Friend to Friend

By Elder Marion D. Hanks

of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy

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    Elder Marion D. Hanks

    Dear Beloved Young Primary Friends,

    One night a few weeks ago in the South Pacific, my wife and I were riding in the back of a very old minibus whose driver was cautiously guiding it through the flooded streets of Papeete on the island of Tahiti. Water was leaking into the bus as the heavens poured out great sheets of rain that were too much for the old roof and the cracked windows and the ancient windshield wipers. Fumes were seeping from cracked exhaust pipes up through the floor of the bus, and none of us were very comfortable. Some of the passengers became a little sick to their stomachs and worried about getting back to the hotel. We passed many stalled cars in streets that looked more like rivers than roads.

    Everyone riding in the bus was attending a conference of South Sea mission presidents. There were leaders from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii, and Tahiti, plus some local priesthood leaders and visitors from Utah. Instead of just sitting there worrying, someone began to sing, and everyone quickly joined in. We sang well-known hymns and old familiar songs for a while. I began to sing a song I learned in Primary as a little boy: “Oh, we are the boy trail builders, out west where the sunsets glow …”

    To my great surprise almost everyone in the bus knew the song. Many of them had grown up in the islands and had lived there all their lives, but when we started to sing Primary songs, everyone knew them and joined in.

    Then we finished our songs by singing tenderly and lovingly “I Am a Child of God.” There weren’t many people on the streets that rainy night, but those who were, and the bus driver, were at first curious about us and then respectful as they heard us singing through the storm.

    Primary has given me many wonderful memories. One of the things that boys and girls do not often realize is that we go on remembering all our lives the good things we learn and the good friends we make and the wonderful people who teach us. We remember lessons and songs, and we grow up blessed with all of this as we get older. Of course, we also remember some things that may not be so good, and we are wise if all of our lives we do everything we can to treat everyone honestly, courteously, and respectfully, so we may have happy memories.

    I pray that you will have sweet experiences with good friends and wonderful teachers so that you will have only happy memories all your lives—and eternally.

    Very sincerely,

    Marion D. Hanks

    Illustrated by Paul Mann