Being Themselves

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“Being Themselves,” Ensign, Aug. 1995, 57

Being Themselves

Calvin Brooks was recovering from two major operations and his wife, Susie, was in the hospital with a severe leg fracture when their bishop approached them and invited them to serve a mission.

“I promise you that the Lord will bless you and you will succeed according to your faith,” he said, when the couple agreed to accept the call. The couple took the bishop at his word and proceeded to strengthen and exercise their faith during the next several years as they served two missions, both among Native Americans in Arizona and New Mexico.

Although the Brookses were nervous about serving a mission, they soon discovered that all they needed to do was be themselves. Calvin soon built a reputation for being able to get the most serious Native American to laugh, and Susie found that her southern cooking vanished the quickest at the monthly potluck dinner. The couple had one of only three phones in the area and drove as far as thirty miles just to deliver messages. The two formed many friendships that continued even after they returned home to the Hopewell Ward, Richmond Virginia Chesterfield Stake.

The couple also gained a testimony of missionary work. After returning home, they were called as stake missionaries. Brother Brooks started home teaching a member at the federal prison in Prince George, Virginia, and soon he was teaching the missionary discussions to a number of interested individuals. Although inmates cannot be baptized, more than twenty joined the Church after being released.

In addition, Brother and Sister Brooks volunteer two days each week at a local hospital, they make more than a dozen visits every month to those in their stake who are sick and bedridden, and they regularly present programs at schools, libraries, wards, and other places about their experiences working among the Native Americans.

The Brookses still struggle with sickness and various hospital stays. “We do have a lot of health problems,” Brother Brooks acknowledges, “but we don’t let that stop us.”—Becky Robinette Wright, Richmond, Virginia

Photo by Maren Younce Mecham