“Missionaries and Their Families Respond to Disaster,” Ensign, Aug. 1983, 76
The wall of mud and water that washed through the Bountiful 16th Ward severely damaged the homes of four recently called missionaries. One of the missionaries had just reached the mission field; one was in the Missionary Training Center; and two were scheduled to enter the MTC shortly.
Ken and Gigi Madsen visited their son Aaron in the MTC after their home was destroyed. “He was wondering if he should still be there or if he should come home to help us,” says his mother. “Of course we told him that this wouldn’t affect his mission at all. We said, ‘You’re on your mission and that’s where you should be. You concentrate on learning French; we’ll take care of things at home.’”
Some friends of the Madsens’ called to say they wanted to relieve the financial burden by paying for Aaron’s mission.
“We thanked them,” says Sister Madsen, “and told them that we had set aside funds for his mission before he left—and those funds won’t be touched for anything except his mission.”
“There’s no question about it,” agrees Brother Madsen. “Whatever else is sacrificed, Aaron’s mission won’t be.”
Did Gale and Diana Martin ever consider asking their daughter Tawna to return home from her mission? “Absolutely not,” says Sister Martin. “Knowing Tawna, she would come if we asked her to. But there’s no way we would want her to. She’s where she should be.”
Mud completely ruined everything Lisa Holbrook owned—including luggage, clothes, scriptures, and other personal belongings she had readied for her departure the following week. “For half a day I questioned whether I should still go,” she says. “But I believe that the Spirit which prompted me three months ago to serve a mission knew we would be given this test before I left. And we’re going to live past this.”
Knowing how supportive the people are back home makes it a little easier. “All my brothers—and a lot of friends—will be here to help after I leave,” says Jerry Miller, who enters the MTC in a month. “My parents are still encouraging me to go.”
Indeed, the ward has already begun to help the families clean up and rebuild. “Those missionaries know their families are in good hands here,” says Max Tolman, counselor in the bishopric. “We’ll take care of their folks while they’re gone.”