A High-Kicking Family
previous next

“A High-Kicking Family,” Tambuli, Oct. 1989, 49

A High-Kicking Family

Shane Aldous steps to the front of his karate class.

“Taegeuk Seven Jang,” he shouts and begins leading students through a complex series of smooth flowing movements called a kata. Shane’s hands move into positions, palms up, fingers together. His eyes wide, alert, he steps into a low stance. Then with practiced precision, a hand moves in a graceful circle, stops, pulls in, and punches upward. A fast high kick follows.

A karate class might seem an unlikely place for missionary work, but for Shane Aldous, 15, and his family, almost any place can present an opportunity.

“Two years ago I was the biggest boy in my class,” Shane explains. “All of the boys who thought they were tough wanted to fight me. But I didn’t want to fight. My mother saw an advertisement in the paper for karate classes and asked if I wanted to take lessons.”

Chol H. Kim, the instructor of the class, teaches TaeKwon Do, a Korean style of karate, which emphasizes both physical and mental discipline. “In TaeKwon Do, character development is as important as physical development. It’s a class rule,” Shane says, “to show respect to your teachers and your parents.”

Shane’s parents and his brother Brad, 14, were so impressed with what Master Kim was teaching that they also signed up for his classes. “We do things as a family whenever we can,” Shane says.

Because they worked together and could help each other learn, the Aldous family progressed rapidly.

Brad and Shane began entering karate tournaments, and at the United States National Junior Olympics they took top honors in their divisions. Shane brought home a silver medal, and Brad won two gold medals.

From the time the Aldous family enrolled in his school, Master Kim had been watching them closely. There was something about them that made them stand out from other people. “I was impressed by the support they gave each other,” he says. “And by the emphasis they put on family and personal growth and development.”

Eventually the Aldous family invited Master Kim to church. He began taking the missionary lessons and was baptized.

Not long after he was baptized, one of his students, Gloria Lee, 19, was also baptized.

“I thought Master Kim was making a terrible mistake,” she says. “I’d heard some bad things about the Mormons. I didn’t want him to become involved in what I thought was a false religion and ruin his whole life. I decided to so something about it, so I confronted him and some other members of the Church. But I had a lot of questions about my own religion, and everything I learned about Mormonism made sense. I couldn’t deny it. I started taking discussions from the missionaries, and instead of saving Master Kim from the ‘terrible’ religion, I ended up being baptized myself. I am very lucky. My family belongs to another church, and they worry about me the way I worried about Master Kim. It’s not easy, but I’ve never regretted being baptized. The Church is true. The Aldous family has always been a good example for me. Without them I would not have found the Church.”

Accorind to Shane, working together as a family and living and knowing gospel principles are important keys to being successful missionaries. “You never know when people are watching you,” he says. “Or when they are going to become interested and start asking questions.”

Photography by Laird Roberts