I was a member of another faith and took part in my church's Boy Scout troop in Fountain Green, Ill. In about 1966, we visited and toured nearby Carthage Jail. I was 12.
Forty years later I have forgotten most of the events of that day, but one event of that tour, I have never forgotten. The visitor's center sold copies of the Book of Mormon. For $1, I bought the blue paperback copy with Moroni on the cover. I kept the Book of Mormon in my personal library for eight years without reading it. During this time the Book of Mormon seemed to say to me, 'Read me.' "
In 1972, I joined the U.S. Air Force and received orders to Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nev. Two years later I read the Book of Mormon. The missionaries taught me in the home of Sgt. Gordon Clark. I was baptized April 27, 1974. I served a mission in Australia and, upon my return, my wife and I were sealed in the Manti Utah Temple and now have 6 children.
My son, Andrew Paul Baker, received his mission call to the Nevada Las Vegas Mission, a mission including the chapel where I was baptized. I mentioned to Andrew it is a small world, and he said it is a big world; the Lord just makes it seem small at times.
It has even seemed smaller. At one time, I lived on Van Patten Street in Las Vegas. Andrew baptized a lady who lives on Van Patten Street. Andrew has since been transferred and now baptizes at the Pecos and Osage chapel. Wow! That is the chapel I was baptized in.
We read in 1 Nephi 1:20, "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."
Elder David A. Bednar said, "I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. . . . I believe I have come to better understand that the Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving kindnesses, consolations, support and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ" (April 2005 general conference, Ensign, May 2005 p. 99). — Gary Baker, Crystal Lake 1st Ward, Buffalo Grove Illinois Stake