“I’ll Call You Again Next Sunday”


Though prospects looked bleak to me, my husband kept working with the less-active older couple.

Our chapel was especially quiet as a handsome young man just home from college graduation rose to bear his testimony. Ward members thrilled to his sweet expressions of love for the gospel, his sincere appreciation for the members who had helped him grow up in Church activity and fulfill a mission, and his heartfelt gratitude for the beautiful woman who that week would become his eternal bride.

As I listened, my mind flashed back to a Sunday morning 10 years earlier when I was awakened by the clicking of the telephone dial.

“Surely you are not going to call him again,” I muttered to my husband as I rolled over in bed. “There comes a time when you should get the message that he just isn’t interested.”

My husband smiled at me patiently and continued to dial. With a sigh I listened as he repeated the same question for the fifth Sunday in a row, ever since he had accepted the assignment to home teach an older less-active couple in our ward.

“Can I pick you up for priesthood meeting this morning?” he asked brightly. Then after a pause he said, “Well, I understand. I’m sorry you can’t make it today. I’ll call you again next Sunday.”

“Surely you won’t,” I said, but when I glanced at him I saw his look of determination. “I’m his home teacher, and I have to find a way,” he said as he went into the shower.

A couple of Sundays later, I groaned and slid under the covers as my husband again dialed the couple’s number. But then I sat up in disbelief when I heard my husband say, “That’s great. I’ll be along for you at a quarter to nine.” Well, I thought, he accomplished one priesthood meeting, but how can that matter?

The man was welcomed into the quorum with such warmth, acceptance, and understanding that he was eager to attend the next Sunday and beyond. “If only my wife could share my new feeling,” he said to my husband one Sunday morning. Remembering the disappointing reports from the woman’s visiting teachers, I felt that her husband didn’t have much hope. But the following month my husband asked me to fellowship his wife at church. I stared in disbelief! With loving persistence and two extra visits, he had persuaded her to give it a try.

“The next step is to get their two grandsons baptized,” my husband announced some time later as he was leaving for a home teaching visit. “But it won’t be easy with a nonmember father and a disinterested mother.”

I smiled and said that with his track record, it probably would happen. Sure enough, in a number of weeks we watched with joy as a proud grandfather took two choice young boys into the waters of baptism.

A year later these lovely grandparents found it necessary to move from the area, and after a few cards and letters we learned that the husband had passed away from a sudden heart attack and that his wife had gone to live with her sister in another state. My husband tried to keep the ball rolling with the two grandsons, but without their grandparents nearby they lost interest in the Church and stopped attending.

It wasn’t long, however, before we learned a lesson about the effectiveness of the Church organization. The Lord provides for strength on all fronts so that when one effort fades another can come into action. One Sunday morning both boys appeared at church with their Scoutmaster. Their Aaronic Priesthood quorum leaders were also busy, and the boys began making new friends in the ward. Soon they were involved in many activities, and church became rewarding as they felt the interest and caring of a devoted ward family.

The young man who now stood warming us with his testimony was one of those grandsons. I marveled at the opportunity we have to participate in God’s marvelous work and at His dependence upon us for its progress. I realized that persistence, diligence, and patience are required to fulfill His divine purposes. Lovingly I reached for my husband’s hand and whispered softly in his ear, “Yes, one priesthood meeting did matter.”

[photo] Photo by Tim Brown, © Tony Stone Images; posed by model

Sara Brown Neilson teaches a temple preparation class and types patriarchal blessings given by her husband in the Pasadena California Stake.