In the early 1980s, my family and I lived in West Germany. We were members of the Kaiserslautern Germany Servicemen Stake. At the time, our local leaders were emphasizing missionary work. We were told that “within our circle of friends, the Lord had placed some of his choice spirit children who were seeking the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” My wife Jenny and I believed that to be true. Our leaders encouraged each of us in the stake to identify non-member friends of ours that we thought would be interested in hearing the gospel message. We were to make an initial list of about ten people. Then we were to fast and pray about our list of friends and decide who we were to approach first.
We decide on contacting two men who were coworkers in my office. I spoke first to Chris, a young single man in the office, but he showed little interest at the time. Next, we planned to approach Bruce Hamby, a good and kind man with a young family. However, several days went by and I found myself nervous about speaking to Bruce about the gospel. Finally one day, Jenny called me at the office and said, “Have you spoken to Bruce yet?” I said, “no, but I intend to soon.” Then Jenny asked if Bruce was in the office that day, and I said that he was. At that point, she said “Scott, put down the phone. I will wait while you talk to him!” Well, nervously I went over to Bruce and said, “Bruce, did you know that I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” He said yes, and I responded: “Would you be interested in learning more about the church?” His simple answer was, “Yes, I would.”
Well, the next several weeks were magical. Bruce and Ella (and their daughter Tanya) came to our home for dinner and met with the missionaries. We also went to their home and had dinner with them and the missionaries. The missionaries taught their lessons. The Hamby’s attended church meetings with us, met with the saints, and embraced the gospel message. Then, in just a few short weeks, they were baptized. It was a gloriously wonderful and happy day. Even the young single man in our office (Chris) attended the baptism and was impressed. Later on, Bruce and Ella approached Chris about the gospel; and with their fellowshipping, Chris was taught by the missionaries and was also baptized into the church.
Now, this was a wonderful experience for our families. But afterward, Bruce came to me with an amazing addition to this story. He said, “Scott I have something I’d like to tell you. You should know that I grew up in a small town in Utah near Hill Air Force Base. My father was a civilian employee at the base and we were not members of the church. All through my school years, I heard about things like Primary, youth activities and Seminary, and I was interested. But no one ever invited me to attend. I even had members of my immediate family who became members of the church, but I never felt invited. Thank you for introducing my family to the gospel.”
Today, Bruce and Ella are still very active in the Gospel. Bruce has served faithfully on the Stake High Council and has served as a Temple Ordinance Worker. Ella has served faithfully as a Young Women’s leader. Their children have served missions and have made Temple Covenants.
(Note: An edited version of this article was published in the Ensign Magazine, July 2016 edition, page 76.)
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