Elder Cameron Fuller, 20, from Preston, Idaho, USA and Elder Ashton Foulger, 20, from Syracuse, Utah, USA have been serving together for the last several weeks as missionary companions in Porirua, New Zealand, a suburb of Wellington, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Foulger completed his two-year mission and headed home to the United States recently.
Before he left, the companions discovered that they have interesting backgrounds, and some things in common.
Firstly, they are fourth cousins through their great, great, great grandfather Joseph Linford, Sr.
They also both have ancestors who previously served as missionaries in New Zealand.
Elder Fuller had three ancestors serve as missionaries among the Kiwis. The first was James Wesley Linford, who served from 1901 to 1904.
His great uncle Heber Fuller served from 1961–1963; and Willard Fuller, his sixth cousin, from 1927–1930.
Elder Foulger’s ancestor, Franklin James Foulger, served in New Zealand from 1913–1915.
Matthew Cowley, a well-known and loved missionary serving the people in New Zealand for five years as a missionary and another seven years presiding over the New Zealand mission, is distantly related to both young missionaries. He is Elder Foulger’s sixth cousin and Elder Fuller’s seventh cousin.
Elder Foulger has some other well-known ancestors. Joseph Smith, the first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is Elder Foulger’s fifth great uncle. Joseph Smith’s brother Hyrum, who died as a martyr along with Joseph, is Elder Foulger’s fifth great grandfather.
Both Elders Foulger and Fuller have been serving as volunteer missionaries for nearly two years and have served in various parts of New Zealand.
They teach interested people about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and are always looking for ways to give regular community service.
The legacy of their ancestors has been a great strength to these elders as they continue in the work that their departed family engaged in many years ago, even amongst those of the same culture.