(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)
Mission President Matthew Cowley (Part 1)
On Friday morning about 7:30 A.M. on November 25th, 1938, the Mariposa sailed into Auckland, New Zealand Harbor and came to a stop. There were four of us in our room. As we were gathering our coats and other things together we heard a man say, “Are there any Mormon’s anywhere around here?” We turned and there standing in the door of our room was President Matthew Cowley.
This was the first time that any of us had ever seen him. I remember that morning as if it was yesterday. He had on a coat that didn’t match his pants. He had a pair of crepe soled shoes on and a nice tie with a big knot. I was twenty and he was forty-one years of age. This was a great moment in my life because it was the beginning of a special friendship that lasted for the next fifteen years and beyond.
Matthew Cowley was a most unusual and marvelous individual. His personality was excellent. He seemed to love everybody. He seemed to be patient with everybody and particularly with the faults of young missionaries. He never seemed to lose patience with the saints or elders. He had the ability to use the English language in such a way that every missionary understood who he was, what he was, and what he wanted us to be. His Maori language was so correct and pure that all of the Saints and many non-members gave attention when he spoke.