Raymond and Leah Belle Hawkes of the Sugar City, Idaho, 2nd Ward, had prepared and supported seven sons in the mission field over the years, and now it was their turn.
Called to the Ohio Akron Mission in the summer of 1986, the pair settled into an apartment, began serving in the mission home and proselyted in the evenings.After two months in the mission field, Sister Hawkes developed a case of homesickness. She longed for a slice of homemade wheat bread, fresh from the oven. Making bread was something she had been doing for 40 years.
She had left her baking utensils in Idaho and had to buy new pans, along with yeast and wheat flour. That evening she made dough and kneaded it by hand in "Ohio's notorious humidity." By 11 p.m. the bread was ready for the oven.
"I could almost taste it," she said. "Then disaster struck. My oven wouldn't work."
Her husband tried to console her, suggesting she freeze the dough, but Sister Hawkes was determined to have the bread. She started searching for an oven. She wandered upstairs and knocked at the apartment of Virginia Jeschke, a neighbor she had met only once.
Mrs. Jeschke, a 61-year-old widow, invited the 62-year-old Idaho missionary in and let her use the oven.
"We talked away the time while the delicious fragrance of wheat bread drifted throughout the room," Sister Hawkes recalled. "During those hours, Virginia shared with me her confusion about life hereafter. Her first husband had died in World War II, and her second husband of 40 years had died a few months earlier. She had some questions she wanted to ask a minister."
Pres. T. Kay Edmunds of the Ohio Akron Mission was coming to the Hawkes apartment the next evening, so Sister Hawkes suggested the mission president as someone who could answer the widow's questions. As she and her new friend ate a slice of warm bread, they set up a meeting time.
Mrs. Jeschke met with Pres. Edmunds and then began studying with the elders. Elder and Sister Hawkes sat in on the discussions, providing fellowship to their neighbor, who was baptized in November 1986. About six months later she died, knowing she would be reunited with loved ones on the other side.