Newsome Kirk was born on 6 August 1920 in Denholme, Yorkshire, England, the son of Arthur and Mary Ann Bull Kirk. He was baptized in 1939. Although I don’t have his full service record, he was of age to have served in the British forces during World War II; he was still? again? in service a few years later at the time of the Korean War.
Out here in Korea the Millennial Star is assisting me in spreading the gospel to the soldiers with whom I speak about our religion; at this moment several chaps have my copies in their possession, and say that the Star contains excellent material for off-duty reading.
I have recently had five days’ leave in Japan, and during that time I called on the Japanese Mission headquarters. Imagine my feelings as I walked into the building and heard President [Vinal G.] Mauss say, “Our home is your home just as long as you care to use it,” and my surprise when I saw several issues of the old familiar Star lying in his office.
He then took me into a devotional meeting the missionaries were having. They asked me to say a few words about our church affairs at home, and my own experiences in the gospel work. I felt very humble and very grateful to be able to meet some members of our church 14,000 miles from home. I had a meal with them (Japanese saki) of rice, and all kinds of vegetables (I think). I was invited to go along Sunday morning with two of the missionaries to a Japanese branch to see the work and what they had accomplished since they opened up out in Japan.
Sunday morning I was very much impressed by the handshakes given me – extended as well as ever they could have been in England. The Sunday School had an added attraction in the form of a programme because it was Mothers’ Day; it was the next best thing to spending it at home. There were about 160 members and friends present. After Sunday School I attended Sacrament Service where they honoured me by asking me to help with the sacrament. how wonderful it was to participate after such a long absence from church duties. as the meeting progressed they asked me to speak to them through a translator; it was an experience I shall never forget.
Back at the mission home I had the pleasure of attending a meeting held in honour of the mission mother and four departing missionaries – three from Hawaii and one from America. We had a lovely dinner, then went to the Church Service held in Tokyo for the servicemen.
It was all wonderful, first priesthood meeting, then sacrament; after they had opened the Priesthood meeting and made the assignments they called on all newcomers to give their names and where they were from. In sacrament meeting they called on me once again, so I told them of my pleasure and thankfulness in being a member of the church and able to have the opportunity of meeting them all. I told them of our branch at home and how we decorated it last year, of my wife’s [Gladys Goldthorpe Kirk; they married in September 1950] activities in the church, my blessings before I left England, and how our family was slowly joining the church. I also told them how, after searching for the mission home I finally did what I should have done at first. I asked my Father in heaven to help me; the next Japanese policeman I asked then led me straight to the house I needed.
One of the boys had his birthday that day so the Relief Society gave him a really nice cake. On the way back to the Mission Home Sister [Ethel Lind] Mauss collected two gallons of ice cream; we had that and cake for supper, followed by a sing-song. After that, President Mauss’s son Armand drove me back to the camp.
Every minute of my time spent with those fine people was just wonderful, and I have many pleasant memories as mementos of a very lovely weekend.
Brother Kirk and his wife Gladys were sealed in the London Temple in 1959; he died on 11 March 2005.