Only Two Baptisms?
February 2016

“Only Two Baptisms?” Liahona, February 2016, 42

Latter-day Saint Voices

Only Two Baptisms?

Thomas R. Coleman, Kansas, USA

a cold day in 1957

Illustration by Allen Garns

While I was serving as president of the Guatemala Guatemala City North Mission, we received several new full-time missionaries. As I introduced myself to these missionaries, I told them the story of my conversion and baptism.

I related that Elders David Tree and Wayne Matthews had taught me the gospel when I was nine years old and living in Glendive, Montana, USA. The two missionaries and a member of the Glendive Branch drove me to Williston, North Dakota, USA, on a cold winter day in 1957 so I could be baptized in the font of a meetinghouse there.

After I had related my story and was interviewing the new missionaries, one of them, Elder Benjamin Pixton, told me that David Tree was his grandfather. What a wonderful surprise! Elder Tree had baptized a nine-year-old boy in Glendive, Montana, and nearly 50 years later that boy was called as his grandson’s mission president.

When Elder Pixton’s parents and grandparents came to pick him up at the end of his mission, I had the pleasure of meeting David Tree again. During our visit, I showed him the Book of Mormon—with a message and promise he had written—that he had given to me the day I was baptized.

Elder Pixton’s mother told him that her father hadn’t talked much about his mission. He felt that he hadn’t been very successful because he baptized only two people: a single woman and a nine-year-old boy.

In gratitude I told him that because of his efforts, the rest of my family had eventually joined the Church and that my brother and I, along with our nine sons, had served full-time missions. Because of his missionary service, I said, countless people had been taught the gospel and had joined the Church.

Many good, worthy, dedicated priesthood holders looked after me during the years of my childhood and adolescence, starting with Elder Tree and his companion, Elder Matthews. I will always be grateful that they taught me the gospel of Jesus Christ and brought me into the Lord’s kingdom, where He has blessed me beyond measure.