Sister Murdoch did not want to go on a mission, but she went anyway. She left her home of 38 years in Salt Lake City and moved with her husband to “The Only Waunakee in the World!” While some of us would consider this an upgrade, Sister Murdoch was understandably anxious. But she wanted to support her husband, whose patriarchal blessing mentions missionary work, and she wanted to be an example to her grandchildren. (I hear this all the time from couple missionaries, and I think it is a noble motivation.) The thing she may not have realized is how much we need her and Elder Murdoch.
The Murdochs will focus on genealogy, staffing the Stake Family History Center, but they also have been asked to assist the ward in visiting less active and inactive members. Hallelujah! Like most wards I have lived in, the Madison 3rd Ward has a long list of such members, and the Church is as dogged as an alumni association about tracking those people down and visiting them. In wards like mine, where traveling from one end of the ward to other takes 45 minutes to an hour, couple missionaries are a great boon to our typically modest reactivation efforts.
Of course, that’s not the extent of the Murdoch’s contributions to our ward. Today they spoke in Sacrament meeting, just after they were confirmed as the new Gospel Essentials instructors. After our church meetings, I saw Sister Murdoch in conversation with another woman in our ward. “I haven’t played the organ in a long time,” Sister Murdoch was saying, “but I can practice.” Over the coming weeks, the Murdochs will receive countless requests for assistance, and they will respond cheerfully to all of them. They are eager to make their mission memorable and meaningful, and we are thrilled to give them the opportunity.