He told His disciples:

Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ge shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ge go thence. (Matthew 10:9-11)

This would always be God’s system for the work of His ministry. It was also a test whereby we may know who are the Lord’s disciples. Only the true servants of God would venture into the ministry without purse or scrip–it would discourage frauds from entering into this kind of missionary work.

[6]           In July of 1830, only four months after the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Lord gave a revelation to His missionaries to take “no purse nor scrip, neither two coats”. (D. & C. 24:18) Two years later the Lord re-affirmed this principle to the Saints by saying:

And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power; For I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats. Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire.

And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.

Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed. (D. & C. 84:77-81)

This was a system not only to provide a blessing upon those who aided the missionary, but also to be a blessing to the missionary. It provided him with a chance to grow in faith and trust in His Lord.

Apostle George Q. Cannon said:

Every young man who goes out–as in the case of our young men who are constantly going–goes without purse or scrip. What is the result? They have to feel after God. If they want a pair of pantaloons, they have to ask God to obtain them. If they want a meal of victuals, they have to exercise faith on this account. In sending out my sons to preach the Gospel, or having them go, I would not give them one dollar to go with; and while I am on this subject I will say, the father who gives his sons money to go and preach the Gospel, does them the greatest injury he can do. I would not do it if I had millions at my disposal. I would not give them a dollar. Let them go out and feel after God, and obtain a knowledge of God, through faith and through mighty prayer. When a man is hungry; when a man is without friends; when a man has no place to sleep, he will, if he believes in God, and His gifts, be certain to go to Him and ask Him to furnish that which he needs, and when his prayers are answered he has greater faith next time. (George Q. Cannon, J.D. 24:345-346)


[7]           Apostle Orson Pratt also added:

This generation have been calling a long time for miracles; but one of the greatest miracles in the last days, in my estimation, is the fact that scores and hundreds of missionaries of the Latter-day Saints are traveling the globe, going from nation to nation, upon the principles that the ancient Apostles traveled–namely, without purse or scrip. Is not that a miracle? Has there any such thing happened before for many generations as people traveling over the whole earth, starting from their homes without purse or scrip? ***

Says one, that looks rather hard. It does not look hard at all; for that same God that gave the commandment is able to bear you up; he is able to sustain you. *** The Lord will always provide some way to get along; and the faithful servant of God has nothing to fear only his own weakness and his own imperfections and follies; these things he has to fear the most. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 6:270-271)

This was a commandment to the missionaries of this dispensation:

Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom. (D. & C. 84:86)


And, this commandment has never been revoked or changed by the Lord.


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After studying the Gospel of Christ, I also had the desire to travel in the ministry just as those prophets and apostles of old. Therefore, I asked the Lord to send me where I could fulfill a mission in obedience to that commandment.

This is the story of my mission and the priceless experiences that could not have been accomplished in any other way.



[8]                            THE MISSION CALL

In 1948 I was attending Brigham Young University and was a member of the Lakeview Ward, presided over by Bishop Madson. Although I enjoyed the university and some of the classwork, my love for the Gospel overshadowed everything else. My studies were often neglected because of the time I spent reading Church books. In visiting people or even on a date, the subject of religion was my principal topic of conversation.

I soon learned that the things a person hears or reads can greatly affect his whole life. His outlook towards money, society, worldly honors, or anything else can be completely overthrown by the revolutionary principles of the gospel. It is still one of the amazing effects of this strange force we call the gospel. Most of the people on earth seem to wander listlessly through life, not knowing where they came from, why they are here or where they are going. But when they read or hear and accept the gospel of Christ, then everything becomes clear–everything has a purpose, a meaning, and a destiny. The thrill of this knowledge causes the heart to swell with such joy and rapture that you want to share the good news with everyone else. I was under that magic spell. It was always exciting to talk about those sacred principles restored to earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

One day while I was visiting a girl who lived in Provo, she said, “You should be a missionary.” Her words seemed to ring so loud in my ears that I couldn’t forget them for many days. The desire to go on a mission seemed to also bear down upon me. I knew I would feel discontented until I had obtained that experience.

The following Sunday I went to Church with a new enthusiasm. I met the Bishop in the hallway of the chapel and said to him, “Bishop, may I see you in your office for a few minutes?” I told him that I had the desire to go on a mission–a reversal of the usual situation–and asked him if he could help me do so. His mouth dropped. I guess no one had ever come to him and asked to go on a mission. Most of the time it was difficult for him to get someone to be a missionary. When he replied, “We will be happy to send you on a mission,” I was filled with delight. He told me that he would make arrangements with the Stake President for an interview; and if all went well, I would soon be on my way to the missionfield.

Within a week the Bishop and I went to the Stake House for an appointment with the Stake President. After a short visit, they ordained me to the office of an Elder in the Church. After that I was to have another interview with Apostle Merrill of the Council of Twelve.


[9]           When the time came for me to go see Elder Merrill, I felt a little apprehensive about all the questions they usually ask, and wondered if I would meet all the qualifications. The interview went something like this:

“Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?”


“Do you use liquor?”



“I’ve never taken a puff on a cigarette in my life.”

“Do you drink tea or coffee?”

“Can’t stand the stuff!”

“What do you mean by saying that you don’t keep the Word of Wisdom?”

“Well, I eat meat in the summer; I stay up much too late at night; and …” “Oh, well, who does keep the Word of Wisdom then?” he interrupted. He laughed and gave me a copy of a talk that he had given at Conference on the subject of the Word of Wisdom.

Elder Merrill then asked me if I had any preference as to where I would like to go on my mission. I replied, “Anywhere the Lord wants me to go is satisfactory with me; however, I had often thought how nice a mission to Australia would be.” He then explained that most of the Elders are just sent wherever they are needed the most. We had a good visit; then he shook my hand and wished me well on my mission. It was time of great excitement for me because I yearned so much to preach the Gospel! In a short time I would be set apart as a missionary!




When all the preliminary paper work and foot work had been done, I was an acceptable candidate for the missionfield. It is one of those rare experiences that few people ever have the privilege to enjoy. We are all somewhat strangers in a foreign land until we arrive at that point in our life that we want to serve the Lord.


[10]         As I pondered what the missionfield would be like, I bought and read as many books as I could about missionary work. One thing greatly impressed me–how so many missionaries had gone into the missionfield and traveled “without purse or scrip.” I was so moved by their experiences that I wanted to travel through the missionfield the same way they did.

One day I knelt down by my bed and asked the Lord if He would let me go into the missionfield the way those early missionaries did. It was a strange request, knowing that it was much more difficult to travel without purse or scrip than in the conventional missionary system. Little did I know how strange that request would be answered.

I had heard that occasionally the missionaries in Australia had gone without purse or scrip because they had to travel great distances between homes. They were far from any city, so the people would usually feed them and give them a place to stay. Then they would be off to the next family many miles away. It was for this reason that I mentioned to Apostle Merrill that I would like to go to Australia; otherwise, it meant no more to me than any other place.




When I came to the Church Offices to be set apart for the missionfield, I was called into the office of Apostle John A. Widtsoe. We had a short but interesting visit, and then he placed his hands on my head and set me apart for the ministry. The following words seemed to sink in deep and I have never forgotten them:

This labor you are about to embark upon is but a preparatory mission for many more missions yet to come.

Whatever else he said has been long forgotten, but those words are still held in my hopes and desires. They are indelibly imprinted on my mind as though the Lord really did have other missions for me throughout my life.

Years later I realized that everyone should be eagerly engaged in the work of the Lord–that everyone can be doing some sort of work or mission for the Lord throughout his life. Serving a two-year mission is not meant to be the end of one’s work for the Lord.


[11]         I once heard an old white-haired man get up to bear his testimony. He said he was thankful to the Lord for many things in his life, but most of all he was thankful for his mission in the South Pacific Islands. Tears poured down his face as he recalled his experiences in the missionfield. Then he said, “Those were the best years of my life.”

Later I thought how terrible it would be to believe that the best years of your life occurred when you were a young man. I came to the conclusion then that the most recent two or three years of a man’s life should be as worthwhile and as fulfilling to the Lord as any other time. Each passing year should be a little more spiritual, a little more rewarding, and should be the best year of a man’s life. Life should be progressive, with an eternal increase of everything that is good.

When I was given the authority of the Priesthood, I also received a beautiful blessing:

The Lord knew thee in the beginning for thou wert a valiant spirit that fought Lucifer and his hosts for the free agency of man, and gave glory to God. And because of thy worthiness in the spirit life, thou were chosen to come in the dispensation of the fullness of times.

Inasmuch as it is thy desire to become a minister of the gospel, thy guardian angel will be with thee night and day to direct thee in His work. Thou shalt be protected wherever thou shalt go, whether by boat, bus, or train.

Put thy faith and trust in the Lord. He shall lead thee as a lantern before thy feet to give thee guidance and protection. Thou shalt be warned in advance of any dangers. Thou shalt be led to those who are seeking truth and shall bring many souls unto Christ. They shall rejoice in the truths thou shall bring and they shall bless thee with love and kindness.

Thou shalt administer relief to those who are sick and afflicted, for thou shalt have the occasion to exercise the gifts and powers that have been given to thee and thy heart shall swell with unspeakable joy in serving the Lord in his work.

Be clean and pure and humble before the Lord. Be prayerful by night and by day. And as thou shalt seek the scriptures thy mind shall grow with wisdom and knowledge of the truth; and thy understanding shalt be great in the goodness of the Lord.

Thou shalt return home as a great warrior that has been faithful and triumphant in his calling, for thou art possessed of the power of revelation.


[12]         When I entered the mission home, I was very much impressed with the calibre of young men who were going on missions. They were all filled with that new light of the gospel ministry. To be among such a group of young men, dedicated to the Lord and His work, was one of those memorable experiences of life that not many men ever have. I knew I belonged here, even though I felt like a tenderfoot. We all knew very little about the scriptures, and had even less missionary background to qualify us as ministers of the gospel; but we were willing and eager to meet the challenge.

I felt very enthusiastic about being a missionary; but while in the mission home, I met an elder by the name of Carter, who was probably filled with more of the spirit than anyone else. We seemed to be attracted to each other and soon became good friends. He received his call to Japan, while mine was for Southern California; however, we had the occasion to work in the same district in California for a few weeks because his ship to Japan was on strike. We would get together on the weekends and compare stories, experiences and our testimony of missionary work. One of Elder Carter’s companions told me that he never saw or heard a missionary like him. Elder Carter would stand at people’s doorstep and bear a testimony until the people would have tears rolling down their face. He was a dynamo, and I always enjoyed being with him. It was a very sad day for both of us when we had to part–but we managed to keep up a correspondence for much of our time in the missionfield.

As we journey through life, we occasionally meet people who have this certain familiarity–as though we had met before, or that we might have been friends in another world. And perhaps we instinctively know that we will be friends in the world to come, for friendship is not a temporal aspect of our life but rather an eternal one. Family and friends are just as eternal as any other phase of existence. Some people may be associated with us for many years–where we work or live–but they never really develop the closeness that someone else may make in just a few minutes of acquaintance.

It is written that Israel should gather together–not just because they are commanded to, or forced to, but rather for the reason that they are drawn to each other by the things they feel in their heart and believe in their mind. Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice,” which designates a separation of sheep from goats. This designates a difference between people. Those who know the Shepherd’s voice have heard it before. It has a familiar ring. When men teach the fullness of the Gospel, it has a drawing appeal to some, while it has a negative or unattractive sound to others. Those who believe the gospel find themselves drawn together. Thus, all those who respond to the [13] Shepherd’s voice are attracted by similar feelings and desires. These kinds of people become fast friends–and perhaps everlasting friends. Although we may experience only a short acquaintance with some friends here in mortality, that common gospel friendship draws people together for an eternal union. This is the heritage of the best people on earth. These were my feelings about Elder Paul Carter and a host of other people that I would meet in the next two years in the missionfield.




The night finally arrived for my farewell talk at the Lakeview Ward in Provo. It was a rather difficult situation because everyone comes to these farewell meetings to listen as though they were measuring the elder to see if he would qualify as a missionary. But a worse thought was that they would all be there when you got back to see if you improved after two years, and they would be looking at you with a much more critical eye. A farewell is a send-off that makes every missionary try a little harder in the missionfield.

I have listened to several farewell talks–some good and some poor–but they do not mean much as to the effectiveness of the man as a missionary. Some of the most influential missionaries were plain and simple, but they carried the spirit of the gospel in their hearts. When a missionary returns, then is the time to observe his influence and the experiences he has gained from that work. It is usually very easy to detect the man who has the spirit of the Lord. Alma says that it has a “more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else,” and every good missionary knows about that experience.

As I arose to speak to the people of the ward, I felt apprehensive about my qualifications as a good missionary and also what I might have to say after two years in the missionfield. But I told them of my joining the Church about three years before and that I felt I had a lot of catching up to do. Many of the people who go on missions have been taught the Gospel since the cradle–although I found out that this does not always mean they are better qualified, more learned, or that it has had a great effect upon their lives.

I told the people of the ward that I had left a good job in Texas to come to Utah because of a very clear but forceful impression. I had been making an excellent income in the field of photography, which was the profession meant for me. Going to Utah meant giving up my job, my car, and my profession–but I was just that certain of what I was doing.


[14]         When the bus I was riding on crossed the Utah border at sunset, I couldn’t hold back the tears; I felt as though I had just returned home. It was a peculiar sensation because as I looked out the window, all I could see was desert and sagebrush. But somehow I knew that Utah was where I belonged, and the Lord wanted me there for some reason. I soon realized that going on a mission was one of the reasons. I thanked the ward for their support and for making all this possible for me. They took up a collection which looked like a lot of money; but they gave me only enough for bus fare to California. I suppose the rest of it went into their missionary fund.

A few days later, as I boarded a bus and headed for California, it was a time of mixed emotions and I did a great deal of serious thinking and contemplating. I rode away from Utah, knowing that I would be gone for two years, and recalled much of my past life and how it all brought me to this trip. Only a few months previous, my father (who was not a member of the Church) had come to me and suggested that if I would stay home from that mission, he would personally see that I would get a good job on the railroad. He had not accepted the Gospel as I had, so he did not know the joy that one gains from it. He had not yet witnessed that mystical light that changes a person’s values once they become baptized. I understood his appreciation for the good things of life and its temporal acquisitions, but I believed that spiritual values were worth more than any temporal goods. I was content to be where I was.

Many other memories of the past also came to mind. Probably not one of my friends in high school ever joined the Church and went on a mission, and they would be surprised to know that I was going into the ministry for two years. I came from a much different hometown from one that would be inclined to send out missionaries. There were 13 beer halls and only three grocery stores.

As the bus rolled along through Nevada, my mind was soon drawn to the future. I began to wonder what this missionary work would be like–where I would be stationed, and how much difficulty I would experience as a missionary. Rich California people being touched by the Gospel story didn’t seem to be a very promising thought. It was then that a very peculiar thing happened. It was quite late at night and only the lights of the bus on the road and some little lights along the aisles of the bus could be seen. I was seated near the back of the bus and was looking towards the front. Suddenly it seemed that my mind’s eye could see the whole world suspended in space, and a darkness–like a paint–was covering the whole globe, getting darker and darker. But out of that darkness I could see a few tiny spots like lights that showed up along what seemed to be the Rocky Mountains. Then the words came into my mind, “Darkness [15] covereth the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people.” (See D & C 11:23.) I seemed to know then that the work of the ministry would not be easy, nor would very many conversions be made.




When I arrived at the mission home in Los Angeles, I discovered that our mission president was Oscar W. McConkie, father of Bruce R. McConkie. We enjoyed visiting with him and his wife, Vivian, and had a fine dinner with them. The next day we would be assigned to our first mission district.

That evening another elder and I were appointed to a room upstairs for the night. The elder and I went to bed and began talking about the gospel. The street light was shining into the room, lighting it up more than we cared for, because everything was so clearly visible. During our conversation the elder said he would sure like to “see the devil,” which to me seemed to be a rather weird desire. Suddenly the elder sat up in bed with his eyes wide open and shouted, “I can’t see! I can’t see!” I told him to get down on his knees and we’d pray, I prayed for that elder in all the faith, anxiety and excitement that could attend an experience like that. When I finished, the elder opened his eyes and said, “I can see again!” –with a sigh of relief, for both of us!

I explained to him that he was asking for something that he shouldn’t–no one should want to see the devil, nor listen to him, nor have anything to do with him. I told him that if he learned one thing out of that experience, he now knew first-hand what kind of power he was up against by being a missionary for Christ. He said he would never forget that experience–and he probably hasn’t!




The next morning I arose determined to start on my mission by traveling without purse or scrip. I thought perhaps the mission president might allow me that privilege, if I could find another elder who would be willing to go with me. I started into his office to ask him if he would allow me to travel without purse or scrip in his mission; but just as I was going into his office, an elder was coming out and he remarked, “Boy, am I glad I am going on to the Hawaiian Mission–President McConkie has just decided to send his missionaries without purse or scrip!” I was delighted! Now I didn’t even have to ask for that privilege.


[16]         A few months later when I was talking to President McConkie, I told him that I knew the Lord had inspired him to send the missionaries without purse or scrip, but I was interested to know how it came about in his mission. He told me, “I remember very well how it came about. I was praying one day for the Lord to show me how to get more baptisms in that mission. When I finished praying and started to get up off my knees, a small voice spoke to me and said, “Send the missionaries without purse or scrip.” I was hoping that every mission president would get the same inspired instruction–but it was being done only in the Southern California Mission.

Later that day President McConkie called us all in to explain more about his mission, what he expected, and how he was going to send us out in this “new” program. I was assigned to a missionary by the name of Baldwin, who had been out for about seven months, but the day he started with me was his first day without purse or scrip.

Our first day of tracting was at Arroyo Grande. We met a very congenial fellow and told him how we were traveling and asked if he could help us by providing us a place to stay. He said he would be glad to. It all seemed so easy–he was the first man we asked. So, on this first day, our first contact gave us a meal and a place to lodge for the night. Our hopes and confidence were immediately built up–and I guess the Lord knew we would need it! We would soon be laboring in the town of Pismo Beach, where nearly all were Catholics. They would close the door as soon as we said the word “missionaries.” It was in this town that we said, “We never missed a meal–we only postponed them!”

We quickly learned a few things that were a great help. For instance, we would often show people our Minister’s Certificate to verify who we were. My usual explanation of who we were went something like:

“We are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–commonly called Mormons. We would like to leave some free literature with you and explain a little about the Book of Mormon.”

If they seemed interested, we’d continue. Later when we were about to conclude, we would say:

“We travel in the same way that Christ and His disciples did–without purse or scrip–which means we have to depend on the Lord and the goodness of the people to help us in our labors. If you could help us with something to eat or a place to stay for the night, we would be very grateful and we know the Lord will bless you for it.”


[17]         It was quite difficult for me to humble myself to live this way from day to day until I began to really see the hand of the Lord in it. Often people would tell us how they believed the Lord had blessed them because of their assistance to us. And, I think in nearly every case when they fed us or took us in for the night, they felt good about it. They usually invited us to return. Some people wanted us to come back so often that we had to tell them that we must let some of the other people have some blessings, too.

No one learns the spirit of charity and the meaning of kindness better than a missionary without purse or scrip. Probably not one of these missionaries would ever fail to help someone else who would come to their house for food or shelter. Traveling as the apostles of old was an experience that soon filled us with the same feelings, inspiration, and many of the same experiences that they had. We soon realized that testimony came both to us and the people that helped us.




One evening we stopped at an elderly couple’s house and told them about the restoration of the Gospel and gave them some literature to read. Then we told them that we were traveling as the disciples of Jesus did–without purse or scrip–and that we depended on the Lord and the goodness of the people to provide food and lodging for us. They said they had only a small house with one bedroom and were sorry they couldn’t help us. I said that we understood and were sure that the Lord would bless them anyway for wanting to help us. We thanked them for their time and bid them goodbye.

We had just reached the street and the woman came running out as though someone were pushing her and said, “Wait! We will find something for you.” She suggested that we come back in about 30 or 40 minutes and she would have some supper for us. We walked over to the ocean and watched some clam fishermen, talked with them, and gave them some literature. Then we returned for a very fine supper prepared for us. Mr. McKinney looked in fine health, and my companion asked him about it. He said he was over 70 years old and hadn’t even had a severe cold in the last six or seven years.

That night my companion woke me up and told me to get dressed; so I did, and while doing so I looked at my watch–it wasn’t even 3:00 in the morning. I asked him where he was going, and he replied that Mrs. McKinney had just come in and told him that Mr. McKinney had just had some kind of heart attack or stroke. They had given us their one bedroom, and they had fixed a bed of some sort in the back porch. My companion ran a couple of miles to a phone and called the hospital [18] for an ambulance and also some relations of the McKinneys. Finally, the ambulance came, and I went with Mr. McKinney to the hospital in the next town of San Luis Obispo, and Elder Baldwin stayed with Mrs. McKinney to console her until the relatives came. They arrived at the hospital the next morning; but Mr. McKinney never did regain consciousness and he died that morning.

This was a great shock to all of us, and my companion and I felt that Mrs. McKinney and her relatives would think that it must have been our fault. We attended the funeral and later came back to see Mrs. McKinney to see how she felt about everything. She said, “The Lord certainly sent you two boys to our home that evening, because what would I have done? I couldn’t have gone to the phone or anything!” She felt that the timing was all by the Lord, and was meant to be that way.

Sometimes the people could see the hand.of the Lord with us better than we could ourselves.




Once we travelled all day and couldn’t get anything to eat. Finally at about 7:00 in the evening, we were starting down a long row of houses and I said to my companion, “If we don’t get anything to eat by the time we get to the end of these houses, it looks as if there won’t be much chance of getting a meal this evening. We visited and left pamphlets all the way, but no one would take us in. When we reached the last house, no one was home. My hopes for something to eat seemed dashed–and my stomach growled all the worse. As I closed the gate, I felt very discouraged and turned to walk away. My head was down, and suddenly I saw at my feet, a dollar bill laid out as though it had been planted there.

I turned to my companion and said, “Talk about Elijah being fed by the ravens!” I then read him I Kings 17:6:

And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.




The rules of the mission were to leave the house when the man of the house left. Whenever we were invited to someone’s home, we usually knew that we would have breakfast–so we were assured of one meal each day at least! However, one morning we stayed with a man who was a milkman. About [19] 4:00 in the morning–according to mission rules–we left the house when the man of the house left! That was a strange experience wandering about town at 4:00 in the morning.

On weekends we were not required to do missionary work, so we could stay with any of the members of the Church that would invite us. In our district we would usually all converge at San Luis Obispo to the chapel where we could stay in the basement. The chapel had a stove, refrigerator, shower and a couple of old beds. We could wash our clothes, write letters, iron shirts, etc. It was always a little rest period and gave us a chance to relate our experiences to each other.

One elder told us about how they were hitch hiking down the road when a Greyhound bus stopped, picked them up, and took them to the next town without charging them a fare. I mentioned that I thought this was very amazing. But the elder said, “Well, not really when you consider that the driver of the bus was one of my relatives!”

But many things did happen to make us realize that we were blessed. Once we tracted all day, and finally late in the afternoon we were invited into a home. Within five minutes a severe rain storm came and lasted the rest of the evening.

Many times I became discouraged at the poor progress that we seemed to be having. I read the stories of early missionaries who baptized hundreds of people while they were in the missionfield. The first five months of my mission were without any baptisms. But occasionally we did receive a few moments of consolation. One women, who had listened to our story, said that she would like to be a member but her husband refused to have anything to do with the Mormons, and he didn’t want her to join the Church. She bid a goodbye with tears in her eyes and said that just seeing us was an inspiration to her. She thanked us from the bottom of her heart for what we were doing, even though she was prevented from being a member of the Church. We believed that some day she would have her chance.




We picked up our mail one day to find a letter from our Supervising Elder with an announcement that we would soon be having street meetings. I was excited about that new adventure, for this was the same way that early missionaries of the Church preached. I believed it was going to be a very new and different experience, and it certainly was! No one came to hear us! Our Supervising Elder took us out late in the evening to a street where very few people traveled. What a strange situation–talking to an empty street! I was ready [20] to throw in the towel over that kind of missionary work–especially when some teenagers drove by in their car and yelled, “Go home!” I got aggravated and yelled back where they could go. The supervisor didn’t appreciate that either. We soon concluded that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time; so we re-scheduled our street meetings, chalking that one up to a great learning experience!

Our next street meeting was in San Luis Obispo, where we held a meeting on the busiest street in town at the busiest time of day. We took turns speaking, but most of the elders didn’t want a turn. While one elder was speaking, the others would gather around like they were just passing by and stopped to listen. Then as other people gathered around, one of the elders would hand out pamphlets. When it came my turn to speak, I talked until I was hoarse–covering most of the history of the life of Christ. When I concluded, the supervising elder came over and said, “Did you see that man I was talking to?” I replied,”Yes, I noticed him, but that’s about all–I had my mind turned back a couple thousand years ago.” “Well, that fellow was a minister of a Church, and he told me that your sermon was one of the most interesting he had ever heard. He asked for a Book of Mormon and was going right home to read it.”

I never knew what effect my words or that Book of Mormon ever had on the minister, but I was realizing that our little street meetings could have some value. These seeds of the Gospel that we were planting in the minds of others hopefully would someday blossom.

On another occasion, while I was speaking on the street, about a dozen people came by to listen. When I had finished talking, a drunk man came staggering over and said, “I believe what you said about angels because I’ve seen ’em, too.”

“Were they men or women?” I asked.

“They were women.”

“What did they tell you?”

“Oh, nothing. They just flew around the room!”

One time when my companion finished his turn at speaking, he walked over to pick up his hat and discovered that someone had thrown 50 cents into it. I accused him of priestcraft and preaching for money like all the other ministers in town.

But, all in all, we learned to appreciate these street meetings–they proved to be both fun and fruitful!



[21]                           OUR COMPETITION

One day, while traveling through Arroyo Grande, my companion and I stopped in to visit a Catholic Church. We walked down the aisle looking at all the statues and paintings. In one painting it depicted Christ and John the Baptist in the River Jordan. Both were up to their waist in the water and John was pouring a cup of water over the head of Jesus. We thought it strange that they had to wade way out into the river to pour out a cup of water.

As we were walking out of the church, I noticed a big chart on the wall in the hallway. It depicted the Catholic Church, beginning at 30 A.D. and growing progressively larger and larger through the centuries. It was trying to show how impressive their church was because of their size and growth. When some new church arose or broke off the Catholic Church, it was shown by a comparison of size and the date that it originated. At the very bottom of the chart was a short little line with the date 1830 and the caption “Mormons.”

I told my companion that I knew of a scripture that was very applicable to that chart. I then took out a sheet of paper, wrote on it, and tacked it at the bottom of the chart. It read:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matt. 7:13-14)


[22]         I had my share of confronting other ministers, too. Some were very belligerent and hostile; others were just the opposite, such as one who invited us to visit his church–a “holy roller” outfit. When we went down the aisle to watch the members rolling, chattering and groaning, he came down and asked us to go with him to the back of the room. Then I heard him tell another minister that our presence down there was keeping them from “getting the spirit.” After watching all that bouncing and babbling, I was glad we didn’t have that “spirit” in our church.

That spring there were some religious revivals in our area and, ministers seemed to be everywhere. I must have talked to about 14 of them in less than a month. Some were astounding and very intelligent. One fellow knew the Bible so well he would finish quoting every scripture I started to quote. But others I met didn’t appear to have ever read a page out of the Bible.

My companion and I got along quite well with one particular minister who lived in that area, and he often gave us a ride to our destination if he saw us walking down the road. Sometimes he would give us a ride even though he was going the opposite direction. We very much enjoyed visiting together as we drove along, and one day he turned to me and said, “Kraut, you’re too good of a preacher to be tromping down this road wearing out your shoes! You come over to my crowd and I’ll see that you get a nice congregation and then you can ride in a new Buick like mine.” I appreciated the compliment and his offer and good intentions, but the thought came to me that he has his reward, and I was still laboring for mine.

Then one day I asked this minister friend if he would do me a favor. “You name it!” he said. I then asked him, Since he would be going through Utah on his way to Iowa for his vacation, if he would stop in Salt Lake City and go to the temple grounds. I explained that the Church conducted complimentary tours, and he could hear and see some very interesting things about Mormonism. He responded that he’d be glad to do that for me.

About a month later, we were walking down the road when a big Buick screeched to a halt and backed up–it was my minister friend. He shouted, “Kraut, come here! I want to talk to you.” We got in his car and he said, “I went on that Temple Square Tour and boy, I’m telling you, God was with those people!” I said, “I know–that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.” Then he related to me the story of the seagulls, etc., as if I had never heard it before. I just let him tell me all about it. He would have made a good Mormon missionary, but I doubt that he would ever have given up his Buick or his congregation for it. That was about the last time I ever saw him, but once again the seeds of the true Gospel had been planted and the minister had learned something of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


[23]         In Arroyo Grande I met many Seventh-day Adventists; one man, Bacon, was a colporteur, or book salesman, for his church. Because of his devotion and sincerity in his work, I developed a strong attachment for him, and we became good friends. He gave us an open invitation to come to his house any time we were without a place to stay or food to eat.

On occasions, we would sit up half the night talking religion–but I noticed he never got involved on points of doctrine. He wouldn’t argue or contend–everything was history, principle and prayer. He had a most admirable and convincing persuasiveness that won him immediate friendships. Although Bacon had been selling books for his church for only a short time, he had already won top national honors in their colporteur work. Many people bought books from him just because they were persuaded by his sincerity. He traveled from door to door, often with tears in his eyes. Before people knew it, he was inside their home, and had them down on their knees praying. I have never seen such persuasion. He would talk about the goodness of the Lord, how we should pray more often, and how we must have more faith in God. I couldn’t see anything wrong with his preaching. In fact, I told him he should go with me for awhile preaching Mormonism.

One day he told me he was going to San Luis Obispo; that gave me an idea. I told him I had some missionary friends up there that he could visit. Since it would be Saturday, I knew that about eight of them would be at the chapel washing clothes, making reports, etc. I asked him if he would stop by and meet them, maybe have prayer with them, and tell them he was a friend of mine. He said he would be glad to do it.

The next time I was in San Luis Obispo, the missionaries all wanted to know who that Adventist preacher was. They said after he arrived and before the introductions were over, he had them all down on their knees praying like they never prayed before. He could out-talk and out-persuade any of them, and they were all open-eyed and open-mouthed by the time he left. I had to laugh–they had probably never seen such sincerity nor such a strong testimony before–and probably haven’t since. Bacon told me later that he really enjoyed visiting with the missionaries and thought it had been a very beneficial meeting. I knew that both he and the missionaries would gain a great deal from the encounter.

A few other ministers, especially Catholic priests, were almost hostile. They acted as if they would be glad to see us starve and offered no help nor would they even take a pamphlet or listen to a word of Mormonism. I soon learned that some of the religious ministers have minds that are the most closed to spiritual things. It is sad but true.


[24]         When Jesus was talking to the chief priests and elders, he told them that “the publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you.” (Matt. 21:31) I firmly believe that the greatest opponents of Christ and the fulness of His Gospel are those who claim to be God’s own messengers.




Our mission president advised the missionaries to always carry $10 or $20 to prevent our being arrested as bums or vagrants. Many cities had strange, but strict, ordinances, and we had to know how to work around them. Many people have said that missionary work without purse or scrip cannot be done in our day, but I knew it could. There seems to always be a way to accomplish the Lord’s work.

One day while we were tracting, the police picked us up and took us to the jail. The officer said we were picked up “because we have an ordinance in this town that prohibits you from tracting.” I said, “May I see the ordinance?” He got it for me, and I had to read it about three times to even understand what it said. It looked like a lawyer’s nightmare. When I was able to translate the actual meaning of the text, I called the officer over and asked if he had ever read it carefully. I continued, “It says that if anyone goes to someone else’s house and knocks on their door, and the owner of the property didn’t know the people were coming, they could be arrested: Now then, officer, if you will enforce that ordinance, you’re going to be arresting nearly everyone in town!”

He got a grin on his face, grabbed the paper away from me and said, “Get out of here.” He never bothered us again.

This was the only encounter I had with the law; however, it was not the only time I went to jail. After I left the missionfield and was returning to my home in Montana, I was hitchhiking and came into Idaho Falls late at night. I no longer had a minister’s certificate nor was I considered a missionary; so I decided to go to jail to get a bunk for the night. I asked the jailer for a place to stay and he locked me up with some other fellows. I took out some pamphlets and began to tell them about Mormonism. It was an excellent place to preach because they couldn’t get away: I later referred to that experience as the time I got to preach to “the spirits in prison!”


[25]         One day Elder Blair and I went to a house, knocked on the door, and soon found that apparently the lady of the house had been waiting for us–she came flying out the door in an angry mood and proceeded to tell us off. Since Elder Blair was the one who had knocked at the door, he caught the brunt of it all. The lady pointed her finger right at his nose and lectured him like I never heard anyone lecture before. Poor Elder Blair just smiled, turned red, and patient|y endured her tirade.

We both had just recently read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, and I thought to myself, “I wonder if that will do him any good now!” Sure enough, he graciously agreed with most of what she was saying; and when she finally ran out of wind, he began talking very kindly to her. When I saw he was making a little headway and she was mellowing down, then I joined in, too. After about ten more minutes, she invited us in. After a half hour visiting, we left–with her invitation to come back. A week later we returned to her home, and she and her husband gave us food and a place to stay. In a month she and her husband joined the church. It was an amazing thing to me how the Gospel can change people.

Mosiah had a similar experience, as recorded in Mosiah 5:2:

And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

But prejudice, ignorance and selfishness have prevented many people from accepting the Gospel–regardless of the influence of truth or the power of a good missionary.




While laboring in San Luis Obispo, we were told that one of the members of the Church was urgently trying to find us. When we arrived at his home, we found that his boy had become extremely sick and he wanted us to administer to him. I never saw faith anywhere in the missionfield like this man had in the authority and power of the Priesthood. He didn’t even mention calling a doctor. He was determined that the only thing that boy needed was for the elders to lay hands on him and pray for him. Most people would justify calling a doctor just at the last, but not this fellow–even if it was his child.

The boy’s name was David, so I told the boy about David in the Bible, and of the faith that David had in the Lord [26] and how the Lord heard his prayers. About this time David’s brothers and sisters came running into the house yelling that it was snowing outside. They had never seen snow before; yet David was too sick to even sit up or look at the snow outside.

We anointed his head with oil and prayed for the Lord to heal him. Then we went back into the other room and sat down to dinner. Before we finished eating, one of David’s sisters came in and said that David was sitting up and wanted something to eat. His mother’s mouth dropped open because she was so surprised. We came back the next morning to see how David was doing, and his mother said, “He’s out somewhere in the neighborhood playing. He’s all well now,”

It was one of the first times we were called to administer to the sick, and I’m sure David’s healing was due to his father’s faith more than it was to ours.




Mail from home was always a big treat, but one day a letter came from my old school chum, Bill McNamer. He was on a singing tour with the Catholic Gonzaga College Choir and was scheduled to stop at the Catholic Mission in San Luis Obispo. I told my companion that we would have to be there–for two Mormon missionaries to meet a bus load of Catholics should be very interesting.

On the day and hour the bus was scheduled to arrive, we were at the mission waiting. But after a couple of hours, we began to suspect the bus wouldn’t come that day–which it didn’t. But while we sat outside on the porch of the mission chapel, I noticed a large rack of pamphlets on the wall. A sign over the top of the rack said, “Know Your Religion – 10›.” One of the little bins was empty so I walked over and put some pamphlets in it that were entitled “Joseph Smith tells his own Story.” They were larger than all the others and much more attractive.

Soon a little old lady came out of the chapel and started to walk by the rack. She looked at the display, went over to the literature and withdrew the one on Joseph Smith put a dime in the box, and left.

I considered that one of my good deeds for the day–the woman got the truth that she was after, and the church got the money they were after. So our trip to the Catholic Mission was not in vain–even though I never got to see my high school friend.



[27]                           RAW CLAM DINNER

One Saturday evening all of us missionaries were gathered at the Church and were talking about traveling without purse or scrip. Everyone thought that Saturday night would be impossible to do any tracting or to get anything to eat. I said I was sure that it could be done, and if there was one among them that would be willing to go with me, we would exert some faith and prove it. One fellow seemed eager to go with me, and so we began the experiment.

We went to dozens of homes, and I think we did a lot of good; but about the time we came to the end of the evening’s work, we stopped at a home and asked for something to eat. The lady was very kind and took us right in and said that she would give us some clams for our supper. I said that I had been in that area for about nine months and had never eaten any clams. Then we noticed that she was drunk. She asked us how we liked clams, and I said that fried clams had always sounded good; but she said she wanted to give us a clam cocktail.

Soon she came in with a great big bowl full of chopped up clams with catsup on them. They were raw and we just didn’t know how we could get them down. I began to read and talk to her. I looked over at my companion and noticed that he was just finishing his clams. I whispered, “How did you get them down?” And he said, “I would put some crackers in my mouth and then put some clams in and swallow it all together.” So I reached for the crackers and there were only two left. So I had to get them down without the crackers. As we got up and started for the door, the lady said, “I appreciate what you boys are trying to do and to show you I will give you both a kiss.” We backed away to the door, and my companion kept fumbling with the door knob and found out it was locked. By the time the door was opened and my companion got out, I was caught and got smooched. We got outside and decided that we had enough work that evening, but at least we had our meal.

We laughed all the way back to the chapel. My companion said, “You better get that lipstick off your face.” But I replied, “Oh no, I’ll show those guys what they missed out on by not tracting on Saturday night!”



[28]                           FEAST OR FAMINE

While laboring all of one day in the little town of Arroyo Grande, we began to notice that the sun was setting and we hadn’t found a place to stay for the night. We went from door to door in anticipation, and finally about 9:00 that evening we went to a house and a man answered the door. We recognized him as the man we had met on the beach several weeks previous. He recognized us, too, and was glad to have us come in. Had we not met and talked to him for some time on an earlier occasion, I’m sure he would not have allowed us in. We stayed there that night and had a fine visit.

Late one night after we had gone for a long day of work, we were hungry as we had had no success in getting anything to eat. Finally about 9:00 that night we stopped at a house and a man came to the door. After talking with him and giving him some church literature, we told him how we traveled and he reached in his pocket and gave us 50›. This small amount of money has never been forgotten, and I often think of that scripture where Jesus told His Seventies and Apostles that even if they should “Give you a cup of water, they shall in nowise lose their reward,” and that even if they have done these things unto the least of these servants, they have done it unto Him.

Perhaps we will stand in judgment and point these people out for the things they have done for us–even though they were such small things at the time–and it will bring great rewards to them. Perhaps it is the little things that we all do for each other that will bring us such great blessings–or perhaps great sorrows.

We usually had a few interesting and humorous experiences to keep us in good spirits. Once we stopped at a house that had a big collection of different animals. I was always one to enjoy animals, and so it was a treat to play with them and stroke them. After we left, I was plagued with the most dreadful, pungent odor that seemed to follow right after me. In my ignorance of animals, I had been petting a billy goat and all of his odor came along with his friendship. It saturated my clothes and hands. I told my companion that there was a lesson to be learned in that little incident. Jesus said people could be classified into two groups–sheep and goats; and the sheep had better learn to stick with the sheep or they would pick up the influence of the goats.


[29]         Some of the people had some quick and humorous comebacks. One lady had me laughing before I could even get out my introduction.

“We’re Mormons–have you heard of them?”

“Yes–too much!”

“Well, would you let us leave some tracts here for you?”

“Yes, with the heels pointing this way!”

Looking back now, I wonder if that woman was Phyllis Diller. Whoever she was, she learned a little more about Mormonism than she did before. I didn’t, accept her humor free of charge–I gave her a pearl of great price to think about.




One day Elder Blair and I were going to a baptism in a nearby town. Of course, our usual manner of travel was hitch-hiking. While we were standing beside the road, I said, “Elder Blair, do you believe that faith is measured by an immediate thrust of faith, or do you think the Lord sometimes measures faith by perserverence and the sustained patience of the individual?.” He said, “I think it is instant; it’s measured by what you exert.” I replied, “Do you feel that you could exert all of your faith in ten minutes so that we could get a ride?” “Yes, I do,” he retorted. “Then put your faith into getting us a ride in ten minutes and I’ll just stand beside you, I won’t use any faith for the ride or against it. Then we’ll see what happens.”

After ten minutes had passed by, and so had all the cars, I said, “Now I’ll add my faith until we get a ride. I think faith is sometimes measured with endurance to the end. We stood there for a couple of hours. Finally I said, “The Greyhound bus is just going into the station over there. Maybe we better get on it or we’ll miss the baptism.”

We reached down and picked up our briefcases to go across the road, but a car was passing by and we had to wait until it went by. But as the car passed, it suddenly slowed down, stopped, and then backed up. The fellow in the car asked us if we would like to have a ride! We didn’t even have our thumbs out, nor were we even looking for the ride.

I said, “Well, Elder Blair, I guess that answers our question. When we had exhausted all our faith, it was time for the Lord to give us our ride.”


[30]         On another occasion Elder Lawson, the supervising elder, and I were on our way to a baptism scheduled several towns away. We had only two hours to make it on time. We didn’t see how we could ever make it because we had to go off the route to get some records and then get back on the main highway.

However, we just got on the road and immediately got a ride. The driver stopped at the first town we came to, but we immediately got another ride to the next town. We then got another ride that took us to where our records were. This kept up until we arrived at our destination ahead of schedule with no more than five minutes between rides. All together we had six rides as though they had been planned for us on a schedule.

* * *

Another time we waited on a road nearly all day in the hot sun. We were in no hurry, nor did we have any deadlines to meet; so we figured the time spent on the road was for another purpose. It was a test and a trial of more than our faith. We figured it must have been a purification time.

* * *

One morning we were on the road trying to get a ride but with no success. We were praying for help, when a woman came by and stopped for us. When we got in the car, I could tell she was overly nervous, and then she said, “I have never picked up a hitchhiker in my life, and I don’t know why I should stop for two of them!” She said she had passed by us and was moved to go around the block and come back. Nothing like that had ever happened to her like that before.

I said, “I’ll explain why. We are missionaries in desperate need of getting to a baptismal meeting in the next town. We asked the Lord to help us and you were the most honest hearted person to come along that He could reach.”

Tears came into her eyes and she shook her head in amazement. When we got to our destination, we thanked her and I said, “We’ll leave you some pamphlets for you to read. I know the Lord will bless you for what you did for us.” Again her eyes welled up with tears and I had to leave with a tear or two in my eyes, too.

* * *

The supervisor, Elder Lawson, asked me to accompany him to a little town called Santa Maria, as he needed my help there. We hitchhiked to the town, but by the time we arrived it was almost midnight. We walked down the main street of town and came to a hotel. He said, “I guess we’d better get a room here because there’s not much chance of getting anything else at this time of night.”


[31]         I said, “Well, let’s go a little further.” We walked and walked and then came to another hotel.

“What do you think?” he asked. “Just a little further,” I answered.

We continued down the street and finally came to the last hotel in town. “We’d better get a room here,” he said, a little aggravated at my stubbornness. It was about my first time in that town. Elder Lawson had been laboring in it for some time. He could see no other possible way of getting a place to stay. I really couldn’t either, but for some reason I kept holding out.

About then, however, I thought of giving in and getting a hotel room. Just then a car drove by, slammed on its brakes and backed up. The driver rolled down his window and hollered, “Hey, Elder Lawson, what are you doing up at this time of night?”

“We just arrived in town.”

“Well, why don’t you come home with me. My wife left town for a few days and I’ve got the whole place to myself.”

That came as a wonderful surprise to both of us! We were amazed that the Lord could find a place for us so late at night–and we didn’t even ask anyone for it!




After my companion, Elder Baldwin, and I had tracted all one particular day, we had no success in obtaining a place to stay for the night. Finally, about 10:00 p.m., he said, “Elder Kraut, what are we going to do?”

I replied, “We’d better pray.”

Since I had made the suggestion, I offered the prayer–on our knees, in the ditch by the side of the road. I remember saying close to the following words:

“Father, this is your work, not ours. You promised to take care of us; now we are hungry, cold and need a place to stay.”

I was very bold and almost demanding, because I felt we were in a serious condition.

We got up and began walking down the road, when the small still voice of the spirit said, “Take that house.” There were a lot of houses, but I knew which one was meant.


[32]         I told my companion what we were going to do; so when we got to the door, I knocked. A little old lady came to the door and I said, “We’re sorry to bother you at this time of night, but we’re Mormon missionaries and . . .”

“Oh, come in, come in. I once knew a Mormon lady–she became a good friend of mine.”

After we walked in, she said she would be glad to give us a place to stay. It was an unusual experience after trying all day to get in a house, and then a door opened before I could explain what we needed. We were learning how close the Lord can be when He is needed.




After being in California for nearly a year, I received notice that I was to be transferred. For awhile I thought they had forgotten about me. But the mission president had warned us, “Don’t feel bad if you don’t get transferred very often. Some of you will probably think we have forgotten about you; but if you don’t get transferred very much, it’s because we think you’re doing a good job where you are. It’s the problem missionaries that we have to transfer a lot.”

This was my first and only transfer while in the mission-field. It was to Yuma, Arizona–and just as summer was beginning! What a change it was going to be.

My companion, Elder Venable, had an old Willys automobile that he had brought with him in the missionfield, but he didn’t use it very much. In fact, he didn’t think it would hold up on a trip all the way to Arizona. But he wanted to try. We journeyed all the way without any trouble, but when we got there, it began to act strange. So he pulled into a garage at Yuma to see what was the matter. The mechanic looked it over and said, “Where did you say you came from?” We told him San Luis Obispo, California. He just shook his head in amazement and said, “That’s a miracle.”

We were deeply grateful for being able to make the trip safely, because there had been so many long barren stretches of territory where it could have broken down.

About this time my companion and I were driving down a little hill and saw a train crossing the road ahead. When Elder Venable put on his brakes, there weren’t any! We started going faster and faster towards the train. Buildings were on both sides of the road so we couldn’t turn off to avoid it. A crash seemed imminent. Just before we were about to collide with the train, the caboose came from behind the building, enabling us to barely squeeze between the caboose and the building. We knew there was a helping hand that had preserved us from that catastrophe.


[33]         To say the least, Yuma was hot! I used to threaten people by saying that hell was as hot as Yuma. I remember the day that the thermometers in town were busting at 130ø. The official reading at the airport (where it was cooler than in town) was 123ø. One night we stayed at an old bachelor’s house that had no air conditioning system, and it was 102ø during the night. In the morning we would get up more tired than when we went to bed. Your eyes felt as if they were hanging on your cheeks. I never worried about cutting my face when shaving because it was hard like leather. When we walked down a road and I felt a searing heat on my face, then I knew it was over 115ø.

People told me they moved from Utah to Yuma to get away from the cold winters. I never could figure out what they had running through their veins. I was raised where winters were -35″ to -45ø every winter. Some times the high for weeks would still be below zero. I figured a person could always dress up for the cold, but it was impossible to take enough off to compensate for that much heat.

But I felt the Lord wanted me in Yuma, so I endured it without too much complaining. I tried to accept it in good humor and remember writing home once saying something like:

“I saw a dog chase a oat, but it was so hot they were both crawling. “Duel in the Sun” is arguing with ministers in Yuma. When people dig potatoes out of their gardens here, they are already baked. A hot foot is walking on a cement sidewalk. I’ll have to pin a stamp on this envelope–there’s no water left.”




Elder Venable and I were assigned to work with the Indians–most of whom were very, very poor people, living in thatched huts out in the barren desert. In a short time, my heart was with them–even more than with the whites that I had labored with. Always kind, patient, uncomplaining and friendly, were these poor children of Manasseh.

We arranged a meeting with some Cocapah Indians for Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., but when we tried to return to keep this appointment, we got lost. The desert all looked the same. For two hours we wandered all over the desert; and when we finally arrived, we saw all the Indians still sitting in a circle, waiting for us. They never uttered a complaint or criticism. When we told them that we had been lost, they just smiled and seemed to understand.


[34]         Once, while walking to a meeting, we came to a crossroad and prayed to know which road to take. We were impressed to go to the left, so that’s the direction we took. An hour later we met some people who were delighted to visit with us as they had always wanted to know what the Mormons believed. They asked for some of our books and pamphlets and inquired about the location of our church so they could attend.

We soon found out, however, that the people we intended to meet were down the other road where the roads separated. We went back to the crossroads and soon found the man we were originally trying to locate. We discovered that he had just arrived home; so if we had taken the right road at first, we would have missed him–and also the other people that we met.

We learned that the Lord sometimes inspires you to take a wrong road because in reality it is the right road.

* * *

Shortly before Elder Venable and I began our labor with the Lamanites, one of their leaders named Vest had died. Elder Vest was a very large Indian who had recently been converted to Mormonism. He soon met with many other Indians to teach them the Gospel. He would gather a group of Indians around the fire at night, telling them story after story from the Book of Mormon and from early Church history. In a very short time, he had converted about 75 Indians from his tribe.

One day while Vest was waiting for a bus to take him to another tribe, he fell over dead. The Mormon people didn’t know what to do because they thought the Indians wouldn’t hold together without their strong leader. Also, the Indians were planning to cremate his body, which was against Church rules. President McConkie was called to come down and straighten out the troubles created by the death of Elder Vest.

While riding on the train to Yuma, President McConkie prayed to know what to do. He realized that if he told the Indians they couldn’t cremate Elder Vest, they might all apostatize; yet if he let them do it, he would be going against Church rules and he would be on the spot himself.

After he prayed, he said he had a vision open up to him. He saw Elder Vest preaching to a huge congregation of Indians–more Indians than he thought were anywhere around. But Elder Vest was white–as white as any white man. Then a little brown Lamanite stood up in the back and said, “Don’t listen to him–he’s a Nephite!” Elder Vest responded, “I’m not a Nephite–I was buried according to the tradition of my people.”


[35]         President McConkie knew what to tell the Indians, and he himself attended the cremation ceremony of Elder Vest among the Cocapah Indians.

Charlie, a good man, was chosen as the new L.D.S. leader for the tribe. The little Indian branch had 76 members, and every Sunday there were from 74 to 76 members in attendance. We had the highest percentage of attendance in the whole Mormon Church. Some of the Indian members walked as far as five miles to attend our meetings.

Then another disaster struck! The new leader suddenly died. That was a hard pill for all of us to swallow. As I stood there watching the flames rise and burn Charlie’s body, I thought that Elder Vest must have wanted him on the other side because he could do more over there than he could do here.

* * *

We labored with three different tribes of Indians; and the more I was with them, the more I enjoyed them. Once they made friends, they seemed to hold on to that friendship. They soon appeared to have a great respect and love for me, and I couldn’t help but have the same feelings for them. The Indian children would come running for nearly a mile to greet us whenever they saw us coming, and I soon felt like one of the family. There is an affinity between Ephraim and Manasseh that will grow closer and closer with time, regardless of the present difference in their culture.

One day my companion and I arrived at their camp, and one of the Indians said to me, “We have given you a new name–it’s Poresha.” I felt honored even though I didn’t know its meaning. Then I noticed they were all smiling when the name was mentioned so I asked, “What does Poresha mean?”

“We don’t have an Indian translation for `Kraut’, so we call you `Rotten Cabbage!'”

They knew I would get a laugh out of that; but the name stuck–and I felt honored anyway.

Long after my mission was over, I received mail from the Indians, and they usually began their letters by saying, “Dear Poresha.” One of the letters said in part:

Dear Poresha,

It give us lots of joy to hear from you. My children sended their love to you and always thinking of you. Poresha, we sure do miss you.

* * *

[36]         For two months I labored with the Lamanite people, but during that time I had to live in an apartment. As much as I enjoyed the Indian people, and as easy as living in an apartment was, I felt that I had to continue without purse or scrip. I wrote a letter to the mission president explaining my feelings–also that since my father was not a member of the Church, it was not right for him to be required to finance my mission. He wrote back and said that I could continue without purse or scrip with the white people in Yuma. I could still visit with the Lamanite people whenever I wanted, so this was good news for me.




My companion and I began tracting through the town of Yuma, and one day we visited with a woman working in her yard with her flowers. When we told her we were Mormon missionaries, she coldly replied that she was a Catholic. I realized that it would be best to make friends on some common ground before talking much about religion; so I mentioned something about the flowers, Yuma, and that I came from Montana where it was so cold, etc. Finally after a friendly visit, I said, “Perhaps some evening we could come by and show you and your husband some colored slides of ancient ruins down in Mexico.” She reluctantly gave her consent and we left.

About a week later we came by during the early evening and met all of the family–the Smocks. We showed a short film on the ruins of Mexico and South America, and near the end we explained that the Book of Mormon is a history of those people. It was a very good film and ended with just the right punch line. The whole family, including the kids, enjoyed it. Then we announced that we travelled without purse or scrip. Mrs. Smock replied that they were quite poor. She baked pies and her husband took them around Yuma to sell them, and all they had to eat in the house was pie. That sounded great to us. After we sat down to the table, I asked a blessing on the pie, and on their home, and for their happiness. They also gave us a place to stay for the night.

The next time we came to visit, Mrs. Smock said, “The Lord heard your prayer on that pie, because the next day my husband got a telephone call from one of the large bakeries in Los Angeles. They said they had heard he was in the pie business and wanted to know if he would handle their products in that area. Of course, he eagerly accepted!”

We continued to visit and teach the gospel to the family and eventually baptized them. Months later they told us that they had done so well with their new job that they were able [37] to buy a new car, pay off their home, and had money in the bank. Sister Smock told us, “It all came about because you boys came to our house, and asked the Lord for a special blessing on us because we gave you some pie.”

Years later I received a letter from Mrs. Smock which said:


August 29, 1961

Yuma, Arizona

My Dearest Missionary–

It must be 8 years or more since I’ve seen you and your family, but my thoughts have been with you always, especially at this most happiest Event which will take place May 28th–The Farewell. Our son Roger has been called on a mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to you Brother Kraut for bringing the gospel into our home. It has brought us joy and happiness beyond measure. Thanks to “My” Missionary, Elder Ogden Kraut.


Love Always

Sister Laura Smock

Later I received a fine letter from Mrs. Smock’s son, Roger, while on his mission in Argentina, in which he wrote that he and his companions were getting about ten baptisms a month in their little branch:

“…I really feel blessed to be a missionary and help carry our wonderful Gospel to the people here. We have the most wonderful thing in the world… And since I’ve been here, my testimony has tripled in size. I really feel a great desire to preach the thing that you brought into my life. And for this I want to thank you very much for I believe if it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t be here now.

Soon after Roger’s call to the missionfield, his sister was also called on a mission. Thus, two members of this family that we had baptized went on missions and in turn converted many more souls to the Gospel.



[38]                           MY WORN OUT SUIT

One evening while I was teaching a fireside group, I was writing on the blackboard and the chalk broke and fell on the floor. As I reached down to pick it up, I noticed that the knee on my trousers had worn almost all the way through. All my life I had enjoyed nice clothes and prior to coming in the missionfield, I took pride in a neat appearance. These shabby clothes were a great blow to my personal pride.

That night I went to the Lord with my problem and my feelings. I told Him that I realized we were traveling without purse or scrip and that He could provide clothes for me if He would. I guess I was brought to the proper humility when I said, “If you want me to look like a bum, O.K.–then I’ll just keep wearing these rags. But I believe that it is time to have some better clothes.”

About three days later, as we were walking down the street, the Bishop’s wife came driving by and asked us to contact a certain man who was not a member of the Church. He had some clothes that he wanted to give to the Church. She said that maybe we could go and pick them up and give them to the Indians, or else do with them whatever we thought best. We went to the place and the lady let us in, telling us that her husband had a very expensive suit, but it didn’t fit him right. He didn’t want to throw it away, so he thought that our Church might know some needy person who could use it. My short companion looked at it and realized that it was certainly not his size; so I tried it on. It fit like a tailor had made it for me. The lady was delighted when I showed her what I had been wearing, and she knew her husband would be pleased to know that it went to a very needy person.

In a little over a month I had three nice suits given to me. The Lord had heard and more than answered my prayer. I learned from this experience that regardless of the bad condition of my suit, it was more important to be willing to endure it if necessary. Paul the Apostle learned this important key when he said, “…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Phil. 4:11) The Lord doesn’t like complainers–only willing souls to accept all things at His hands.

* * *

Once when it was cold, a man gave me a $150 coat. I felt like the best dressed elder in the mission–and probably was, too.



[39]                          MY WORN OUT SHOES

Doing missionary work without purse or scrip required a great deal of walking. One afternoon my companion and I were on our way to see some investigators, when I noticed how badly worn out my shoes were.

“Just look at these shoes,” I told him. “They are wearing out on the top as much as the bottom.” I pulled one of them off and we reviewed a hole in the top of the shoe where my big toe had continually rubbed against it until it wore through. The bottoms had been half-soled about three times, and another large hole had been worn through the bottom. I had cardboard stuffed inside so I didn’t have to walk on gravel and hot sidewalks with my stocking feet. We laughed about the pitiful plight of my shoes. I never owned a pair of shoes that went so many miles.


I said to my companion, “I guess I’ll have to write home for enough money to get a new pair of shoes.” But the instant the words were out of my mouth, a strange thing happened. The advice a man gave me just as I was leaving for the missionfield nearly two years before, came flashing through my mind as though he was right there and talking to me again. The words were these: “While you are in the missionfield, trust in the Lord for all of your needs.”

The words were so clear and emphatic that I immediately turned to my companion and said, “No, I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to trust in the Lord for some shoes. If He wants me to wear these old things for the rest of my mission, then I’m willing to do it. He knows I need some new shoes; and if He decides to get them for me, He can provide a way.”

That night we ate dinner and stayed with some people that were investigating the Gospel. In the morning, while we were eating breakfast, the man of the house asked us how far we had to travel in our district. When we told him, he said, “You sure must do a lot of walking.”

“Yes, we do,” we replied. After about a minute of silence, he turned to my companion and asked, “What size shoes do you wear?”

“8-1/2,” he said. He then asked me the same question, to which I replied, “10-1/2.”

He got up from the table, went into his bedroom, and returned with a shoe box and handed it to me, saying, “I was over to California about two weeks ago and bought this pair of shoes, but they hurt my feet and I can’t wear them. I’ve worn them [40] enough that I can’t return them, so they are no good to me the way they are. You can have them, because they are 10-1/2.” I put them on and they fit perfectly.

This new pair of shoes came to me the morning after I told my companion that I would trust in the Lord for them. I felt to rejoice as much as those early disciples of Christ when He asked them, “When I sent you without purse and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing.” (Luke 22:35)




One morning my companion, Elder Kinghorn, and I were going down the street when suddenly the horizon tilted off to one side and I fell down. I was very dizzy and could hardly stand up. He suggested, “Let’s stop at a member’s house near here until you can recuperate.” When we got to their place, I asked the lady if I could just lie down for awhile to rest until I could get straightened out.

When I awoke from a good nap, I saw the table by the side of the bed filled with all sorts of drugs. Her husband worked at a drug store; and when he heard of my condition, he brought home all sorts of medicine for me. I graciously turned down the medicine, but thanked them for their hospitality and help. I told them I was much better and we left.

However, I really wasn’t much better, so we went to another member’s house–this one was a foot doctor. I told him that I didn’t believe medicine was what I needed. He let me stay overnight, but was convinced that a shot of penicillin was what I needed. He was determined to get me some, and I was determined not to have it. He said God gave that knowledge to doctors and that I was foolish not to use it when it was available. I told him that there was a scripture that fit this occasion and I would find it if it took me all day. Finally, I found it and read it to him:

And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. (2 Chron. 16:12-13)

At this, the doctor abruptly left the room. I guess he took it to heart because he was a foot doctor. I hated to offend him, but he was a returned missionary.


[41]         I phoned another member by the name of Freestone, as I had the impression that he would have the right answer for me. I explained what had happened and that I seemed to be making enemies because I wouldn’t take medicine. He said, “You come over here right now.” The very moment he said that, I knew he would solve the problem for me.

He was a chiropractor by profession; so when I went to his office, he told me to take off my shirt and he would give me a message and treatment. He no more than just put his hands on my back and said, “I know your trouble–your whole system is full of grease and fat.” I knew in an instant that it was so. People had been feeding me greasy foods in that hot weather. He told me to go to his house and rest and he would bring me some fruit juices to drink.

For a couple of days he poured grape juice and other liquids down me until I began to feel much better. By the end of that week, I had never felt better in my whole life. I went to sleep quickly and slept sound. My mind was alert and keen. I could concentrate on things for long periods of time. I would awake in the morning with energy and enthusiasm and didn’t tire after a day’s work. I never had such a remarkable experience, and it taught me that medicine is not always the answer to our afflictions.




The supervising elder told me I could go to Winterhaven and work with Elder Berk Washburn for about a week. He was laboring with the Lamanites so I was happy for that; besides Elder Washburn and I had a strong liking for each other. He was a very adept missionary and could easily quote over 400 scriptures. We even planned to go to the University of Mexico when our mission was over.

On the following weekend he suggested that we go down to the canal and jump in. He justified this in that it would be (1) a bath, (2) we could wash our clothes there, and (3) it would be exercise and entertainment. I said that it sounded very tempting and also realized that it was quite reasonable, but the rules of the mission forbid any swimming. He seemed very determined to go, but I commented that I had only a few more months in the mission and then I could go swimming all I wanted. So we didn’t go to the canal.

The next week I went back to Yuma and another elder was assigned to work with Elder Washburn. The following weekend my companion and I were walking down the street in Yuma when one of the members came running over to us and asked excitedly, “Did [42] you hear that Elder Washburn drowned in the canal?” We could hardly believe it–but I knew how determined he was to get into that canal.

He once told me that all of his brothers and sisters (about eight of them) had patriarchal blessings that mentioned marriage, a wife or children; but his blessing didn’t. I was convinced that it was just his time to go. Other people knew about his death before it happened–which was evidence of a predestined death.

The next Sunday four other elders and myself went to the Indian Sunday meeting to announce the death of Elder Washburn. One of the Lamanites told us that they already knew about it, as one of them had had a dream a week before and saw all five of us elders standing in front of them announcing the death of one of our companions. In that dream, however, there was a haze over our faces so they didn’t know which one it was. When we arrived, they were all looking at us to see who was the missing elder.

Sister Smock, the lady I baptized, had a dream the night before and saw a newspaper with the headlines that read: “Mormon Elder Drowns”.

As sad as it was to all of us, and me especially, we knew that he was one of the best missionaries in the field and he would still be engaged in that work.

I wrote a letter to Elder Washburn’s mother, to which she replied:


September 17, 1950

Dear Elder Kraut

I wish to thank you with all my heart for the good long letter from you telling in detail about Berk’s missionary labors and his passing away. Although I cried while I read your letter, it also brought me a great deal of joy, and I want you to know that I do appreciate you taking time to write to me. Reason and faith tell me that I have no need to mourn about Berk’s death, for he has always been a clean, obedient and intelligent boy, always doing the thing he thought was right. Berk’s being called must be alright for he was in the service of the Lord, and I can’t think his life was snatched away just because he went in swimming. Many of my folks and friends have read the letter you wrote. Please come to see us when you come home.

Blessings to you from your sister in the Gospel.

Wasel Washburn


[43]         For many years now, I have anticipated the day when I could again enjoy the companionship of my good friend, Elder Washburn, and many other faithful elders in Israel who have passed beyond the portals of mortality.




I remember one of the last times I went tracting in Yuma. It was late in the evening and we went to a house where a man opened the door and invited us in. After a short visit, he offered us a sandwich which he fixed himself because his wife was gone. He kept asking questions which I answered as I ate the sandwich. That was the last time I saw him, for I left the missionfield about a week later.

Years later, however, a man came into my photographic studio in Montana and asked, “Mr. Kraut?” I answered, “yes.” He replied, “You may not remember me, but I certainly remember you.” He reminded me that he was the man that had given me that sandwich. He told me that he had asked those same questions for many years to ministers of all faiths, but none of them had answered them as clearly and as positively as I had done. The next week he went to the bishop of the Yuma Ward and wanted to know my name and asked to talk to me again. However, when he learned that I was gone, he said he was already convinced that the Gospel was true and wanted to be baptized.

He joined the Church, and when he came into my shop, he was a high councilman. He said he drove a long way just to shake my hand and thank me for coming to his home that night with the Gospel.

After he left, I reflected back and realized that I had spoken to that man for only a few minutes that one night as I ate the sandwich–yet God was able to convince and convert him with only a few words from me. It would be impossible to say how many more people had been moved by the Spirit as we spoke to them. I realized that many could be deeply impressed by the things we had said, yet we may never know of it.




We were enjoying a meal with some fine people one day, when a story came into my mind which I decided to tell. Strangely enough, I had heard the story but once and had never told it before, but recalled it very clearly. It went something like this:


[44]         In my neighborhood, when I was growing up, there was a young boy who was one of those sweet little children that people seem to adore. Everyone enjoyed having him around. He was so happy all the time that he was nicknamed “Sunshine.”

But one day Sunshine became ill. His mother was very upset not knowing the reason, so she called the doctor. He tried to diagnose the ailment but was unable to do so. He called in two other doctors to assist him, but they, too, were unable to detect the trouble.

The three doctors huddled in one corner of the room; Sunshine was in bed in another corner; and his mother sat in a chair crying. Suddenly she looked up and saw a man robed in white, with light all about him, standing beside the bed where Sunshine lay. She looked over to see if the doctors noticed him, but they were all busy talking to each other.

Then the personage leaned over and picked up Sunshine in his arms. He was smiling and as happy as ever. But she noticed his form was still in the bed!. Then the personage and Sunshine disappeared through the wall. She knew then that Sunshine had died.

At this point of my story, the woman at the dinner table broke down in heavy sobs. She cried so loud and hard that I felt I had done or said something wrong. I put my fork down and her husband did, too. Finally she regained her composure and said, “I’m sorry, but I lost a little child just like that, and all the ministers of the different churches told me that the child was lost forever because he was never baptized. I said to her, “Now you know the truth,” and I read to her from the Book of Mormon where it says:

And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins. But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption. (Moroni 8:11, 12, 20)

They were so grateful for our coming to their home with the Gospel that we were soon able to convert them all.


[45]         The Lord has said to his missionaries:

Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man. (D. & C. 84:85)

This was one of many experiences I had which verified this type of missionary work. We objected to any form of prepared talk or Gospel teaching method and were glad to hear our mission president say, “Alma was one of the greatest missionaries that ever lived–and Alma didn’t have to use a missionary plan! Alma taught by the spirit of prophecy and revelation.” I heartily concurred that it was the Lord’s plan and the best way to teach the Gospel.




Every good missionary usually receives letters of appreciation written to him or his parents. These letters show gratitude for the missionary and for his labor and influence in the missionfield.

After I arrived home, my mother showed me several letters that she had received from people who knew me as a missionary. One of them is reprinted below:


Yuma, Arizona

August 6, 1950

Dear Mrs. Kraut,

I am a member of the Yuma branch and a Mormon. My parents, Grand parents and some Great-grandparents being members.

I got your address from Elder Kraut around Mothers Day – then let time get away, but here at last I want to tell you how wonderful your son is.

I know if I was a Mother with a son in the mission-field, I’d like to have someone do this for me if they felt like I do.

Everybody just thinks he is perfect. His companions say he is like having a Divine teacher with them. He has such a command of his subject when speaking. He gave a talk on love last winter which I never shall forget. He said, “Love is willing happiness for the other person.” Then last Sunday he gave an inspiring talk on Faith. He has the makings of Leadership and will no doubt go a long, long way in the Church.

[46]         I feel sure he will choose carefully his companions for life.

I’m no writer and I find myself wondering if I am beginning even to convey to you what we all think of Elder Kraut. He has shown so many fine characteristics like helpfullness, sensitiveness, good humor, poise, extremely charitable, concentration and love for his work. Altogether I’d let my heart be filled with joy and satisfaction if one of my 5 sons became 1/2 the man your son is.

These are my sincere feelings. Added up they come to, “You people have shared a fine son with us.”

I won’t send you my address as I’m sure your time is taken up with writing your son. These sentiments are shared by all that know Elder Kraut.


Mrs. Rilla Jarvis




When the time came for me to leave the missionfield, I was filled with mixed emotions. I loved to talk about the Gospel and to do missionary work, but I longed to see my family and friends again.

I joked about being so long away from girlfriends that on my first date, I would probably take her home, shake her hand, and bear my testimony to her. I began to feel a little bit like a monk.

Little did I know that by the time I arrived home, the draft board would be waiting for me, and the next two years I would be serving a mission for the Army overseas.

Finally the day came to say goodbye, and I shook hands with my last companion, Elder White, and bid farewell to my missionary labors in Yuma.

About a year later, I met Elder White in Salt Lake City. I was very interested when he told me, “The day you left the mission-field was the last day I went without purse or scrip. We got a new mission president who sent a letter stating that there would be no more missionary work without purse or scrip.”


[47]         More than ever, I could see the hand of the Lord in my life. Before I left on my mission, I prayed to the Lord to help me fill my mission without purse or scrip. The day I arrived in the mission was the day that program began, and the day I left it stopped! The Lord had answered my prayer to the very day.

Although I never kept a daily journal, I wrote brief sketches of most of my missionary experiences. These are only a portion included here of the many rewarding incidents that made me realize how close the Lord was from day to day.

* * *

A few months after my mission was over, I was on a troop train leaving Montana for Washington and then later on to Texas. One night I awoke on the train at about 2:30 in the morning; I couldn’t go back to sleep. Finally, I got up and walked to the back of the coach and stood there looking out the window. I could see the lights of a town coming into view. Then as the town came closer, I was amazed to see that it was Yuma, Arizona! I stood transfixed as we passed by–a thousand thoughts going through my mind. I recalled the hundreds of people I had met and who had heard me speak on the Gospel. I thought of all those who had fed, clothed, and sheltered me as a servant of the Lord. I quietly asked the Lord to bless them for their kindness to me, for He had promised that, “Whosoever shall give even a cup of water to one of the least of these my servants shall in no wise lose their reward.”

Now there would be other missions ahead for me. There would be new places, other people and many more valuable experiences to record in the journal of my life.


* * * * *

* * *



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