Eye to Eye


Andy Taylor had a problem. And he was worrying about it so much that he hardly noticed anything else going on around him. He didn’t even hear the click-clacking music of his skateboard wheels as he rolled along toward Mr. Weber’s house.

The problem had started right after his baptism. “Now remember, Andrew,” Sister Thomas had said, “every member of the Church should be a missionary. And that’s what you are now—a real member.”

Even though he had always felt like a member, Andy knew now that he really was a member. Still, he’d asked Sister Thomas if even Primary kids were supposed to be missionaries, and she’d said “Yes, even Primary kids.”

When he got home, Andy asked his father the same question and got the same answer. That’s why he was going to see Mr. Weber. Maybe Mr. Weber can help me, he thought. He’s a great thinker.

Andy screeched his skateboard to a stop in front of Mr. Weber’s house, opened the door, and walked in. “Mr. Weber,” he called. “It’s me, Andy Taylor.”

Several months ago, shortly before Andy’s eighth birthday, Mr. Weber had been injured in a terrible automobile accident. He couldn’t walk or talk or do anything now except lie in his bed. He even had a full-time nurse to help take care of him.

Andy had started coming to see Mr. Weber every day after school, just for short visits, to keep him company. At first the visits had been hard for Andy because he had had to do all the talking. Then one day Andy discovered that Mr. Weber could sort of talk to him by blinking his eyes—one blink for “yes” and two blinks for “no.” After that they talked about everything. Well, Andy did all the real talking, and Mr. Weber did all the blinking, but it was almost like they were both talking out loud.

It was because he and Andy had become such special friends that Andy was allowed to walk into Mr. Weber’s house whenever he wanted. And now Andy just had to talk to his friend about his problem. “Hi, Mr. Weber,” Andy said as he seated himself on a stool by the side of the bed. He always sat close enough to clearly see Mr. Weber’s eyes. “Did you get a lot of rest today?”

Mr. Weber blinked his eyes once for “Yes.”

“Great! I have a really big problem that I want to talk over with you. Is that OK?”

“Yes,” Mr. Weber blinked.

So Andy explained about his baptism, about how he was now a real member of the Church, and about how every member of the Church should be a missionary. “But how can I be a missionary when I’m only eight years old?” Andy asked. “Maybe only grownup members are meant to be missionaries. Is that right, Mr. Weber?”

“No,” Mr. Weber blinked.

“You mean kids should be missionaries, too?” Andy asked.

“Yes.”

“That’s what Sister Thomas, my Primary teacher, said, and my father agrees with her. But being a missionary kind of scares me. You see, I don’t know how to be a missionary.”

Mr. Weber blinked once. “Yes.”

“Yes?” Andy repeated, surprised. “I do know how to be a missionary?”

“Yes,” Mr. Weber blinked.

“But I don’t knock on doors like real missionaries do.”

“No,” Mr. Weber blinked twice.

“And I’ve never read to you from the Bible or the Book of Mormon.”

“No,” Mr. Weber answered.

“Boy, am I lost.” Andy tried to think of anything that he might have done that would make Mr. Weber think of him as a missionary, but Andy’s mind was as empty as the time he had flunked a spelling test. He just sat there and couldn’t think of a thing.

Andy glanced up and saw that Mr. Weber’s eyes were closed. It was his way of telling Andy that he wasn’t talking enough. If Andy didn’t talk, Mr. Weber couldn’t blink.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Weber. I know you want to talk, but I’m stumped. How can I be a missionary?”

Mr. Weber’s eyes glanced quickly from one side of the room to the other, then he stared really hard at Andy. Deliberately he did the same thing again.

Let’s see, Andy thought. By first looking at his room and then at me, he’s trying to tell me something. “You want me to figure out some connection between your room and me?”

“Yes,” Mr. Weber blinked.

Andy got excited, knowing that he was close to the answer. “Let’s see. Your room and me, and we’re talking about me being a missionary. Am I being a missionary by visiting you in your room?”

“Yes,” Mr. Weber blinked again.

Andy was pleased with his lucky guess. Suddenly he remembered pictures he had seen of pioneers throwing seeds from sacks slung over their shoulders. “I remember something from a Primary lesson,” Andy said. “Farmers plant seeds that grow. And when I’m good and do good things, maybe I’m planting ‘missionary seeds.’”

“Yes,” Mr. Weber blinked, and his eyes were really shining now. That meant that Andy had it right.

“So even though I’m only eight years old and I don’t knock on doors like real missionaries do, I can still be a missionary by setting a good example and by being kind and thoughtful. And visiting you is one way that I do good—is that it, Mr. Weber?”

“Yes,” Mr. Weber blinked.

“Wahoo!” Andy yelled. “That’s it! I can be a missionary by helping those around me. I’m going to help Mrs. Gandey in her garden and Mr. Thompson with his lawn. And I’m going to keep visiting you. Thanks, Mr. Weber.” Andy jumped down from the stool and added, “I’m glad that we had this talk. I’m going to be the best missionary that you ever saw!”

“And thank you, Andy Taylor,” Mr. Weber’s eyes seemed to twinkle back. “I’m glad that we had this talk too.”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Lori Anderson