“A Big Heart,” Ensign, Mar. 2000, 46–47
I was the only deacon-age Latter-day Saint boy in the entire town of Red Oak, Iowa. Every Sunday my family traveled an hour each way to attend church. Our branch had an unusually strong spirit. That spirit was exemplified to me in the form of Brother Bill Rickabaugh, my quorum adviser. Brother Rickabaugh was a big man. We described him as “kind of broad at the shoulders and the same at the hips.” Brother Rickabaugh’s testimony was as solid as he was, and his heart was just as big. The three of us in the quorum lived in different towns, each about a half hour apart. But Brother Rickabaugh never failed to get us together every week. He continually urged us never to lose sight of the goal of serving a mission. Under his guidance we read the Book of Mormon.
Every month, regardless of the weather and the terrain, Brother Rickabaugh took us camping. He kept up with us every step of the way. I remember sitting in makeshift shelters on frozen winter nights in the hills of the heartland while Brother Rickabaugh taught us the gospel. He bore his testimony to us as we hiked across a frozen lake. The three of us may have been a handful, but he took our antics in stride, and we knew he loved us.
Brother Rickabaugh may not have fully understood how much he meant to us. But I have never forgotten the lessons I learned from him when I was a 12-year-old boy. All three of us served missions and married in the temple, thanks in part to the dedication, sacrifice, and love of a bighearted deacons quorum adviser.