Email to Mom from one of Bridger’s Converts

Email to Mom from one of Bridger’s Converts

Dear Melissa:

Sorry for the delay in my reply.

Huge thanks for those kind words in your email. I really appreciate them.
You know the whole story with the missionaries especially your son is quite
funny. So many coincidences that really were miracles. In the 4 months that
I was investigating and preparing for Temple I went through 5 missionaries.
That is unusual in such a short period of time. I actually had first
contact with your son and Brandon (Elder Condie, he’s now back home in
Utah). It’s a little convoluted but I’ll give you a brief synopsis of the
story. You’ll understand why doing this speech in 10 minutes was quite the

I was outside when I saw Elders Collings and Condie 3 houses up the
street. Of course I ran inside and hid to avoid talking to them. Still
Brandon and your son walked up and knocked on my door anyway. It was your
son who knocked. I was amazed at his boldness after I purposely tried to
avoid them. I was with my dad and told him to tell them I wasn’t
interested. They thanked him and left. So 3 weeks later I was visiting my
son and his wife in Walnut and I went walking like I usually do twice a
week there, and I cut across a church parking lot, not realizing it was a
Mormon Church, and I ran into your son again. This time he had a different
companion. I was looking in amazement as I knew it was the same guy. I was
thinking, what the heck, are these people following me. Then his companion,
Elder Crandall asked me “can I help you?” Oooh nooo and I doubled my pace
to get out of there. It was now on my mind why I kept running into this

About 2 weeks later I was walking and for some reason I crossed the street
where I never cross. Something innate just had me do it. It was strange
that I did it. That’s when I ran into Brandon and his new companion Elder
Stone. This time I was caught. I gave them a few minutes but Elder Condie
didn’t recognize me from that day, though I remembered him. So I agreed to
meet them a few days later. When they pulled up to the house, Brandon
immediately remembered the house and me. We laughed and he told me that it
was your son’s idea to knock. He told me that your son had been transferred
to Walnut that’s why I saw him there.

I would read the Book of Mormon in one month, understand Joseph Smith was a
true Prophet of God and I would work with Condie for 9 weeks and Stone for
13 weeks. So here’s another coincidence. Elder Stone who’s from Utah, born
and raised, was the one I picked to Baptize me because Brandon was getting
transferred before my baptism date. ( That’s another long story). Elder
LeBaron came on board who had just left your son as his companion in
LaVerne. When he told me Elder Collings was his old companion I didn’t have
a clue it was the same person as I had never known your son’s name, just
his face. So my date of November 19th had to be moved up a week because
Elder Stone now got word he was getting transferred. On November 11th I was
Baptized and the next day he was transferred. I don’t know if you were
familiar with this, but missionaries were now allowed to use Facebook now
for recruiting purposes. So Elder Stone told me to add him on Facebook. I
told him I would after I told my family I was now a Mormon. I looked him up
and of course his name is Matt Stone…the same guy who wrote the play “The
Book of Mormon” and South Park so it was impossible to find him. Eventually
I found a video of him on a woman’s page name Beth. Turns out it was his
mom. Here’s the coincidence. When I meet people I never forget their faces.
It quite a unique gift I have even though I’m horrible at remembering
names. The face I recognize was Elder Stone’s father. I was certain I had
met him even though I didn’t know anyone from Utah. Well I had. Turns out
we went to the same exact college, at the same exact time, the same exact
major and we graduated on the same exact day. I had many classes with him
and I met him several times over the course of 4 years. His son is name
Matthew and my son is named Matthew. That’s the coincidence. At this point
I realized this was destiny.

I would now work with Elder LeBaron and he got a new trainee name Elder
McDaniel. Elder LeBaron would confirm me and give me the Aaronic
Priesthood. We were getting ready for Temple visit when LeBaron was
inexplicably transferred. No warning at all. He was in the middle of
training which made this transfer even more unusual. Elder McDaniel was now
going to be finishing up his training with a new missionary, Elder
Collings. Elder LeBaron said I would work fine with him as we had very
similar personalities. Also he was here in Hacienda Heights before which
was really unusual to bring back a missionary who had served the area
previously. So Brandon who calls me every week to make sure I’m on the up
and up asked who the new missionary was. I told him Elder Collings. He
started laughing and asked me to call him after I met him. I said why? He
said because . So that Sunday when I went to pick them up for church and he
came walking up to the car, I realized it was the same missionary who had
knocked on my door at the very beginning. Yep I had come full circle. He
did a great job preparing me for my Temple visit. So much so that our Stake
President was impressed with me and with your son and Elder McDaniel. After
I was baptized I had planned to stay in the background, but that wasn’t
happening with Elders Collings and McDaniel. They have really pushed me to
the forefront. Our Bishop, the missionaries, and President Rouza seem to
have a lot of faith in me, so my unassuming sit in the back row church life
was never going to happen, thanks to your son and Elder McDaniel.

I really believe it was our Heavenly Father’s plan for all this to happen,
Too many things just lined up. I have great relationships with all the
missionaries on my spiritual journey and I look after them to make sure
they are taken care of. Even after they get transferred. I know what it’s
like to have a son across the country because my son spent 4 years in
college in New York. I know it’s not the same as serving a mission but I
have some understanding of what it’s like. It’s a double edged sword, it
goes by quickly, but at the same time it seems like it takes forever.

I’m really glad I got a chance to meet your son and he’s a great person and
a great missionary. You should be very proud of him and I absolutely know
you are. In 10 days he has another baptism. I’ll make sure to get pictures
of it for you.

Thank you for the email. God bless you and your entire family. Thank You
again for your kind words.

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