“Someone Is Waiting,” Ensign, July 1986, 37–38
It happened on 18 May 1938. Two weeks before, Sister Leona Pierson and I had been transferred from the Seattle area to Portland. Our mission president had told us that he felt impressed to send us to the northwest part of the city.
A week later, I received a letter from my parents requesting me to ask my mission president if I could be released from my mission early because of lack of funds. I had only two and a half months left, and I wanted to finish my mission. Several times I picked up the telephone to call President Preston Nibley and tell him about my situation, but each time, I replaced it on the hook, the call unfinished.
Finally my companion said, “Why don’t you ask your parents to try to borrow the money, and when we return home, we will both get jobs and pay off the loan?” I decided to follow her suggestion, and I wrote a letter to my parents. But when I reread the letter I had written I could hardly believe what it said. There, in my own handwriting, were the words, “I cannot leave the mission field at this time because there is someone waiting for me to come to their door with the gospel message. I must stay here until my work is completed.”
I was surprised. But I was also broke. My companion, empathizing with my problem, said, “As long as I have money, we will both eat.” She was right. The Lord, who knows all things, provided sustenance for both of us through generous people. And I was to learn that there was someone waiting to hear the gospel.
On May 18, we began tracting as we always did in those days—my companion took one side of the street while I took the other. On our first approach, we usually tried to loan the contact a Book of Mormon. After unsuccessfully knocking on doors for three hours, I had yet to leave a single book. Discouraged, I decided to try one more house. I bravely rang the doorbell, praying, “Heavenly Father, let there be someone in this home who will listen to the gospel message!”
A woman appeared in the doorway. She had large, black, piercing eyes. I introduced myself and offered her a copy of the Book of Mormon and some other literature. She didn’t say anything. She just stood—strangely staring at me, as if trying to penetrate my soul.
Turning to leave, I walked out to the sidewalk. But she ran out to me, placed her hand on my arm, and said, urgently, “Please don’t leave. I cannot let you go; today God has answered our prayers and led us to the end of our long search. You have brought the message we have been waiting to hear.” I was stunned.
As we sat on her porch, she poured out her story. Her name was Mrs. Cook. She and her husband owned a home in Gold Hill, Oregon. They had studied the Bible thoroughly and concluded that the churches they knew about did not teach the doctrines the Savior taught—nor did they have an organization like that which he had established during his earthly ministry. She and her husband had thought a great deal about what the Savior’s church would be like. They were seeking a church that not only had the authority to baptize the same way the Savior was baptized, but also had the authority to bestow the Holy Ghost. They also believed in eternal life.
They had decided to move to Portland in hopes of finding the Church of Jesus Christ. I noted the urgency in her manner, her voice, and her words. I bore my testimony to her several times, telling her that the true Church of Jesus Christ had been restored. She said she knew I spoke the truth.
She invited my companion and me to come to dinner two days later. The dinner was delectable—turkey with all the trimmings. We sat around their table for five hours, enjoying a sumptuous meal and rejoicing in the presence of the spirit of revelation as we bore testimony of the beautiful truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mr. Cook told us that, after our first conversation with his wife, she had told him that a young woman had come to their door as an emissary of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. At first he had scoffed at the idea. What could a woman much younger than he teach him—a man versed in the scriptures? But he was willing to listen. Both of them were receptive and teachable, and they believed the testimony we bore. “At last we have found the true Church of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Mrs. Cook told us that she had known instinctively, as I stood at her door, that I spoke the truth. It was as if an inaudible voice had spoken to her, telling her that my message was what they had been looking for.
The following Sunday, they and their family attended church. My companion and I had an assignment elsewhere. But when we returned to the mission home that evening, the other missionaries were eagerly waiting to tell us of the beautiful testimony Mrs. Cook had borne about our coming to their home, and of the truthfulness of the gospel. Truly, someone had been waiting for me to find them and teach them.
The Cooks and their three daughters were soon baptized. And, as a result of their conversion, testimonies, righteous living, and missionary efforts, many other people have come to know the true Church of Jesus Christ and the blessings that can be received from it.
Years later, just two weeks before he died, an aged Brother Cook was supported at the pulpit as he expressed love and appreciation for the two sister missionaries who had brought the gift of the gospel to his family. He and his family had been yearning for the truth—and with God’s help they had found it.