One of my favorite childhood stories happened when I was about three years old. I don’t remember the experience, but my mother has often told me about it.
My father had been called to serve a mission in the Southern States Mission. At the time, my parents and I were living in southern Nevada. Although they knew that it would be difficult to be separated, my mother and father were thrilled with the opportunity it gave my father to serve the Lord.
So my father left his wife and only child at home and headed for Salt Lake City for initial training and instruction before he left for the mission field.
The day after he left, my mother was washing clothes. In those days water had to be heated on a stove, after which it was poured into the washing machine. She had just picked up a bucket of boiling water and was carrying it over to the washing machine when I scurried past her. She tripped, and the scalding water poured all over me.
Priesthood holders were called in to administer to me. Before they began, my mother gave them strict instructions: “Bless this child that he will be healed so that his father won’t have to interrupt his mission.”
After the blessing, the pain ceased, and in a short time I was healed. I was promised that I would have no scars, and I have none.
My father was told about the accident, but he was assured that I was well on my way to recovery. In the meantime he had been set apart by a General Authority and was given the promise that his wife and son would be blessed while he served the Lord and that all would go well with them. He took the Lord at His word and went on with his mission.
My father died when I was six, leaving me with almost no memory of him and leaving my mother a young widow with two babies. But my mother never expressed regret for the time that my father had spent on his mission serving the Lord. To this day she still speaks of his mission as a blessing in our lives. She always taught me how important serving a mission is.
I have always insisted that missionary work be part of my life and part of my family’s lives. I have told this story many times to my children and to their children to help them understand the importance of serving the Lord and to teach them that a mission comes first.