Missionaries enjoy work and life in Troy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 10, 2003

For Elder William Winward and Sister Elda Winward, the decision to leave their home in Preston, Idaho, and their nearby family, was matter of fact.

"We decided to sell the farm and go on a mission," said Elder Winward, as if selling your house and land was an everyday occurrence.

But they did it, and left what they knew behind to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Their mission is the Florida Tallahassee mission, which extends from the Troy area to Florida.

When they found out they had been assigned to a southern mission, the two were excited.

"I didn't want to go somewhere where it was real cold," Sister Winward said in her soft Idaho accent.

They found a new house to store their furniture just three weeks before they left.

At the same time, Sister Winward retired from her secretary job at H. B. Lee Elementary.

But the hardest thing wasn't leaving their farm or their jobs; the hardest thing was leaving their six children and 17 grandchildren.

"I miss the grandkids," said Elder Winward.

"Everyone says their grandkids are the best, but mine really are."

Before they journeyed south, the couple spent one week in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.

While they were there, they learned how to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. They arrived in Troy the end of January.

"We want everyone to know about Heavenly Father's plan and the Savior Jesus Christ," Sister Winward said.

In fact, she and her husband are the two who deliver the Bibles, Book of Mormons and videotapes to those who call the toll-free number in the LDS commercials.

Missionary work is nothing new to Elder Winward, who served a mission in Montana in 1954.

At that time, Montana was part of the West Central States Mission and policy was a little different.

Elder Winward and his wife were both married when they were 19 and Elder Winward left for his mission soon after.

For two years, Elder Winward served in Montana while his wife was at home, working at a bank to help support him.

The couple even lived in Montana for a few years after Elder Winward returned.

Today, 19-year-old boys still serve 2-year missions for the church, but they are single and have not been married.

"I liked it," Elder Winward said of his Montana mission.

"It was a good experience and we still have lots of good friends there and it's been almost 50 years."

Elder Winward has a theory that you can find good people wherever you go.

"No matter where you are, you have good friends, and that makes life easier," he said.

The two are beginning to find that among Troy's "Southern hospitality."

"People here are so friendly and kind and considerate," Sister Winward said.

Of her experience so far, she said she is learning to love and appreciate the South and its people.

"You grow a love for the people no matter you they are," she said.

Troy has grown a love for them, too.

The senior couple is well established as part of the Troy Public Library volunteer staff.

"The genealogy department here in the library is outstanding," Elder Winward said.

Sister Winward agreed and said they were both very impressed with it.

Since the LDS faith is a strong advocate of family history--boasting the largest family history center library in the world located in Salt Lake City--they are both familiar with it and its importance.

Library director Margaret Stewart said they were able to help the library get several databases and programs at minimal cost through their church's resources.

In fact, the library recognized them, along with several others, for their outstanding service contributions to the genealogy library.

In turn, the Winwards are appreciative of the library staff.

"The staff is really great," said Elder Winward.

"They're really the kind of people who can help you."

Once again, his theory seems to be valid.

You can find good people wherever you go.