BETA

Missionary moment: Much in common

In January 1998, Elder Dustin Otero, from Yuma, Ariz., arrived in the Georgia Macon Mission. While serving in his first area, in Aiken, S.C., he met Tyler Franklin, the boyfriend of Church member Janna Lynes. Tyler showed an interest in the gospel and began taking the missionary discussions.

In the process, he and Elder Otero discovered they had quite a bit in common. Elder Otero had also been introduced to the Church by his girlfriend and joined the Church just two years prior. Being a new convert, he was an earnest, spirit-filled missionary. During this time, Tyler started going to early morning seminary with Janna and came in exactly during the same lesson that Elder Otero had encountered when he first started attending seminary.

In February 1998, Tyler was baptized by Elder Otero. Soon after, Tyler graduated from high school and moved to Florida. Also, progressing in the gospel, he became an elder in February 1999 and attended the Orlando Temple in March.

Tyler then returned to Aiken, submitted his mission papers and received a call to the California Riverside Mission. Ironically, he reported to the Missionary Training Center on Sept. 15, the same day Elder Otero returned home from his mission. This was not planned. Elder Otero had received his flight plans before Elder Franklin received his mission call.

Thus, the new "Elder Franklin" and Elder Otero flew out of the airport in Atlanta, Ga., on the same flight — Elder Otero going home from a successful, honorable mission, with his convert friend in the seat beside him.

While they were waiting at the airport, a plane brought a number new missionaries arriving from the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.

Their flight was finally announced, and the young men boarded their plane. Upon landing in Phoenix, Ariz., Elder Otero bade good luck to Elder Franklin, who continued on to Salt Lake City. Both these young men — who are the only members in their respective families — feel that although they had been members only a short time, how could they not serve a mission. — Jack and Mary Ann Lynes, Aiken, S.C.

Illustration by John Clark.