Helping Members Return to the Flock

Helping Members Return to the Flock

Steve and Carin Drysdale were prepared to change their lives when they were contacted by stake and ward leaders. They had moved to a new area. In their old area they had suffered through some serious problems in their lives. Steve and Carin felt “ill at ease” in attending Church meetings, he says. When they saw the many professional, affluent people who were members of their stake, they felt certain they would not fit in. They soon found they were wrong.

Steve says he had never been “totally abandoned by the Spirit”, despite inactivity. After their move, he and his wife wanted to reorder their priorities because of their children. The urge to change became more pressing when they learned that Carin was expecting again.

When the Drysdales’ youngest son was born with a serious health problem, people of the ward rallied around them in ways that amazed them. “They have been our family here,” Carin says. Members helped with their four-year-old while Steve and Carin were with the baby at the hospital forty miles away. When Steve had to work, sisters would periodically drive to the hospital to stay with the baby while Carin took needed time for herself. Ward members cleaned or did other chores at their flat while Steve and Carin were away. “I would do anything for these people—anything they would righteously ask,” Steve says, recalling the love they have shown for him and his family.

Jeff Maccubbin wasn’t very active in the Church, but he loved to play basketball. Youth and leaders of his ward accepted him as he was and loved him into activity. One returned missionary friend in particular helped Jeff decide to go on a mission. As Jeff became more active, he began to urge his family to participate with him.

Bishop Hinckley challenged Jeff’s parents to be ready to go through the temple  with their son before he left for the Missionary Training Centre. They accepted the challenge. Having the whole family sealed in the temple “was something I had been looking forward to for a long time,” says Jack MacCubbin, Jeff’s father. Jeff’s mother, Anne, says that the love of their bishop, home teachers, and other members made it easy to come back into full activity. Now the MacCubbins try to help newcomers and other less-active members feel this same spirit of love.

Through Jeff’s example, one friend was baptized, and now this young man and another are also considering missions.

Sometimes, as in the case of Maira Duron, activating one person may mean bringing back others in the family as well.

With her husband, Sister Duron joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1984. She enjoyed the blessings of the gospel, particularly opportunities to learn about our Savior and to fast and pray for Heavenly Father’s help. But when her marriage broke up, she felt ashamed to face her happily married friends in her ward; somehow, she feared, she had not lived up to other Church members’ expectations. Since she also was working at night to support her two children, Sister Duron felt she was unable to attend church on Sunday mornings. She did not go to church for two years.

Maira Duron is deeply grateful for the loving visiting teacher who sent the LDS missionaries to her home again. The missionaries encouraged her to come back to church, and Sister Duron knew she must do so. She needed the opportunity to learn about the gospel and to be close to the Spirit of the Lord again. She prayed for courage and told herself, “It’s not the people I’m going to see, it’s for me and my children.”

The people, however, welcomed her back warmly. They were happy to see her enjoying all the blessings of the gospel as she had before. She faces them confidently now because they have shown her the depth of their love, and she knows they will not let her down.