The Morgan Chapter of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers honored the annual winners of the Pioneer Essay Contest at their March 24 monthly meeting. First place went to Peter Christensen, son of Clint and Teri Christensen; second place went to Heather McMillan, daughter of Scott and Cyndi McMillan; third place went to Dillon Petty, son of William and Kelli Petty. Each of the participants received a cash prize.
The guest speaker for the event was Richard Bohman. Bohman has served five LDS missions during his lifetime. Four of these were with his wife, Connie. These four came after he was released from the Morgan Stake Presidency.
When he was 19 year old, Bohman was assigned to serve in Vera Cruz, Mexico. He remembers being sent to a small city called Minatilan. The Elders took him to a train station, helped him buy a ticket, and said, “Good luck.” He spoke no Spanish at the time. The announcer at the station could not be understood. So Richard found a small boy whose ticket read the same as his. He sat by the boy and travelled just as far as he did, and then he got off.
When he arrived in Minatilan, there were only about 40 church members. Today there are six stakes. Bohman testified that he knows the Lord personally is involved with our very smallest assignments. While on his mission he was assigned with a blind companion. This so inspired him that he spent the rest of his life working with the blind.
While working with his wife at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, he was assigned to show groups through the Center. One day he took five groups through, all of them Spanish speakers. At the end of the day he asked the coordinator, “How many Spanish groups came through today?” The coordinator answered, “Five.” He asked us, “What are the chances of all five coming to me? It was truly random, but the Lord knew who needed to take what groups through that day.”
While serving in the Figi Suva Mission, Bohman was out contacting people. He came to a man’s home that was not filled with a welcoming spirit. In fact the man refused even to give him a bite to eat. In Figi that is a great insult. “If you don’t get fed, you know that they are really mad at you.” But he delivered Christ’s message to the man and invited him to come to church the next Sunday. The man came. “You know,” said the man, “I was really angry with you. Why did you stay and offer your message?”
“I stayed because I knew that you needed the message. You were angry and had left the Church, but the Lord knew you had a good heart.” The man stayed active.
Bohman also spoke of a beautiful young woman named Vanessa. She wasn’t able to go on a mission because she had accepted a scholarship from the government and needed to give time back to the country. She spoke five languages. The Lord needed her. Brother Bohman arranged with the government to allow her to be called. They allowed it and they also allowed her mission time to count against her debt to them.
Vanessa was a brilliant missionary. Because of her skill in languages, she was able to teach a multitude of people from several countries. Again, “The Lord knows who he needs and where he needs them.”
Bohman came in contact with a missionary who had contracted severe cellulites. The infection was so bad that it came into his eye. The doctor ordered a dose of penicillin, but there were only two doses on the island. They didn’t want to use it on a missionary. The infection became so bad that it nearly caused a loss of sight. Miraculously the young missionary was sent to Suva, where he came into contact with a young American doctor who had come to the islands on a five-year internship. His specialty was eye surgery. He was able to save the young man’s eye. “Is it a coincidence that this young doctor was there at that time? Hardly,” Bohman said.
Bohman and his wife had many, many such experiences. While working at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City, they were asked by a mission president to find a couple who spoke Mandarin, Cantonese and English. Such a combination is almost impossible to find. Yet, within a week, two couples randomly applied. “A miracle, you say! Yes it was! This is just a small sample of how the Lord takes personal care of his work.”
Bohman told of many such experiences. He challenged the group. “I double dare you to put in your (mission) papers and let the Lord decide where He needs you!”