Washington Post videographer Ben de la Cruz recently spent some time with two LDS missionaries, Elders Gregg Karren and David Liew, who are working in the greater D.C. area to bring people to the knowledge of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Watch the seven-minute video embedded below:
Background: This is an example of how two men of different nationalities and races can work together for one goal -- and on behalf of one Lord. Elder Karren, 21 years old, grew up in a small farming town in Alberta, Canada. In his two years as a missionary in Northern Virginia, he's helped convert about 41 people to the LDS Church. Elder Karren says the number is good for the United States, though small compared to Africa and South America where people are more open to missionaries.
Elder Liew is originally from Malaysia. He was raised Catholic but converted to Mormonism when two missionaries visited his family home at the invitation of his father. He was 12 at the time and converted along with his brother and three sisters. Liew arrived in the United States to train at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah on June 24, 2010. He is the first in his family to go on a mission.
One LDS member who encountered Elder Karren in the D.C. area posted this comment to this story:
stoutmtc 7/11/2011 4:19:51 PM GMT-0800:
Shout out to Elder Karren! We had him and his missionary companion in our home, teaching a young man who ended up deciding to be baptized. Maybe we'll get a chance to meet Elder Liew some day, if he rotates through our congregation.
I loved my mission in Rome, Italy, back in the 80s. Relatively few people wanted to join the Church, and the little old ladies in Quartu Sant'Elena did tell the kids that we only wanted to take them down to the beach and roast them for our supper(!!) but I loved them all.
Hey, Elder Karren, remember Helaman 5:12?
"12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
Love that scripture, but love it more because of what I see: A concerned father who'd read Isaiah about the whirlwind (Isaiah 40:24) so the father described the whirlwind he had experienced - a tropical storm, followed by tsunami-like storm surge. But there is no tropical storm in the Bible. And Joseph Smith never saw a tropical storm in his life. Joseph didn't copy it from the Bible, and he couldn't have described that storm based on personal experience.
Hope you're having a great time at home - feel free to visit any time you're in the area!
The decision to lower the missionary age limit for some LDS men was prompted by educational or military requirements in the specified countries. Most South American countries also send their male missionaries out at the age of 18 as well.