Blessings From a Mission

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Chieko N. Okasaki

Let me tell you a missionary story about prayer that came to me recently in a letter from Cherill and Jack Warnock. They're friends who were serving a mission in Fort Apache, Arizona. Cherill said a new elder had recently been assigned to their district.

"He was a farm boy from Idaho, and we don't think he was very anxious to come out. He's the first in his family to do so. The last three weeks have been difficult ones for him, wracked with homesickness and a certain degree of humiliation at being a greenie. Those things are surprisingly hard on a young fellow who was a big-time senior, who raced his car up and down the main street of some podunk town just a few months ago. He has suddenly discovered that he is not nearly as independent, important, or significant a person as he had himself figured to be just a very few short weeks ago.

"He told us that he was totally disgusted and thinking of throwing in the towel. Here he was walking the streets of a strange town where a lot of the people have absolutely no interest in him and what he has to say. He was even wondering if the Lord had any interest in him. He was sort of argumentative in his prayers. 'Just show me one person that this benefiting,' he told the Lord, 'and I'll consider sticking around.'

"The Lord definitely heard him. The next couple of days he received a letter from his father up on the farm. The family had been in debt all of the boy's life; he knew that. They always made a living; but what with up and down crop years, they just couldn't seem to get money ahead. The father always had to borrow money to operate, and the debt seemed to hang permanently over their heads.

'You wouldn't believe what has happened since you left,' the father wrote. 'We've never gotten over sixty dollars a crate for our onions; this year they shot up over a hundred. Remember those new potatoes we planted to see what they would do: Well, they produced three times what the oldest ones did, and we get a much better price for them. Even the grain has made money this year. That's the first time it's done that in years! We're out of debt, son, we're out of debt,' his father continued, 'and we're putting money in the bank already with more to come. I can't believe it. I just can't believe it.'"

My friends said, "(The Missionary) wept as he told us...And I'm afraid we were a little dewy-eyed ourselves. The smart-alecky kid who raced his car up and down the street was starting to turn into a man in front of our eyes. "I guess I know now who it's benefiting.' He said."

Excerpt from Chieko N. Okazaki's book: Sanctuary, 1997, p. 36-37