I supposed it is likely, especially in the church, for this to be common, yet it still surprises me how often I discover a connection I have with another person.
Take my friend, Jenny from Oregon. After becoming good friends we learned that at one time we lived only four houses away from each other in Orem, Utah, when she was five. In fact, my sister was her primary teacher. We also discovered I knew her husband’s aunt when I was at BYU.
Then there is my friend Sonia. While visiting with her uncle, for what I thought was the first time, I learned my father was his mission president and that he had actually been in my home on numerous occasions.
This past weekend at Women’s Conference I had a few additional “connection” experiences.
I arrived at the Phoenix airport an hour early and glanced around at the bubbly groups of women, all going to Women’s Conference. Finally, I spied a sister from my stake and went over to sit by her. She introduced me to her friend Heidi from another stake. I learned this past week that the most often asked question to anyone attending conference is, “Who are you with?”. (I think I was asked that at least 30 times in two days)
I told them I was meeting my sisters and we were all going to hear our oldest sister speak. Heidi asked me her topic, which I was not sure of, so we looked it up. As she saw my sister’s name on the program she asked, “You are Terri Ballstaedt’s sister? When I said yes, she exclaimed, “My husband grew up with her husband, Rock!”
I thought how funny that out of everyone there at the airport, I found someone to sit by who knew my relatives.
But, the most surprising “connection” was revealed after my sister’s talk. Sister Sylvia Allred, first counselor in the General Relief Society presidency was sitting in front of me during the presentation. Not being able to resist talking with her, I went over to visit after the presentation. During our chat we discovered that not only had we lived in Costa Rica at the same time, but she remembered my family. She had several family home evenings at our home, remembered the school we attended, my siblings, (especially my older sister Ruth who was a teenager at the time) and even the topic of a lesson my father gave.
But mostly she said she remembered how amazing she thought my mom was. Not only did she have teenagers at home and missionaries to care for, but she also had just given birth to my little brother Mark.
I have to admit, I think it is pretty cool, that Sister Allred thinks my mom is amazing. But then I think she is pretty amazing too.
This is my brother Randy, and my sister Ruth, standing in front of the mission home in Costa Rica. Sister Allred particularly remembered Ruth because of all the boys who had a crush on her.
There are 21 years age difference between my oldest sister and the youngest.