Sunday, February 05, 2006

I Have A Testimony of Visiting Teaching!

Portrait Taken in May 1988

Fifteen years ago, my wife, Dawn Ann, had just been recently assigned to be the Visiting Teacher of my Sister, Jeannette. They were living in a singles ward in Millcreek, Utah at the time.

Dawn Ann and Jeannette hit it off well. They became fast friends with each other. Their friendship was more than just the obligatory Visiting Teaching acquaintance. Jeannette had placed some family portraits on top of her bookcase, which was near the front door of her apartment.

The photo above is what she saw. I am seated on the far left side of the picture.

Dawn Ann and Jeannette proceeded to have a conversation about all the kids in my family. From the photo, Jeannette described each of her brothers to Dawn Ann. Jeannette even put in a good word for me, telling Dawn Ann that we had a lot in common, and that we might get along well with each other. Dawn Ann, I'm sure, was struck by this handsome photo of myself *blush*, which seemed to make an impression on her.

A few weeks went by, and some fellow, still known to this day only as Batchelor #1, had asked Dawn Ann out for a date. The plan was to go to dinner at the Wagon Master restaurant, which is a pioneer themed restaurant. She was quite excited, and had been getting herself all primed and ready for her big date. The night before the big date was to happen, Batchelor #1calls to cancel the date. Something about having to wash his hair, or some other lame excuse.

Dawn Ann was not pleased, to say the least. In fact, she was in nail-spitting mode!

A couple of days later, Dawn Ann was visiting Jeannette for her visiting teaching appointment. Jeannette knew about the big date, and asked Dawn Ann how things went. Well, lets just say that the old saying, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!" would fit perfectly here. Dawn Ann gave Jeannette an earful detailing just what she thought of Batchelor #1!

After her rant, Dawn Ann caught her breath long enough to tell Jeannette: "I ought to just call your brother myself!" Then she exclaimed: "WELL, I'M GOING TO WAGONMASTER WITH SOMEONE!" as she pounded her fist. Then she asked Jeannette for my phone number.

Jeannette paused for a moment, not wanting to disappoint her friend, but also not wanting to offend her brother, she thought about what her response should be. Then Jeannette realized that she would be attending a family dinner later that night (In honor of our two brothers' birthdays). She could ask me then, if it would be OK to give Dawn Ann my phone number. This happened on March 16th, 1991.

Later that day, I was at our family gathering. I remember I was in the living room, near the piano at mom's house. Jeannette approached me, while no one else was in the room. She told me that there was this girl she knew from her singles ward, who wanted to give me a phone call. She asked if I would mind if if she were to give Dawn Ann my phone number.

I thought for a moment, and told Jeannette that it would be fine to give Dawn Ann my phone number. But then the thought struck me, "Better yet, how about if I just come over to your Sacrament Meeting tomorrow! I could meet her there!" Jeannette seemed to think that was a good idea, so she told me the time that their meetings began, and I began to plan for the big meet-up.

Well, the deal was that Jeannette was supposed to call Dawn Ann later that night about whether or not it would be OK for Dawn Ann to call me. For whatever reason, she didn't. The next morning Dawn Ann tried to call Jeannette to get the news, but there was no answer. Jeannette had probably already left for church.

The singles ward had the schedule where Relief Society/Priesthood meeting was the first meeting of the 3-hour bloc, with Sacrament meeting being the last meeting of the day. Jeannette and Dawn Ann sat down together in Relief Society class. Dawn Ann leaned over to ask Jeannette about the phone number. Jeannette turns to her and said, "Well, you can have the phone number -- But you should know that he is coming to our Sacrament meeting today to meet you!

WHAT!!! Argggghhhhh!! Well, this was clearly a good news-bad news situation. The good news was that she would get my phone number! The bad news was that she didn't have a chance to get herself all gussied up for our first meeting. Now, instead of feeling like she was prowling on the offensive, the situation was quickly reversed, and now she was backpedaling and trying to figure out what to do next.

Meanwhile, I was having none of this stress. I got up, and dressed, combed my then more-abundant hair, with mustache in tow, and cruised on over to the chapel. At this point, I knew nothing about Dawn Ann. Jeannette had pretty much told Dawn Ann my entire life-history to that point, so I was at quite a disadvantage.

I decided to take more of an ambivalent attitude coming into the situation. Although I thought it was nice that someone wanted to meet me, I wasn't ready to invest much emotional capital in this venture at this early stage. I figured it can't hurt to go meet someone new. If it turns into something, great! If not, I haven't lost anything either. It was St. Patrick's day, 1991 though. Who knows? Maybe this will be my lucky day?

I arrived at the chapel 5-10 minutes before the meeting began. I looked around the chapel, and discovered Jeannette sitting in the middle of the back row. I went over and sat down next to my sister. We greeted each other, but within a few moments, Dawn Ann appeared. She had staked out seats in the center section of the chapel.

I'll never forget the first words she spoke to me, "David B." (she called me by my full name). She then extended her hand to me, and I arose from my seat. She took my hand and began walking me down the aisle to her seats. I remember looking back at my sister, Jeannette, with a sheepish "Lamb going to the slaughter" look on my face. Apparently Dawn Ann wasn't going to share me with anyone, even my sister!

We got settled into our seats, and introduced ourselves to one another. Before the meeting even started, we had exchanged phone numbers and made plans to go out the following Friday to -- The Wagon Master, of course!. (All I can say is that Batchelor #1 really missed out -- and I'm so glad he did!)

Well, one thing lead to another. We were engaged the following July, and Married the following October in the Salt Lake Temple. We have had many wonderful experiences together in the 15 years that have followed. We have two beautiful children. We have a life together filled with harmony and happiness. There is no place I would rather be, than in the arms of my sweetheart. I'm so grateful that I have her to be by my side for all eternity.

Jeannette and Dawn Ann in Summer of 1991

I am also grateful to the Visiting Teaching Program of the church. Had not my wife been a diligent visiting teacher, perhaps my wife and I would have never met. Had my sister not welcomed her visiting teacher into her home, and became friends with Dawn Ann, my family may not exist as it is today. That is why I have a testimony of visiting teaching. Meeting and marrying my wife has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.

As it turned out, that St. Patrick's Day of 1991 was my lucky day after all!


Alpha Male said...

I enjoyed your blog. Got it throughone of my brother-in-laws that you commented on. My wife and i were sealed 7/24/1982 in Washington DC Temple.Will tell how we met in a blog latter.

posted by said...

Good post david what a great way to meet your wife I wont go into the details of how i met my wife, lets just say it was in different circumstances, on a side issue St Patricks day is my birthday, yep an irish man born on that day of all days, when i was a kid I thought the parade was just for my birthday lol. but i will give you a laugh when we " my wife and I" where sealed in the Preston temple england, no Temple in Ireland the Sealer called me a "half a loaf" meaning not all there in the head i guess. and i wont go into that any futher.

growingafamily said...

I love your post ! It so nice to hear someone sticking up for Visiting Teaching as I seem to be in the midst of many who for one reason or another have nothing but negative things to say about it.
I too know what a difference VT can make in a persons life - thank you for sharing your story, its made my day.
I too was sealed to my spouse in the Preston England Temple - its so beautiful !