I met Suzanne Thomas while serving as a missionary in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Her family had joined the Church in England and then immigrated to Canada for better opportunities. The Thomas family loved and cared for the missionaries -- and the Elders reciprocated by loving their food and caring for their daughters (not literally, but you know what I mean). They were such good people that, even after I was transferred, their kindness and generosity always impressed me .
When my missionary service was complete I returned to the States and moved to Provo, Utah to begin my advanced education at BYU. A short time after I arrived in Utah I discovered the Thomas’ family had also made the move south. It was a blessing to rekindle our friendship and I appreciated the help they offered so much that I made it a point to introduce my fiancé’ to them when we were engaged.
Flash forward several years!!
Teresa and I moved back to Utah after working several years in Arizona and California. We found a house for our little family in West Valley City (such a boring name but a nice town) and settled in to continue the process of growing up.
One Sabbath, I was conducting Sacrament meeting (I had been called to be a counselor to the Bishop) when a new couple was introduced – Corby and Suzanne Campbell. The names meant nothing to me but immediately after the service the wife (Suzanne) came right up to me and asked if I had served a mission in Canada. With my positive response, she turned to her new husband and said, “See, I told you this was Elder Whitmer.” (She later told us that it was the way I talked that clued her in to who I was. Probably the irreverent way I conducted the meeting.)
Still not realizing who she was, I puzzled through my memory banks (which were slightly better than they are now) and finally recognized who this young lady was standing before me. It was my ‘old’ friend from the Edmonton 3rd Ward. She and her sweetheart had just purchased a home in our ward – just around the corner from where we lived.
Over the years that the Campbell’s lived in our ward, we served with them in callings, shared sorrows and joys, helped Scouts and young women find their way, and became friends of the best kind. It was at Corby’s suggestion that I eventually changed careers and become a teacher – one of the best choices (next to Teresa) I ever made. And when the Campbell’s moved to a new home, we helped and then wept and wondered how we would ever get along without their love and support.
The years have passed for us and the Campbell’s. Our children are grown and gone – their offspring are close behind. Corby has moved to another career of his own. Both Corby and Suzanne have endured serious health issues. Our families have welcomed grandchildren and the joy they bring. And despite the fact that our good friends have moved to the other side of the continent, we think of them often and follow the events of their lives (thanks Facebook).
|Stolen from Suzanne's Facebook|
But maybe most importantly, these good people, our friends, The Campbell’s, are still a vital part of our mortal experience. We don’t get together like we used to but the events we have enjoyed have shaped our lives for the better. We miss our Sunday night visits but our souls are larger and more enlightened because our love was returned by two of God’s best children.
Good People are all around us. The Campbell’s are great examples.