BETA

Missionary moments: My childhood home

In 1956, I returned home to Australia from England, where I had spent some months in training with the Royal Navy. Upon my return, with a new English bride, I learned that my parents were to leave shortly for two years overseas. My wife and I found a nearby home and settled down.

In early 1961, two young men knocked on our door. I remember remarking that they must be Mormon elders and to come on in. By the time they left that night I knew I had found what I was searching for. For my young family, I wanted particularly a church that not only covered the theological questions, but which also placed an emphasis on families. At the time, there were few chapels in the whole of the Australian continent, and most of the relatively few members met in rented halls. Four chapels were constructed in Sydney and two more along the coast. In 1959, the very first stake in Australia was formed, with the stake center in Greenwich.

On Saturday evening, May 20, 1961, we attended stake conference and listened to Elder Harold B. Lee of the Quorum of the Twelve. The next day, between sessions, my wife and I were baptized. Four years later, I was called to serve as stake clerk. Upon opening the cash box at the stake center, I found an old check for $50 (U.S. currency) made out on a bank in Utah. I turned it over, hoping to find a home address. It was there — but it was the home in which I had grown up! I wrote to the bank and corresponded with a Brother Gallagher, and learned that for two years my parents' home had also been the LDS building office during the rapid expansion that took place during those earlier years. They were the same years my parents lived overseas.

I then remembered my father's remarks that he had leased his home to some Americans — and also his complaint about drawing-pin holes that had been left in the timber of the walls in the glassed-in back verandah. Well, that had also been my bedroom, and in my mind's eye I can see the architectural plans of Greenwich chapel pinned to the wall above where my bed used to be. I see Brother Gallagher leaving his blessing on the home and the families living there.

Today, I have grandchildren on missions, and I also serve in a temple mission at the Sydney Australia Temple, helping to join together other families for time and all eternity.

— Tony Paul Gaynor, Green Valley Ward, Liverpool Australia Stake