Thank you to Heather Sturges for this amazing mission memory!
It was forty years ago this May 20th, since I left to serve a mission to England for the LDS Church. As I reflect on that experience it brings me great joy.
Perhaps because so many years have passed I am better able to realize just how much impact that decision to serve has had on my life as well as those I taught.
Although I was called to serve in the Bristol England Mission, I was temporarily reassigned to serve for a short time in the London Mission, working in the Hyde Park Visitors Center, while receiving some medical treatment. What a choice experience that was, as my parents were also serving in the Visitors Center at the same time.
Photo L-R: Elder Summers, Sister Summers, Dianne Robinson, Elder Crooks. Elder Summers was my dad!
During my time in London, I had the opportunity to help teach an extraordinary young lady by the name of Dianne Robinson. She came to the Visitors Center seeking truth, and the Lord had been preparing her for many years to receive the Gospel. She gained a strong testimony and was baptized on January 2, 1979. She wrote to me after her baptism:
“The assistance you have given me has been so wonderful, and you have introduced me to something which nothing on Earth can buy, and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some day I hope to fulfill a mission, it may be quite a few years yet, but when I do I hope I bring as much joy to other people as you have to me.”
Dianne and myself the day of her baptism January 2, 1979
Dianne with a special cake on the day of her baptism
Dianne later married and was sealed in the temple to Sean Donnelly. She did indeed serve a Mission, many years later, alongside her husband when they were called to preside over the Madagascar Mission. They have impacted the lives of those wonderful Missionaries, as well as members and non-members, bringing others unto Christ. What a blessing they are to the Church.
They recently moved from South Africa to Salt Lake City and I was able to reconnect with her after over 30 years and meet her husband. What a joyful reunion that was!
Reunited May 26 2018 with our husbands in Salt Lake City Sean Donnelly, Dianne (Robinson) Donnelly, Heather (Summers) Sturges and Russ Sturges
Many serve missions and wonder if it is worth it. What if they don’t have any converts? Was it worth it? I heard someone once say that if you serve a Mission and the only convert you have is yourself, then it will have been worth it. I never understood this until attending a mission reunion a few years ago.
As I heard these former Missionaries tell about their children serving or returning from serving missions, and getting married in the temple, it really hit me. Their missions helped them to gain the testimonies necessary to strengthen their own families in the Gospel. I have seen it in my own family as well.
My testimony was small as I started my mission, but was strengthened as I shared my testimony, and as I saw that light grow in others. I saw faith work miracles in their lives. It still does. I know this message which we share is true and has the power to change lives, even if that life is just our own. You can count the seeds in an apple, but can’t count the apples in a seed. We may never know how far reaching our service as Missionaries can be.