Latter-day Saint Life

How 2 Street Signs Helped 2 Missionaries Serving 15 Years Apart


Greg Trimble was nearing the end of his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2004 when he found himself standing at the street corner of "Elder" and "Trimble" in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The missionary from California couldn't believe his eyes. To see an intersection come together to make "Elder Trimble" was a profound, personal expression of love from Heavenly Father, he blogged about years later at


"I had gone through a lot to get on a mission. It wasn’t easy. I sacrificed a lot. And here was this sort of stamp of approval on the whole ordeal," Trimble wrote. "It was God’s way of saying, 'I see you son, I see you working.'"

Almost 15 years later, Trimble's remarkable "street sign" experience has found new meaning for another missionary who happens to be serving in the very same city.

Elder Skyler K. Tower of Idaho Falls, Idaho, serving in the Michigan Lansing Mission, is a loyal reader of Trimble's blog. He recently emailed Trimble to share his story and granted permission for it to be shared.

In the email, Tower started by saying his testimony of the gospel began to "dwindle" as a senior in high school and he struggled with the idea of serving a mission. He only went to church to avoid the wrath of his parents, he wrote.

It was around that time that Elder Tower's father happened across Trimble's Latter-day Saint blog post, "Life Through My Eyes." 

Over the years, Trimble has written several viral blogs about gospel-related topics. Trimble's writing style and gospel insights intrigued the young man.

"You seemed to take complex doctrines and make them easy to be understood. You were down to earth and straight forward," Tower wrote to Trimble. "At probably my worst point in my life, you were the last thread that kept my testimony alive."

Despite his inner turmoil, Tower submitted his paperwork and received a call to serve in the Michigan Lansing Mission. He entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo but didn't stay long. He went home after two weeks because he didn't feel worthy to be there, Elder Tower said.

"I do not want to describe in detail the immense dread I felt coming to the conclusion that I must return home and fix myself," he wrote. "Upon finding out that I was going home, I had some time to say goodbye to the elders in my zone. I will never ever forget the camaraderie displayed in that group. They told me I was going to come back out and that I would be okay. I held to that very tightly. Prior, I thought there was absolutely no way I was coming back out, but because of what they said and the encouragement, I felt it was possible."

Eight months later, with the support of Church leaders, family, and many prayers, Elder Tower was offered a second chance at missionary service. His first reaction was happiness, followed by intense feelings of doubt, anxiety, depression, and darkness. Yet he determined to go, he said.

"I knew Satan was launching a full-fledged attack on me," he wrote. "These 12 days were some of the worst I had ever experienced. Satan was trying so incredibly hard to make me back out at just the last moment, but . . . I knew I needed to get back out."

After saying farewell to his family a second time, peace and reassurance finally filled his soul as Elder Tower walked through the front doors of the Missionary Training Center, he said.

"All that darkness was gone," Elder Tower wrote. "I felt as if a 2,000-pound weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was practically floating. . . . I knew God was real and that He was watching over me."

Since arriving in the mission field, Elder Tower has thrived. Along the way, his father has continued to send him copies of Trimble's blogs—a source of inspiration for the missionary. One told the story of a street corner in Kalamazoo.


"I only found that you served in Michigan after I got here," Elder Tower wrote to Trimble. "It was that article of you finding the street sign. Your answer from God that you were called to Michigan for a reason. I marveled at the thought that I got sent to the same mission as you, but the chances of getting to serve where that intersection is? There was no way!"

Not knowing where Trimble found the intersection of "Elder" and "Trimble," Elder Tower was transferred to Kalamazoo. While working one day, Elder Tower noticed a street sign with "Trimble" on it. He later located it on a map and traced the line to the intersection with "Elder" street. He went to the intersection and captured a photo.

"My mind was literally blown," the missionary said.

These streets took on added significance when Tower reported the baptism of a new convert on Trimble Avenue and the finding of two new investigators on Elder Street.

"How is the Lord so merciful in blessing His children?" Elder Tower wrote. "Thank you Greg Trimble. Thank you for saving my life. I don't know where I'd be if I didn't have your articles to read, and quite frankly, I do not want to know. You saved me and so did Jesus. He truly does work through people."

To see Elder Tower standing under these street signs like he did nearly 15 years ago reminded Trimble of a statement by President Spencer W. Kimball: "The Lord does notice us, and He watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs."

"I’m not a big coincidence guy," Trimble says.

Trimble said a good Latter-day Saint bishop changed his life because the Church leader opened up about some of his own challenges and life lessons at a time when Trimble was struggling spiritually. He learned there is power in the ability to identify and empathize with a person. As a result, the California writer has tried to make his blog an honest and vulnerable testimony of his experience in the Church and as a missionary, he says.

"Too many people bury the challenging experiences they’ve had in life and in the Church in order to appear tough or impervious to problems in their life. No one likes to appear weak and they think that allowing others to see their weakness will somehow discredit them," Trimble says. "But I think that is where we all have the power to help others in their own weakness. In this particular circumstance, and others like it, a young struggling prospective missionary was able to find strength in someone who was willing to share their own struggles in trying to go on a mission."

Trimble, the author of several books on Church-related topics, also hopes readers will see this as a positive example of using blogging and social media for good.

"You never know who might be affected. Most of the time you never hear of how a blog you write impacts another person," Trimble says. "In this case, this young elder’s dad reached out to me through my blog to give me the backstory and tell me how much it meant to him and to share about how well his son is doing now. Having now known the impact of what occurred as reflected in the email that this elder wrote me, it inspires me to try my best to help as many others as I can that are like him."

Trimble continues: "You can just read and feel the happiness that is taking place within this elder’s heart. Where he was, as he described in the depths of uncertainty and sadness, to a place of light and meaning is an amazing feat to watch unfold."

Email: Twitter: tbtoone

Photos courtesy of Greg Trimble 

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