“I’ve Been Waiting for You,” Ensign, Apr. 1992, 49
In the fall of 1941, Elder Arden B. Hutchings and I were laboring in the town of Clarinda, Iowa, and had become exceedingly discouraged. The townspeople were not only unreceptive, they were unfriendly and sometimes rude. After about two months of getting nowhere, we decided that our labors would be better received somewhere else. We wrote a letter to our mission president, Elbert R. Curtis, explaining the situation in Clarinda and requesting to be transferred to greener pastures.
We planned to pack and then sit on our trunks until the transfers came. However, after we had morning prayer and scripture study, the Spirit strongly prompted us to go out and do our tracting. We began knocking on doors in our tracting district, each on opposite sides of the street, which was a common practice in those days. Both of us were getting the expected number of doors slammed in our faces, unkind words about the Mormons, and even some threats.
Then I knocked on a door that was answered by a woman who said, “Come in, Elder, I’ve been waiting for you.” I was suspicious, but at her insistence I entered the home. She introduced herself as Mrs. Ida Hise and explained that she was a student of the Bible. For many years she had searched for a church with Apostles and prophets—a church that taught the gospel in its entirety.
Her examination of all the churches she could find brought bitter disappointment. She began to pray earnestly to the Lord to guide her to his church if it were still on the earth. During the night it was revealed to her that the Lord’s messenger would come to her door, and she saw me in a vision.
The questions Mrs. Hise asked me showed that she honestly had been searching for the true church and knew exactly what organization, doctrine, and principles to look for. I promised to return with my companion that evening to teach her more.
As I made my way back to our apartment, I became aware that the Spirit had led me, without my realizing it, several blocks from my tracting district to Ida Hise’s home. Indeed, the Lord had answered her prayers.
That evening, when we arrived for our appointment, Mrs. Hise invited us to the large home next door. The front room and dining room were filled with people! Ida had spent the afternoon visiting neighbors and telling her story, and they had all come to hear about a church that was the same as the one Christ had organized as recorded in the New Testament. My companion and I preached the gospel to the crowd, answered their questions, gave them literature to read, and promised to return the following evening. This went on for several days.
We were so busy with our newfound success that we forgot about our request for transfers. The day we received assignments to leave Clarinda, we were horrified. We immediately contacted President Curtis, but no amount of pleading could change the fact that our transfers had been processed and new assignments were awaiting us.
Other elders were sent to Clarinda and were able to reap the harvest of our labors. They baptized many families—almost everyone who had been attending the meetings.
Ida Hise remained a faithful, active member-missionary. She died several years later.
One lesson I learned and have never forgotten is to accept whatever assignment the Lord gives me and to stay with it until he releases me.