Mark Preston and his family agreed to host Stacey Dooley, BBC television presenter, for a weekend ‘sleepover’ in their home. The family were filmed doing normal activities including attending a youth dance, a football match, and church, going out with the missionaries, and enjoying a family gathering. The family were asked questions about their beliefs. The program was shown on the UKTV’s W Channel in early October 2019.
Mark had the following to say about the experience.
When Lindsay and I were asked by Church Public Affairs & Communications if we’d consider being involved in an episode of Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over, our initial thought was, “No chance”. However, as we often pray for missionary opportunities, we asked our sons and were amazed when they said it was OK with them; they weren’t overjoyed at the prospect but didn’t say no!
As we prayed and thought more about it, it began to feel wrong to refuse the opportunity to share what we believe. We don’t find it easy to share our beliefs and sometimes worry that people might think that we’re preaching or judging the way others choose to live their lives. This opportunity seemed to be an answer to our prayers.
We agreed to be considered. We met with two members of the production crew and shared our beliefs with them. We later met with two more members of the crew and once again shared our beliefs. It was a blessing to spend time with these friendly and kind people in our home and explain our beliefs and share our testimonies.
During these meetings, we explained repeatedly how dull our lives were, half hoping that it would stop there; we were perfectly happy that we’d been able to share our testimonies, and this was enough missionary work for us. We were surprised, shocked and a little afraid when they decided that they wanted to focus on our family for their episode.
Despite our fears, the experience was a positive one. Our boys were themselves, and the episode was an accurate portrayal of our everyday lives. We don’t know if this was a positive or negative portrayal of the Church, but it was accurate as to the way that we live.
Stacey and the production crew were wonderful. Even when Stacey didn’t agree with our beliefs or values, she was respectful and polite. Without the kindness and friendliness of Stacey and the crew, it would have been a much more difficult weekend.
We hoped that the episode would give an insight into what we believe.
One of the soundbites used in the advert is mother Lindsay saying:
“We’re trying to follow the example of Jesus Christ”. We’re imperfect. We don’t always get things right, but we’re trying to be humble, loving, compassionate, honest and tolerant.'Lindsay Preston
As a parting gift, we were able to present Stacey with a Book of Mormon, our testimonies written inside, which she gratefully accepted. Copies were also given to each member of the production crew.
In some small way, we hope as a family we provided opportunities for others to have gospel conversations with family, friends and others as a result of this programme. We tried to be the best member missionaries we could.