The Much Needed Rain

That Sunday was not just any Sunday. It was the day of the annual children’s sacrament meeting presentation. As a member of the bishopric I felt responsible to make sure everything went well. Leaders, teachers, and Primary children had been preparing for months. The children knew the songs and hymns and their parts, and they were excited to share them.

On Saturday, the day of our rehearsal, it rained all afternoon. Even though we gave rides to many of the children who live far from the meetinghouse, not all were able to attend. We went ahead with the rehearsal, hoping the rain would stop by the next day and more children would make it to Sunday’s presentation.

The storm continued Sunday morning. In fact, it was even windier than the day before. Suddenly I felt downhearted. The bad weather would hurt the attendance in our small ward. “Why doesn’t the Lord stop the rain?” I wondered.

Even though we picked up all the children we could in our cars, we still managed to get only about 60 percent of them. It was hard for me to be satisfied. The Primary president was worried too. We had wanted everything to go as planned, and we hadn’t planned for the unexpected.

But as the program began, with teachers taking the parts of the missing children, the Lord’s Spirit permeated the meeting. The 40 ward members who attended were especially touched by the testimonies of our little ones.

After the presentation a humble, thoughtful brother gave the closing prayer. During the prayer he said, “And, Lord, we thank Thee for the rain, for we know it is much needed in many places.”

I kept pondering that phrase: “It is much needed in many places.” Then I realized the Lord knows precisely what He is doing. Our presentation had not gone exactly as we had planned, but it had succeeded in inspiring those present. And the rain that we had seen as such a trial was actually a great blessing to those in the many areas that needed it.

Juan Carlos Rodríguez is a member of the Azcuénaga Ward, Rosario Argentina West Stake.

Honoring the Lord’s Day

When we ask ourselves whether we are keeping the Sabbath day holy, we may sometimes answer, “Yes. I attend Church meetings, spend time with my family, read the scriptures, write in my journal, and refrain from working.” But one particular experience caused me to search my soul, asking, “Is this enough?”

Each week I travel from Octavo, Argentina, to Cordoba to buy merchandise for my business. During one trip, I found that for each purchase I made from one vendor, I could participate in a contest. The contest’s top prize was a ticket to a basketball game played by the top team in Cordoba.

When I won one of the tickets, I was excited—until I realized there was a problem. The game was on Sunday, so I wouldn’t be able to go myself. But I quickly figured out how I could use the ticket. I had some advertising space on a radio station in my city, and I could give this ticket away in a promotion for my business.

The following week I made a purchase from the same vendor and strangely enough won another ticket to the same game. Now I could give away two tickets. I knew my promotion would be even more successful.

A few hours after winning the second ticket, I had an unusual feeling. It was a soft, quiet voice telling me I should not run the promotion. When my wife asked why I was canceling the promotion, I responded that if we couldn’t go to a sports event because it would be dishonoring the Sabbath, I felt it would not be right to encourage others to do so through a radio promotion.

This experience helped me understand that honoring the Sabbath is more than just following a list of things we should and should not do. Although prophets have not spoken about the particular situation I found myself in, when I felt the Spirit’s prompting, I knew I needed to keep the spirit of the Sabbath by helping others to enjoy it as well.

I am grateful to my wife for supporting this decision and to my Heavenly Father, whose Spirit helped me understand how to better honor His holy day.

David Oscar Sarmiento is a member of the Octavo Branch, Cordoba Argentina South Stake.

He Took My Purse

As a single woman, I am used to being careful about safety. But in the weeks before my trip to the Atlanta Georgia Temple, my usual concern escalated into a recurring nightmare in which a man mugged me, getting away with my credit cards, checks, and driver’s license. My concern became so great that the day before leaving for the temple, I checked my wallet three times to make sure everything—including my temple recommend—was still there.

That same evening I went to a party with my wallet in my purse, along with a small mirror and the tube of lipstick I am never without. After parking my car and adding my keys to my purse, I started toward the church where the party was underway. I was alone in a big city, but I wasn’t afraid. Having asked for the Lord’s protection earlier that evening, I felt safe.

As I walked up a path, I sensed someone behind me and turned to see a man running at me with lightning speed. There was a sharp tug on my purse, a strong hand on my arm, and I heard, “Give me your purse!” As I struggled to free myself, my purse flew across the broad lawn, landing in the nearby bushes. I cried out, but the man ran, retrieving my purse as he left.

After calling the police, I found an empty room in the church where I could send a silent prayer up to Heavenly Father. “I don’t understand,” I thought, fighting tears. “I was going to the temple tomorrow! Now he has my temple recommend! Father, why wasn’t I protected?” Feeling helpless and hopeless, I went out to face the police officers.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Thomas. The officers didn’t find anything—not the thief, not your purse,” I was told. But as the police officers and I walked to my car, an impression came to me.

“I’m going to look in the grass to see if anything fell out of my purse, OK?” I tried not to get my hopes up, but when I saw something metallic reflecting light from the streetlamps, I scooped it up triumphantly and shouted, “My keys! My keys are here!” I said a silent prayer of thanks as we started toward my car once again.

“Wait! I want to look in the bushes too.”

Shaking his head, the officer escorting me answered with a half-grin, “Go ahead, but no one has that kind of luck.”

He was wrong. Unable to contain my tears, I shouted from the bushes, “My wallet!” Inside it, everything—including my temple recommend—was intact. The police officers were dumbfounded.

“I’ve never seen anyone so lucky,” one commented.

“It’s not luck,” I answered without thinking. “It’s protection from God.” I doubted the police officers would understand the importance of my trip to the temple, so to break the skeptical silence, I jokingly added, “The guy did get one thing of value though—my lipstick!” No one laughed.

Feeling awkward, I glanced back at the bush where I had made my last amazing find. What I saw astonished me: there, upright on the little mirror I carry in my purse, was my tube of lipstick.

Before the police arrived, I had wondered why God hadn’t protected and blessed me. But standing on that lawn next to the flabbergasted police officers, I realized He had done both. Now, whenever I have the slightest doubt that Heavenly Father is aware of my struggles, I remember the night He saved my keys, my wallet, my temple recommend, and even my tube of lipstick.

[illustrations] Illustrations by Doug Fakkel

Rebecca Thomas is a member of the Clermont Ward, Orlando Florida Stake.