South Dakota Rapid City
Mission Stories

Missionary's Name: David Yardley

    In the fall of 1964, our mission president, Wallace Broberg, sent three sets of missionaries to Southwest North Dakota and Northwest South Dakota. We were to place as many tracts and Book of Mormons as possible with farm families. The intent was that the families would be isolated during the winter and they may take that opportunity to read about the Church. We were to return in the spring to again contact these families and share the Gospel. My companions and I had very good success. We placed thirty copies of the Book of Mormon within the first two days we were there. We then averaged placing 10 to 15 copies per day for the six weeks we were there. We cleaned out all of the old tracts available from all of the active areas around Miles City because the Mission home could not get us enough. The people were very receptive and friendly, even introducing us to their neighbors and asking them to invite us in. We were transferred out just before Thanksgiving and were to return in the spring. During the winter we received information from the Church that we were to work where the Church was already established. I have often wondered if the missionaries were ever sent into those areas again. The people were sure willing to listen at that time.

The following was submitted by Samuel Flyinghorse on October 22, 1997. If anybody knows where these two missionaries are, be sure to e-mail him.

Elder Hunt who served in the McIntosh, Lemmon, McLaughlin, Bullhead, and Fort Yates areas of South Dakota, circa 1973-1975.

    He was Navajo, I believe. Our last name back then was Evenson. Sherry was my mother. We still have a photo of the Lamanite Elder Hunt in our family albums. I remember Elder Hunt and his companion taking the bow out several times and shooting targets, trees, etc. Once they offered to shoot at me with the blunt-tipped arrow that's used for birds. I didn't want them to shoot me. : )

    Another memory I recall is one day out in the country Elder Hunt saw some antelope and I still see him jumping up and down [shouting,] "My bow, my bow!!" because he had left it home. I recall sitting in the car or pickup truck for a long time as we drove to visit the Elders. I remember there was a trailer home in Bullhead. And once I saw the windows had been broken out, but the elders (who ever they were) were still committed and unafraid. That courage in the face of opposition forever made an impression on me. And I wanted to be like them.

Elder Franklin who baptized him in Fort Yates in 1975 or early 1976.

    I think [the baptism] was just before I got on the bus to go to Idaho as a participant on the Indian Placement Program. I did become like the elders I idolized; I continued through school and graduated. I also served a mission to Canada Vancouver, and endured 5 of 6 yrs in the U.S. Navy-- because often the work of the military is different from the values taught in the church. And I grew closer to my God from the experience.

    This note is also to all of you who served in South Dakota. Someone did listen and continue in the church. I hope you all find who you are looking for and take care.

Submitted by Elder Michael Frandsen:

I served in this mission from October 1975 to October of 1977. While serving in my first area Yankton, S.D. with Elder Greg Carlisle we were headed out to follow up on some of the temple square referral slips in our little red Pinto with very bald tires. We were about half way between Yankton and Vermillion where we turned off the main road and headed south on a remote rural dirt road to find one of these people when a deadly blizzard began and we were miles away from even the nearest farm house. Our car got stuck in the mud and snow and we were getting worried because of the worsening weather conditions. I was just a new "greenie" and was wearing my brand new suit and overcoat but because I did not have driving privileges yet I was elected to get out and push the car out of the mud and drifting snow while my companion drove. I pushed and pushed that little car with no significant progress and conditions were beginning to get desperate. We decided that we had better pray and get some help from Heavenly Father so we kneeled down right there in the mud and snow. Both of us plead in prayer for help. All of my energy was completely spent trying to get that car out of the mud and I could hardly stand up from having exhausted myself completely. I decided that I would give it one last effort to try to get the car moving so we could get back to the safety of our apartment about fifty miles away. As I began to push using what little energy I had left, the car began to move. At that precise moment I felt the presence of my grandfather who had passed away about two years prior to my leaving on a mission. I was very close to my grandfather and knew when he was around even when I couldn't see him because of his emulating spirit. I am certain that he was there and helped us return in safety back to Yankton.

Submitted by Elder Lyle Snow:

I served from January 1979 to February 1981 in Newcastle,Wy/Fort Yates ND/Cherry Creek SD/Chadron NB/Belle Fourche SD/and Gillette Wy/. Any companions or members who know me please let me know where you are at. I love you all. Serving there was the best time of my life. Lyle Snow 460 Sarah's Way, Wasilla, Alaska 99654 (907) 376-9480. Thank you...

Submitted by Elder Robert Dickerson

Hey, for all those who worked with or knew the Smaldone family of the Casper 2nd Ward, David R Smaldone was baptized on May 17, 2003 in Springville, Utah. It was an awesome experience! If you'd like any more details, you can contact me at rob_alabama@hotmail.com.

Submitted by Elder John Stevenson

I was serving in Crookston, Minnesota at the time in the January winter of 2001 with Elder Gamble. My mother is very big into genealogy and made a very exciting discovery........ her dad, my grandpa, was living 80 miles south in Bemidji, Minnesota! My mother had never met her father, so I was the first one in my family to be able to go down and meet him and a dozen other relatives before her! I was able to share the Book of Mormon with my grandpa and I knew that that was one of the main reasons I was called of the Lord to serve in this mission at that particular time. What a blessing it was to help him feel the spirit and answer some deep questions about life and its purpose. I love my Heavenly Father and am so grateful to Him for letting me have that wonderful experience with my family. Although, it certainly was the most difficult part of my mission, I was helped through it all with an awesome companion, Elder Murray. He was the best! Man, how I love him for! his example and boldness! SDRCM Rocks Ya'all!!!!

Submitted by Lynn Biggs

I hope my story reaches the Elders who baptized me on Jan 24, 1993. Elder Bergan and Elder Hogan were the missionaries who taught the discussions to me, how grateful I am it has been a ten year journey for me but I have come so far! Elder Duncan Biggs and I did marry in June 1993 we now live in AZ with 3 beautiful children Taylor 8, Ashlyn 3, and Kaylie almost 2. We were sealed in the San Diego Temple last June on our 9th anniversary. If anyone is out there who remembers Duncan from his mission it would be great to hear from you! He served in the Rapid City South Dakota mission from 91-93.

Submitted by Elder Mike Manley

I had the opportunity to work in the mission office as the "car czar" for approximately 6 months. During that time I would occasionally venture out of town to check out the problems that would arise with the vehicles. On one such occasion I was called out to a nearby reservation to tow a car back to Rapid City, another Elder accompanied me, he was a wee bit of an adventurer. On the way home it was in the evening and if you've ever driven those roads at night you know you'll see rattler's on the road. Well we did, and my companion decides to take a couple home to fry up, unfortunately they were not dead and I warned him that if he was bit he was on his own. He managed to get three and we put them in a cooler we had brought along. In the office there was 6 or 8 of us that shared a house, I had the great privilege of serving with several Polynesian Elders. In addition to their great spirit's they also had great appetites and ate us out of house and home, they al! so had a dire fear of snakes. Later that evening we arrived home and put the cooler on the kitchen table where it was promptly set upon by my Lamanite Brethren. Well, I don't know if you've ever seen a 350 lb. man screaming and doing an impromptu jig but it was quite a sight. We later skinned and fried up those snakes and guess what, they did taste just like chicken.

Submitted by Amy Zentz

HEY all you who served in Bismarck. I am looking for Sister Chidester and Sis. Samoa. I would just love to get in touch with them. IF any of you know where they are, could you please email me their address, phone number, or whatever you have. Thanks. Y'all did a wonderful job with Bismarck. It is growing wonderfully. Have an amazing day. amy_la_nina@hotmail.com


The following story was submitted by Laraine Clark whose family was converted to the gospel while they lived in Grand Forks (I happen to have been Elder Barnes' companion in the mission home prior to our departure for Rapid City).


    My father was stationed at Grand Forks A.F.B. outside of Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1971.  I graduated from high school in Grand Forks and then moved from the Air Base and into town to attend the University of North Dakota in 1974.  A fellow high school classmate of mine, Terry Clark, ended up in 4 of my classes at the University.  We started dating in college.  This wonderful young man introduced me to the Gospel and 2 and a half years later became my husband.  But there was a missionary, Elder John Barnes, who was assigned to serve in the Grand Forks, ND area in the Fall of 1974, who played a major role in facilitating my conversion process. 

    Terry and I dated for 6 months and then he was called to serve his mission in Louisiana and left before I was ready to accept baptism.  During these months before Terry left for his mission, Elder Barnes taught me the discussions and answered the many questions I had and listened to me intently when I voiced my concerns.  Other missionaries came and went during this time and their names escape me now.  But Elder Barnes, who was still considered a "greenie" when we met him, had a special spirit about him.  I had been very satisfied in my original faith and was not seeking another.  I do not know how he reached me, when others could not.  He taught me with honesty and humility, yet with a spiritual strength behind it all that touched my spirit. 

    My husband left on his mission and Elder Barnes was transferred about the same time.  I could not join the church before they left, as it might have been "for Terry" and not totally for my own convictions at that time.  My family disowned me, but I continued on in the pursuit of my nursing degree and in studying the Gospel.  If it did not "work out" between Terry and myself after his 2 year mission, I had to be perfectly certain that I would still remain in the Church.  I desired to join the church because of my own testimony and not because I was leaning on Terry. 

    I joined the Church 4 months after Terry left and was given upwards of 5 callings in our branch, at any given time, during the next year and a half.  Terry served a valiant mission, and was the Assistant to his mission president when he completed his mission in 1977.  We were married in the Salt Lake temple, 7 weeks after he came home from his mission.  [Not a soul from my family chose to be a part of my wedding day, but when our daughter was married in the Portland, Oregon temple (20 years later) they were all there waiting for her at the Temple foyer.]  We lived in Grand Forks, ND for the first year of our marriage and our oldest daughter was born there.  Then I graduated from the University, took my nursing board exams and we moved to Portland, Oregon, and we have remained in this area for 25 years now. 

    Last summer, my husband Terry was called to be the President of the Lake Oswego, Oregon Stake.  Our married daughter and her husband are the parents of our precious little grandson, who will be 5 years old this month.  Our son just returned a couple weeks ago from serving a valiant mission in the Korea Seoul West mission.  Our youngest, Leah, will be a senior in high school this year.  They are good children and strong in the Gospel.  I have served for years as the Family History Center director and have identified thousands of both Terry's and my family members on the "other side of the veil". 

    It would be nice to personally thank Elder Barnes for the critical role he played in helping me to understand and accept the Gospel.  I want him to know that his selfless Gospel service continues to bless the lives of others in ways that he may never have foreseen.



The following was submitted by Elder Lanny Logue.


My name is Lanny Logue, and I served Feb. 1982 - July 1983, yes I was one of those 18 month missionaries. Am looking for anyone who served during that time? I had both Pres. Bastian and Pres. Greenwood. Loved working with Pres. Greenwood. Also had the chance to serve as companions with Elder Sikahema, you might remember him as the BYU football player who went on to the NFL, and had a great run! We served as assistants to Pres. Greenwood loved every minute of time together!


Submitted by Elder Leonardo Zuniga:

I served in this mission from Jan.1993 until Jan.1995. Just a thought to send your way. I miss all of you dudes like Olsen from Roy Utah, and Stout from Bluffdale, Utah and Schmidt from West Jordon and Perro Feo {Norman Finch} from Farmington, New Mexico and Chandler from Idaho and I still want to wrestle you. Cook from Moroni, Utah also Gibb from Alberta Canada. McGee and Gerstner and Jones from Wells, Nevada. If you read this story please email me and we'll chat over the Internet. My cell # is 1-801-735-4351 call if you want. Hijo de la corneta. I still think of Padilla.

Submitted by Elder Shane Louis:

Hey Duncan, very happy to hear you and Lynn married. Everytime I go to Farmington and pass Fruitland I think of you and wonder where you are. Glad to know you are doing fine and that you have a family. It's wonderful to be in the gospel. Get a hold of me at slouis@nph.gmcs.k12.nm.us. We had a great time while you were in Pierre and I was in Fort Thompson. Anyone glad things worked out.

Submitted by Julianne Pratt:

I have a new friend in my life Jarron Sanders who served in South Dakota. His last name may have been Emerson at the time but anyway he served there probably around 87-88 somewhere around there. I am looking for anyone who might have served with him, who knows the story about the little boy and the Elder who was shot during that time. Thanks for your help. Send an email to me. Thanks. funbear@hotmail.com

Submitted by Russ Nelson:

I wish greetings to all whom I have met and love as Brothers and Sisters. I look for those who I served with between December 97 and December 99. I think often of all of you. I am terrible with names, but still remember the good and forget the bad. I hope to hear from you all.

The following form has been provided to submit any cool, spiritual, humorous, interesting mission stories you may have. Stories will be subject to editing and approval.

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