Posted on May 29 2018
One of my most favorite memories from my mission that I hold dear to my heart is about patience. It is a testament that Heavenly Father always fulfills His promises when we keep His commandments.
I met a wonderful, sweet sister on my mission by the name of Susan Bison. Susan was a member who had become reactivated when she and her husband had a young family at home.
She told me that one day, while looking outside her window, watching her children play, she had an “aha” moment. Out of the blue a primary song had come to her mind and by some miracle she could remember every single word of the song. This surprised her because she hadn't been to church or primary since she was a young child. She took this as a sign from God and knew deep down that she wanted to come back to church and to have an eternal family.
Susan had great desires to have her family sealed for time and all eternity but her husband would have nothing to do with it. He was not a member of the church and had no desire to join. However, he was willing to support his wife and children with the new direction they were taking.
This didn’t discourage Susan. She had prepared herself to receive a Patriarchal blessing and in that blessing she was told that both she and her husband would one day enter the Lord’s temple to be sealed along with their children for time and all eternity and because of her faith she knew that one day it would be true.
Now lets jump forward thirty plus years, when I met this wonderful sister and her husband. Susan, along with her husband, had raised wonderful, upstanding children. She had remained active and had fulfilled many church callings but her husband had yet to become a member. When I first met Brother Bison I immediately felt intimidated. He was a tall, strong man with a full white beard. But as soon as he started talking to me I could tell that he was kind and a gentle giant. All of my fears vanished.
During our first conversations brother Bison told me that he attended sacrament meeting every Sunday with his dear wife but would leave soon after it ended. He told me that he had had lots of missionaries attempt to teach him the gospel but that it just wasn't for him. He had no desire to listen to the discussions or to get baptized. However, he loved his wife with all his being and even liked the many missionaries he had come to know. He enjoyed their conversations and loved to talk with them about his chickens, cars and his garage, which was his man cave.
At the time, I was still new to the mission and my companion thought that it would be a good idea for me to ask him if I could practice teaching the missionary discussions on him. To be honest, I probably did need help practicing the lessons so I thought, why not? So on a cool Washington day, nerves and all, I asked him to be my guinea pig.
The image of me asking Brother Bison is still imprinted on my mind. Without much thought he agreed to my request. “Anything to help you,” he said. Soon after that with the help of my companion, and the spirit, we were teaching him. I mean truly teaching him. This was huge! His wife, at first surprised, soon became in awe of her husband. She was always supportive. I'm sure that all of us were very much so in her prayers. Weeks passed and the lessons flew by and I wondered if he felt anything.
One Sunday brother Bison and his wife attended an LDS Conference. There, one of the speakers, a general authority, committed Brother Bison to baptism. The spirit was definite and strong. Something had stirred within both Brother Bison and his wife. They both left the conference filled with the spirit and with tears in their eyes. That night my companion and I joined them for dinner. There at the dinner table he had accepted the invitation to be baptized. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Brother Bison entered the waters of baptism and soon after was sealed for time and all eternity in the temple to his wife. I was so proud of him and still to this day admire and love both him and his wife dearly.
Sister Bison is an example to me of patience and faith. She was steadfast in keeping the commandments and never gave up. With faith and trust in God she believed and knew, without doubt, that her patriarchal blessing would come to pass. As I look back on this experience I realize that the Lord works on His timing. Sometimes we want things to happen immediately or receive answers to questions ASAP! But our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us. May we trust in His timing, rely on His promises, wait for His answers, believe in His miracles, rejoice in His goodness, and relax in His presence.
Sister Willardson served in the Washington Tacoma mission.