1974--During the summer of 1974, we remodeled our house. We added three rooms. One was added for a music room, one for a garden room (we raise flowers and vegetable [sic] in it), and one for a storage room. We had new carpet put down in all the house except the kitchen. We are really enjoying the extra space, our new carpet, our baby grand piano and our organ. One evening in early October, our Bishop, William Lyda, came to visit us. He said he came to ask me (Velma) to teach an advanced genealogy class. He would not sit down because he said he had another appointment soon. He walked about in our house for a few seconds and stopped and said, “I have the impression that I should call you two on a mission“. He said, "Don't answer now. Think about it awhile." Then he left for his next appointment. It didn't take us very long to decide to go where ever we were called. The bishop reported to Salt Lake City and we were called to the Missouri Independence Mission and were to leave 22 February, 1975. I had some health problems develop. We couldn't leave until March, 1975.
We entered the Mission Home 22 March, 1975 and departed 26 March. We arrived at the mission in Independence, Missouri, 29 March, on a Saturday. President Graham W Doxey was our Mission President. We stayed in the Mission Home until we found an apartment. The President assigned us to work as guides in the Mormon Visitor Center in that city.
We found an apartment in the Kingsboro apartment complex on 140 S. Forest street, Apartment Q, 3rd floor, middle apartment, facing north. The rent was $149 per month. Everything was furnished except the lights. All the guides lived in this complex while we were there. Four couples worked during the winter because we were not busy during the winter. It was too cold and icy for people to travel in that area. During the spring, summer, and fall, we had eight couples working there as guides and we were all kept busy. We had people come from all over the world to visit. Some days we would have four to six bus loads plus the regular visitors. It was very interesting to meet these people and see their reactions to the building and the lecture we gave them. Some were very interested in our story of the Church and its teachings. The majority only wanted to see the many beautiful paintings and historical diplays [sic] that were in it. The painting that attracted the most interest was the picture of Christ in his second coming surrounded by his Angels. It faced the large glass front of the building and could be seen at night from outside. A policeman came in one day and stood looking at the painting for awhile and said, "That is a beautiful impressive picture. Very often at night I drive around my beat, then drive in and park in the parking area across the street and sit there and look at the Christ for a long time."
We had people come from all walks of life and different professions. I took four ministers and their wives on tours. They were very polite and didn't try to argue. One day I took some Catholic peolpe [sic] on a tour. When I came to our display of the Bible, I pointed to it and said, “We use the King James Version of the Bible.“ One of the women said, “Oh, do you claim to be Christians?“ I told her that we did. We went on to the painting of the Savoir's [sic] visit to the people in America (Nephites). I quoted John, Chapter 10, verse 16; "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: Them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one told, and one shepherd." The woman said, "I never saw that in the Bible." I asked her if she wanted me to show it to her. She said, "No!, I will believe you.“
I took a young man, his wife and two children, through one day. They were members of the Church. The wife was visiting her mother. I took them on a tour. A few days later, a long distance phone call came to the Visitors Center, asking for me. It was the young man I had taken on a tour a few days before. He said he had to go back to Arkansas to take care of some business and left his wife and children at her mothers. His wife had become ill and was in the hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. The Doctor said she had a tumor in her head and must have it removed soon. The young man asked me it [sic] I would ask my husband and another Elder if they would go to the hospital immediately and administer to his wife. They administered to her. About a week later, the man came in the Visitors Center. I asked him how his wife was. He turned around, pointed to her and said, “There she is!“ After the administration, the Doctor did another x-ray. There was no tumor. The Lord had performed a miracle. The tumor was no more.
Another time, I was taking a group through the Visitor Center. One man said, “Your Church pays all your expenses while you are here, don't they?“ I told him we paid all our own expenses. He looked at me a few seconds, as if he didn't know if he could believe me. "Well, I must say you sure are devoted.“ I told him, all our missionaries, where ever they were, pay their own expenses. In other churches, the ministers are payed to preach to the people, they are paid to sing in their choirs (the larger church congregations, anyway). The few that go on missions have to be paid. I feel, within myself, that it makes a missionary more humble, more devoted, and closer to the Lord, if they have to pay their own way and sacrifice some of the things they might have if they did not go on a mission. I enjoyed my mission very much. It was a very good learning experience. I am glad and thankful that the Lord allowed me to serve Him in this manner. I had many other experiences that were thrilling when someone was interested in the message we had to give them and I was sad when I could not. I felt it was my fault. Maybe I could have presented the message in a more sincere attitude. I don't know.
We were priviledged [sic] to have our daughter, Moena, and family, visit us twice while we were there. Many of the people we knew from our home state came to the Visitor Center while we were there. Also, my brother, Leslie Tyler, and wife, Edith, came with a bus load from Salt Lake City, Utah and visited us.
The parts of Missouri I have seen are very pretty, especially during the spring time when they have so much rain. The flowers and other vegetation grow so rapidly in the warm damp weather. There are so many trees that bloom and all the many, many flowers; it looks like I think the Garden of Eden looked.
We were released from our mission 24 October, 1976. We were very happy to come back to our home in Kimberly, Idaho. I was happy to see all of my family again.