“Following Mrs. Shrimpton,” Ensign, Aug. 1992, 56
“We have to knock on that door again,” I told my companion as we walked by Mabel Shrimpton’s house.
It was a hot day in February 1952 in Sydney, Australia, and we were tracting in an area we had covered a week earlier.
“But we were there last week, and she told us she wasn’t interested!” he protested.
But the Spirit had whispered. My reluctant companion and I knocked on Mrs. Shrimpton’s door and were met with the same greeting: “Please don’t bother me again. I’m not interested.”
I quickly replied, “If you would take just fifteen minutes sometime during the coming week and read this little pamphlet, my companion and I will fast and pray that you may know whether it speaks the truth or not.”
Mrs. Shrimpton laughed. “If you two boys are foolish enough to not eat anything, I’ll read your pamphlet.”
As we went out the front gate, my companion expressed his dismay about the promised fast. “You were kidding, right?” he asked.
But I wasn’t, so we fasted and prayed that Mrs. Shrimpton would know the Church was true.
Tuesday morning we pushed our bicycles to Mrs. Shrimpton’s house. We were shocked at her greeting this time: “Come in. I have read your pamphlet and believe every word of it.”
Ecstatic, we began teaching Mrs. Shrimpton the gospel. She was later baptized, and we continued to keep in touch after I returned from my mission. I remember well a letter in which she bore her testimony and voiced her concern because her husband still was not interested in learning about the Church.
About ten years later, a letter came from Sister Shrimpton telling me that her husband, Alfred, had joined the Church and that they were soon to be sealed in the temple. I was excited and grateful to hear the news.
After five more years, I received a letter telling me the Shrimptons were coming to Salt Lake City. Along with Tony Stander, who had baptized Sister Shrimpton, I met the Shrimptons at the airport and had a wonderful time renewing old friendships. Staunch Church members, they told me many stories of the area and the members I had grown to love. They were both deeply involved in Church work; in fact, Brother Shrimpton had just been called to serve as stake patriarch.
I was curious to hear his conversion story and asked him what had caused his change of heart.
“For twelve years I watched my wife wake up every Sunday morning, get all the kids ready, and take the tram to Hurstville for church,” he replied. “It didn’t matter what kind of weather conditions or what inconveniences came up—she always went.
“One morning after she left for church, I thought, ‘What motivates her to go?’ I got into the car and drove over to the chapel. I slipped in and sat on the back row. By the time the meeting was over, I knew the Church was true,” Brother Shrimpton said.
A few years later, I heard about the Shrimpton family again. My son, Brian, was called to serve in the Australia Sydney Mission. One day we received a tape from him. Tears flowed as he related an experience he’d had during a recent testimony meeting.
A young woman bearing her testimony had shared this story: “Many years ago two men knocked on my mother’s door and taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ. She accepted the truth and was later baptized.
“Since that day, fifty-two people have joined the Church because of her. Four of these converts later became bishops of this ward. And now the elder who first met my mother has a son serving in Sydney—and he is here today.”
We never know what will happen as a result of the gospel seeds we plant.