My wife and I were in Las Vegas recently to pick up our youngest son, Mark, at the National Forensic Tournament where he was competing in debate (second time at nationals) for Appleton East High School, which has an awesome forensics program. While there, we met up with another son, Daniel, currently at BYU, who came down to visit us and introduce us to friends he made while serving in Las Vegas as a missionary. I was so impressed with the people we met. Some were recent converts, some were moving toward baptism, and others were long-time members of the Church. Very positive experience to meet these great people and hear their stories.

While there, we spent a couple days with a wonderful LDS couple that knew my son well. Though we had only just met these people, they treated all of us like family. On the first morning after meeting them, a Saturday, my son's car needed some unexpected work that would make us immobile for most of the day. Amazingly, the family gave us the keys to one of their two cars while the car was being repaired so that we could visit more people instead of being stuck. It was such a strange feeling to be driving all around Las Vegas in the car of someone I had just met a few hours ago. I'm glad that we returned it in good shape. We also had access to their home and their refrigerator while they were away that Saturday.

I really appreciate the bonds of friendship and trust that active participation in the Church builds, especially via missionary service. How tragic when that trust is misplaced (a rare event, fortunately), but how wonderful it is to enjoy the blessings of true fellowship. What I especially like is the ability to show up at a new ward in some new city and to suddenly feel like you're home with a great group of friends and relatives. This must happen in many faiths, cultures, and organizations, but I sure love those Mormon ties.

With its reputation as Sin City, some people don't know Las Vegas has a high concentration of Mormons. In fact, the first non-Native American settlers in the area were Mormons, as I understand. You won't find any Mormon missionaries on the strip (forbidden territory - probably at least partly due to the high concentration of indecent ads there), but Las Vegas is a great place for missionary work and for the Church, with many strong wards and stakes, a temple, and amazing Latter-day Saints. But get your car in shape before showing up - you might not be as lucky as I was.
Continue reading at the original source →