Missionary moments: First contact
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As I grew up in a small trailer park just outside the city of Houston, Texas, I had three good buddies I hung around. One of the boys was Phillip Rossel, who was a member of the LDS Church. He was the first contact I ever had with the Church at my young age. We pretty much did everything together.
I remember that he was always doing what his parents told him to do. For example, I used to go to his house on Sundays to see if he could come out, but Sunday was time for Phillip to spend with his family.The way he lived his life and listened to his parents impressed me. I was attracted to that and his family life. I liked how they did things together. They would get together for family home evening. I participated one or two times. I felt a joyous, fun feeling there - kind of a loving feeling.
When I was about 10 years old, I moved to New Mexico. I always wondered what became of my three buddies. I ended up growing up with LDS friends who also set good examples for me.
These new friends never judged me for not being a member. They didn't treat me any different than anyone else. They never shunned me but welcomed me to such activities as Church basketball games.
I wasn't a member until after graduating from high school. After joining the Church, I waited a year, then was called to the California Carlsbad Mission.
While in the mission field, I had a companion, Elder Mike Cate, who told me of an Elder Rossel from Houston, Texas. He asked me if I knew him, as I had lived there. As I thought back some nine years, I started remembering my three buddies.
My companion and I soon made contact with Elder Rossel. We found out he was my childhood buddy.
Later, at a zone conference, we reunited and talked of old times. It was a great blessing having a friend like Phillip Rossel, who set an example for a friend who would one day join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then later go on to serve a mission for the Church.