They Welcomed Us to Church

“They Welcomed Us to Church,” Ensign, Mar. 2000, 42–43

They Welcomed Us to Church

The summer I was 11 years old, my family moved to a small farm in Idaho. My dad wasn’t a member, but he felt that since my sister and I had been recently baptized, we should attend our meetings. I vividly remember how scared and lost we felt that first Sunday. My sister and I stood on the sidewalk for a few minutes shaking off the dust and smoothing our hair and clothes after a wild ride to church over dirt roads with a neighbor boy who left the car windows open. As we watched families enter the church, we thought the steps leading into the building looked so big.

Finally we gathered up our courage and walked up the steps. Inside, people were visiting in the foyer. We threaded our way through the crowd toward the chapel, planning to slip in quietly and sit in the back. Then we spotted a roadblock—a gentleman standing at the door of the chapel, greeting people and handing out programs. We glanced over and saw there was a woman at the other door doing the same thing.

We did our best to pass by unnoticed, but the man at the door spotted us and stopped us. For a moment I thought he might ask us to leave. Instead he asked us our names and welcomed us to church. He told us that his name was John Smith and that his wife, Jean, was the woman at the other door. It was always nice to have new people move into the ward, he said.

We found seats and sat down. A warm feeling came over me. My sister and I were going to like this ward, I just knew it. I shook off the last of the road dust and watched the Smiths greet the rest of the congregation coming into the chapel. The Smiths must be very special people to have such an important job, I decided.

Looking back now, I realize I was right. And I will always be grateful for a special couple who took the time to make two dusty, disheveled little girls feel welcome and at home.

Kara Bjarnson