Marylynn and Randy Redd Family

Randy Redd
Australia Brisbane Mission
November 1978 - 1980

As a young boy growing up in Utah I did not have a goal to serve a mission as many young men in the church did. My parents never talked to me about serving a mission and I don't feel that they expected that I would serve a mission. In fact I did not seriously consider serving a mission until I began attending Snow College in Ephraim Utah. While at Snow College I had friends who had a variety of standards, some good and some not so good. During this time I was able to see how those friends who were making poor choices were affecting the course of their lives, as well as those who were making good choices were affecting their lives. It was at this time that I became friends with a room full of good LDS young women and I decided that it was this type of young woman I wanted to raise my children and be my eternal companion. I knew that in order to be worthy of such a young woman that I would need to put my life in order and serve a mission. I have heard many times that the friends you choose will greatly impact the choices you make. I have a strong testimony of that.

I was called to serve in the Australia Brisbane Mission in November 1978. After receiving my call, my grandfather, Joe Redd, said he wanted to purchase all of my missionary clothing for me. When we finished our shopping, my grandfather pulled me aside and told me that he was proud of me and that he was grateful that I had chosen to serve a mission. He confided in me that he had always worried that no one from his posterity would carry on the Redd name for him. With tears in his eyes he told me that I was his only hope that the Redd name would continue to be carried on in the church. I made a decision at that time to do all I could not to disappoint my grand father, and to see that there would always be worthy members of his family to carry his name.

When we entered the MTC in November of 1978, we were one of the first English-speaking groups to go to the MTC. This was a new program to help prepare the missionary to learn the discussions and to teach the gospel from the moment that we entered the mission field. What I remember the most about the month that we spent in the MTC was how strong the spirit was. I felt the spirit so intensely every day, all day, to the point that at the end of each day I was completely exhausted.

I arrived in Australia the day before Christmas and I can still remember how odd it felt to have such warm weather. We had just left Provo, Utah with several feet of snow and arrived at the mission home to temperatures of over 100 degrees. I can still remember how happy I was when I met our mission president Keith W. Hubbard and his wife from Mesa, Arizona. Both he and his wife were such loving and honest people that made me feel instantly welcome in a country so far away from my home. I have always had very strong feelings for President Hubbard. I knew he was called of God and it gave me great strength to serve with him. On Christmas day we had a large Mission conference at a chapel near the mission home. At the end of the conference the mission president handed out the Christmas packages from home, and to my surprise I had a package from my mother. In order to get to Australia by Christmas time she had to send the package several months earlier. I had never taste stale cookies that were as good as those cookies were that Christmas. It reinforced how much support and love I had back at home.

At the Christmas conference we were assigned to our first companions and my trainer was Elder Tracy from Ogden, Utah. When we first began tracting I remember thinking that "at least I do not have to learn a foreign language." Boy, was I wrong. For the first two weeks I can remember recognizing every word said, but could not understand a single thing that was said. But I soon caught on to the slang and was able to communicate with the people of Australia.

I know that there were many people we taught who were touched by the spirit, and some joined the church. Because of the time that had passed, many of their conversion stories become blended together. I will not try and share them in great detail. But I remember a young mother who lost a 4-year-old son to cancer who was looking for some understanding and meaning in her life after the loss of her child. I remember a 70-year-old devout Catholic lady who had twenty-one children who had lost her husband, was feeling alone and was grateful for a message of eternal marriage. I can remember a young lady who had made some poor choices in her life and had an abortion, and how happy she was when she was baptized and had received a remission of her sins.

And I remember the joy that members of the church, who were isolated by hundreds of miles from other members, had when the Mormon missionaries were assigned to their small towns. They were so grateful to have missionaries in their town. When we got off the train in Charters Towers, they met us at the train, had found us a house to live in and had paid the rent and utilities. They had filled the house with groceries. The mother, although she had had a stroke and was paralyzed, washed and ironed our clothes every week. It was truly humbling for me to see how the gospel changed the lives of so many people, with such a variety of needs.

There was only one member family in the little town of Charters Towers, and the father was the mayor of the town. We met in his home because there was no chapel. We two missionaries conducted the meetings, led the singing, prepared and passed the sacrament, gave the talks and prayers. The father set aside five acres of his land to give to the Church to build a Temple. That was his dream. Ten or fifteen years later, after I had returned from my Mission, I saw his picture and read an article in the Church News that a Chapel had been built on that piece of ground in Charters Towers.

I remember the joy of a part member family when the mother finally joined the church after many years of the heart felt prayers of her husband. For the Four months we were in Charters Towers we worked with her. She came to Church every week but she was too afraid of what her family would say to be baptized. (Her uncle was the Bishop of the Anglican Church of Australia. He was a powerful man in that Church.) Finally, months after we had left the town and there were no longer missionaries there, the Branch President in Charters Towers called us one day and told us there was a child of record to be baptized there. When we got there we realized it was the child of this lady who had been afraid to commit and be baptized. So we challenged her again, and she agreed to be baptized, with her daughter. The problem was there was no building with a baptismal font, so we took a shovel and dug a hole in the Branch President's back yard, put a tarp in it, filled it with water and baptized her and her daughter. I, also, remember the joy of an 18-year-old recent convert receiving the priesthood, and then days later baptizing his friend.

I also remember how my mission touched my family at home and the sacrifices they made for my behalf to support me on my mission. I had a very faithful Mother who had always supported me and written me every week. After I had been out on my mission for probably a year, I received a letter from my father who had never written me before. He told me that he was proud of me and that he would support me any way he could on my mission. I was aware that there was some uncertainty with his employment, but he told me not to worry, that he would do whatever it took to financially support me on my mission, even if he had to sell his prized herd of horses.

Although my father had never spoken to me about his feelings regarding the church, I knew at that moment that he had a testimony, even though he did not know how to express it in words.

I also remember how a mission changed my life and increased my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, and how my mission laid the foundation for all the successes I have had in my life, including my marriage to my loving wife Marylynn and our four children. I know, with out any doubt, that I would not have the things I cherish the most, my wife and children, had I not served the Lord for those two years. I will always be grateful to those who helped and inspired me to serve a mission, and to the Lord who allowed me to serve.

Marylynn Nevitt Redd
Argentina Mission
October 5, 1989 to April 6, 1990

La M.A.C.

Mendoza, San Juan, and Cordoba Argentina hold some of the most treasured memories for me. Just days into my mission at the M.T.C. we had a teacher tell our district that our mission would affect us the rest of our life in so many ways. He told of how memories would constantly flood our minds throughout our loves. He talked of how sights and even smells from our mission would stand as a reminder also. Sure enough, now ten years later how true that is. There is a certain smell of diesel busses that I often run across and immediately I am back on the streets of Mendoza in El Centro riding my bike hurrying to get out of the way as busses whiz by. But, by far the most lasting memories are of the people, those who were chosen, the people who were willing to accept the word of the Lord and change their ways, change their lives for good. I will never forget the good people of Argentina I met and was able to share the gospel with. What a lasting, eternal bond that we have to each other. I really doubt that I will ever get back to Argentina to see these people who meant do much to me, but when we do meet again with our Father in Heaven what a wonderful reunion it will be.

The greatest reward for having served a mission is the testimony that I gained of my Savior. At this time in my life with so many things competing for my time and attention, I really miss that year and a half that I devoted to gospel study and being so filled with the Spirit. My mission set a spiritual foundation for me to build the rest of my life upon. How thankful I am for the opportunity that I had to serve. Let it be known that it was because of the financial sacrifices of loving family members that I even had that blessing. I will forever be indebted to them for their contribution.

Dakota Redd
Antofagasta Chile Mission
December 2011-December 2013

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