"We found Brother Walker on a hot day in late August, one of the hottest and most humid days I've ever experienced in my life," recalled Elder Michael Shiverdecker of the Virginia Richmond Mission.
In August 1998, Elder Shiverdecker of Logan, Utah, and his companion, Elder George Crossman of Las Vegas, Nev., were tracting by bike down an old country road when they came upon a side road named Rocky Road and the name fit its description. Elder Crossman suggested they bike to the end and work back out, so off they went. After passing several houses on the increasingly narrow and dusty road, they came upon some loggers, who told them there were three more houses down the road. The missionaries' bicycles bounced over deep holes and ruts, raising a cloud of powdered dust.
Finally, the last residence was reached, and they knocked on the door. A gentleman answered the door. He initially thought it was loggers knocking on his door, who had ruined his road and created the incessant noise, so his mood was not exactly welcoming. His attitude improved, however, when the missionaries introduced themselves. Russell Walker invited them into his home.
Following the first discussion, he wanted to hear more. He said he had tried many churches in his 67 years, joining none of them. He said he wanted to feel a "peaceful mind." He wanted a church that would give him the "peaceful soul" he had longed for and now felt. His wife, Ruth, although at the time satisfied with her denomination, helped her husband study the gospel. She was happy that he'd found what he was searching for. While he was recuperating from eye surgery, she read the Book of Mormon to him and took him to Church.
Early in 1999, he was baptized and now often shares a beautiful testimony of the truthfulness of the Church and the gospel. He is overjoyed with his life and says he will be eternally grateful to Elders Crossman and Shiverdecker for their missionary efforts. He is especially grateful because a few months after his baptism, his wife, too, was baptized. On May 9, 2000, Brother and Sister Walker were sealed in the Washington D.C. Temple.
Elders Crossman's and Shiverdecker's perseverance on a Rocky Road in the heat of August was rewarded. Herbert M. Waterfield, Tappahannock Branch, Virginia Richmond Mission
Another in a series of "Missionary Moments"
Illustration by John Clark