Give Me Pineapple


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Elder Whiting

A child can teach a lesson in a way that a "grown-up" never could. Elder Whiting, while serving an LDS mission in Guatemala City, learned a lesson from a seven-year- old Latin-American girl that he never will forget. Villa Nueva is a small place on the outskirts of Guatemala City. The sun is hot, the humidity is high, and the dirt streets are cluttered with garbage. "Everyday we would be wet with sweat from all the humidity" Elder Whiting said. The poor children on the streets flock to Americans because they think Americans have money. "The kids are constantly begging for money. At first I was sensitive to them, but after a while I got used to them and didn't pay much attention to them."

One day Elder Whiting and his companion stopped at the local pizza parlor for lunch. They were hot and tired, thirsty and hungry. They ordered a large pizza to split between the two of them. While they were sitting there a little Latin- American girl approached them. She was about seven years old. Her four little brothers and sisters were followingbehind. She had dark, ragged hair hanging over her big brown eyes. Her face was dirty and she was wearing a "sheet-like" rag dress that looked like ithad never been washed. She wasn't wearing any shoes and her hands and feet were covered with ground-in dirt. She looked at the missionaries, with her hungry, sincere eyes and said, "Deme Pizza" (give me pizza), three times. The 2 missionaries just casually ignored her, finished their pizza and went on their way.

A few weeks later the two missionaries were eating lunch again in the little city at a pizza parlor on the side of the city road. From his seat Elder Whiting could see the same little girl running excitedly down the road towards him. In her arms she carried a pineapple, quite large compared to her skinny little body. "She looked so happy; it must have taken a week for her to find the means to get that pineapple," Elder Whiting said. "I thought to myself, hmm I'll show her what it's like to have someone always nagging at you to give them something.

When she got close enough to him Elder Whiting said, "Deme pina" (give me pineapple), repeating it three times just like she had done to him before. She stopped quickly to glance at him. She recognized him, and with a bashful smile she ran away down the street with her brothers and sisters following behind.

Elder Whiting turned back around to finish his pizza. She came up behind him, placed the pineapple on the table, and scampered away before he even had time to see her. He turned around and saw the pineapple on the table but he could not find the little girl. "When I saw that pineapple I felt absolutely terrible," Elder Whiting said. "I was just playing a joke and she was so generous. I wished that I could find her to give her pineapple back but she was gone and I never did see her again. She taught me a great lesson. She was a little girl who had nothing. She was willing to give everything she had to someone like me who had so much. Even after I had not even shared a piece of pizza, which wasn't anything important to me anyway.

That sweet little girl taught Elder Whiting a lesson of love that no one else could. He learned abouttrue unselfishness and humility. The purity and innocence of children can teach us lessons and remind us of how we could be that our "grown-up" years sometimes have made us forget.