Eight Small Pieces of Chicken

Abigail Almeria, Cebu, Philippines

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    pan and bowl of pasta

    Illustration by Allen Garns

    With my husband temporarily out of work, making ends meet for a family with five growing children was challenging. A day before the broadcast of the October 2013 general conference, we checked our food supplies and decided we would prepare a simple lunch of fried chicken and rice during the break between conference sessions.

    Sunday came, and we were all set. The rest of our extended family, composed of my parents and my sisters and their families, met at the stake center half an hour before the broadcast started.

    What a joy and a blessing it was to hear prophets, seers, and revelators share messages specifically for our generation. As I listened to the counsel and basked in the wonderful spirit of peace and love I felt from my Heavenly Father, I received the assurance that everything would be all right, that my family’s spiritual and temporal needs would be addressed, and that if I continued to exercise faith and let my Savior take the reins, we would be released from the grips of poverty and other hardships.

    Enjoying the beautiful spirit of that Sabbath day, I had forgotten about lunch. Only when the break between sessions arrived did I realize there would be 17 of us. Nine adults and eight children would be sharing our meager meal of eight small pieces of chicken and a platter of rice, along with a bowl of pasta one of my sisters had brought.

    Eight-year-old Henry offered a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing on our food, asking that all who partook would be filled. Then I broke each piece of chicken into smaller portions and handed these to the children as my sister placed pasta and rice on their plates. I could not keep tears from falling as I realized we had enough for one small serving for everyone and one extra serving after all the pieces were broken and the pasta and rice were divided among us. All of us then ate—and were filled.

    I told my parents and husband that I knew of a surety that the Savior had indeed divided five loaves of bread and two fish and fed a multitude of “five thousand men, beside women and children” (see Matthew 14:14–21). Some critics and nonbelievers claim that the miracle was metaphorical, exaggerated, or impossible. But to my family and me, the account is true as written.

    Heavenly Father had heard the prayer of a faithful child who gave thanks and requested the blessing that all who would partake would be filled and receive nourishment.

    As we returned to the hall for general conference, I was feasting in my heart. I felt as though I were there with the multitude Jesus had fed, yearning to stay and learn from Him who promises that if we heed and hearken, we will never hunger or thirst (see John 6:35).

    With our children we quietly took our seats inside the chapel and prepared to listen to Heavenly Father’s chosen servants. It was an occasion we will always remember.