These young men are on a mission

Published 5:32 pm Monday, December 13, 2010

Elder Clawson, Left, and Elder Burdette help decorate for Christmas as part of their mission work.

For the last few years, I have befriended the elders of The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), young men in their 20s who serve as missionaries for the Columbiana Ward on Egg and Butter Road.

I met my first two elders writing an LDS story a few years ago. As one elder would rotate out of the Columbiana area, the new elder would come by to visit me at my office with the elder I already knew. Over the last few years, I have met some fine, devoted young men.

Every time the elders come to visit, they ask if they can help me with something. This is a huge part of their mission work, to serve the community in which they live. They work at random jobs wherever the Lord leads: a new widow whose house needs remodeling; an elderly woman gardening and needs help to remove a big bush; volunteering at the library.

Elder Burdette and Elder Clawson, both from Utah, continually have asked if they could help me. I finally took them up on their offer and asked them to help me decorate my office for Christmas. I had surgery earlier this year after a bad fall on my knee and am still unsteady.

As we decorated, we talked.

I asked why they chose the mission field. Both shared that they were following in their father’s footsteps.

“It is unbelievable to see the change in a person as they become closer to Jesus Christ,” said Burdette.

Clawson told of his struggles with his faith after the death of his grandfather. During high school, his faith was rebuilt and he chose to enter the mission field right out of high school.

Clawson had the opportunity to teach Kelly Kortright and her young son Ryan of Alabaster the fundamentals of the LDS faith, and then the privilege to baptize them.

For an elder, this is one of the most special things that he can do. Wearing all white to symbolize purity, Clawson immersed Kelly and Ryan in front of witnesses as they began their new life in Christ.

“To me the greatest blessing of my two years has been to teach Kelly and her son and watch them come closer to Jesus Christ,” said Clawson.

The elders’ mission is to serve. Columbiana is blessed to have these young men in our community for a season.

Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by e-mail at

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

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