"I knew at that point I needed to be baptized. I just had to be — that that could be my last chance. So I embraced it. I was baptized, and I’ve been an active member of the church and of the gospel ever since.”
David baptized Keith and Sid confirmed him a member of the church in 2000. And as of April 2012, the three have something else in common: They are all serving as bishops.
Sid was the first to become a bishop in August 2008, of the Anniston Alabama Ward. David was ordained a bishop in February 2011, serving in the Provo YSA 39th Ward. Keith was called as a bishop of the Temple Texas 1st Ward in April.
The three brothers talk frequently, and they even started a quarterly “Bishop Kooyman phone call,” as Keith puts it."We can talk about things that we are experiencing and hope maybe we can help one another.”
“I love (being bishop),” David says. “It’s the best calling I’ve ever had. It’s the best calling I’ve ever worked so hard at. It’s extremely rewarding. The ward members are so fantastic. They have such good hearts. They have problems; every one of them has a challenge in life, and they’re no different than anyone else. But they are such good people.”
Sid and Roxann served as missionaries in Nauvoo, Ill., and were planning to serve another mission at the time of his call as bishop. Sid says as they reflected on the call they “decided to make this calling our mission. We put all of our time into it. We knew of the tremendous need among ward members caused by changes in demographics and the economy. The Anniston Ward is plagued with declining membership and increasing poverty. We were also aware of a large number of less-active members.
"So I made it a goal to visit each one of those members to try to find them and reach out to them and to ask them if they would come to church. In some cases, we were successful; in some cases we were not.”
Sid has befriended and nurtured his ward members in much the same way that his first ward took care of him as a new convert. “By trying to follow President (Thomas S.) Monson’s counsel to go after the less active, to rescue, we have been able to bring some people back into the church and get them to the temple,” he says. “It’s been a tough fight. It’s a fight that does not have an end.
"We just have to continue and do the best we can to nurture, to befriend, to give those returning meaningful callings and nurture them in their efforts to serve and to try to help them grow and develop in the gospel.”
“It’s really quite amazing to me how the Lord works with his bishops,” Keith says. “In the short time I’ve served, there have been opportunities for me to meet with people that have had difficulties or challenges, and it seemed like I just knew what to do. I can’t explain it other than I felt like I was inspired. It’s really quite humbling to be in that situation — to feel the Spirit working through you.”
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