For about a month in 1967, brothers Mike, Bob and Joe Wren — ages 9, 8 and 6, respectively — attended a Mormon church for the first time in their lives in Montana. During those few short weeks, the kindness of Leslie Barker, a Primary teacher in the Anaconda Ward of the Butte Montana Stake, left an indelible impression on the Wren boys.
"In the midst of my deep confusion and despair, the sweetest, kindest lady I remember came to me with a big smile and hug and asked me who I was," Joe Wren recalls. "Her name was Sister Barker. I couldn't imagine someone being so nice to a stranger like me — someone no doubt dressed shabbily and likely bearing little resemblance to her other Primary class members!
"The great gift of joy and love that Sister Barker offered my brothers and me would have a great impact on each of our lives. Independently, each of us would wind up converting to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
Bob Wren said: "Sister Barker in particular helped me understand there are people out there who care about you. She did that, and it got to where all of us now have the opportunity to be an eternal family."
The brothers Wren all had an opportunity to hug, thank and visit with Barker, now 83 years old and still living in Montana, at an Anaconda Ward reunion July 31 and Aug. 1. The reunion, held in Taylorsville, Utah, was attended by a little more than 100 people, including five who still live in Anaconda. Mike Wren drove to Montana to give Barker a ride to Utah.
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This story is provided by the LDS Church News, an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is produced weekly by the Deseret News.