Mormon Missionary Finds Old Friends After 50 Years

In 1963 a young Mormon missionary by the name of Jim Arveseth met the Matthews family of Inglewood, New Zealand.

He and his missionary companion, Elder Ronald Smith, became firm friends with George and Makitirange (Maggie) Matthews and their eight young children.

Through the young missionaries’ teaching, the Matthews decided to be baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After Jim completed his two-year mission in New Zealand, he returned home to the United States.

Soon after returning home he received a telegram from the Matthews, letting him know that their ninth child, just born, had been named ‘Arveseth,’ in his honour.  

Years past and Jim Arveseth and the Matthews lost contact with each other.

50 years after his first meeting with the family, he is back in New Zealand, now serving with his wife Renae as senior missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A strong feeling to re-connect with the Matthews family and several efforts to track them down proved unfruitful. Until a chance meeting with the Matthews’ grand-daughters in Auckland led them to what they describe as a “joyous reunion.”

Watch a facebook video to hear Jim Arveseth share some of his experiences as a missionary — in the early 1960’s and now. 

Read more about Mormon missionaries.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.