Erin the Good Samaritan


When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God (Mosiah 2:17).

“Who knows the parable of the Good Samaritan?” Sister Stewart asked her CTR class.

“I do!” exclaimed Erin, raising her hand. “It’s the story about the man who was hurt by robbers and two different men passed him by and the Good Samaritan stopped and helped.”

“Very good, Erin. Thank you. Not only did the Good Samaritan stop and help but he took the man to an inn. Let’s read about it in Luke 10:30–35. Who brought scriptures today?”

The children took turns reading the verses. Then Sister Stewart asked, “Dan, what did the Good Samaritan do at the inn?”

“He gave the innkeeper money and asked him to take care of the injured man.”

“That’s right. Not only did the Good Samaritan help the injured man but he went the extra mile and made sure that he would be cared for after they were at the inn. I challenge each of you to perform a service for someone this week and to go the extra mile. We’ll talk about some of your experiences next Sunday in class.”

On the way home from church, Erin tried to think of something she could do. It must be something for someone who really needs my help, she decided. Unfortunately she couldn’t think of anything. That night as she knelt by her bed, she asked Heavenly Father to help her find someone who really needed her help.

Days went by and nothing happened. Erin did a lot of good service. She helped with the dishes and made refreshments for family home evening, for instance. But they were all things she always did. Mother and Father were always grateful for Erin’s helpfulness and often told her so. But now Erin wanted to do something special.

Finally Sunday came again. A whole week had gone by, and no one other than her own family had needed Erin’s help. She sat in the car for a while, watching people walk by on their way into the church. What will I tell Sister Stewart and my class? she wondered as she got out of the car to go in for Sunday School opening exercises.

Just then the Armstrong family’s green van rumbled loudly into the parking lot. There were five children in the family, all under six years old. Sister Armstrong obviously had been in a hurry all morning, because her hair was still wet and one of the children was still eating a piece of toast. Brother Armstrong, a member of the bishopric, had needed to be at church for early morning meetings, so Sister Armstrong was left to get herself and her five children dressed in their Sunday best and to church on time.

As Erin watched, Sister Armstrong searched for two-year-old Lizzy’s shoes, which had been kicked under the seat.

Sister Perkins, the Relief Society president rushed by with her arms full of books, flowers, and papers, calling, “Good morning, Sister Armstrong!”

As Sister Armstrong struggled to put Lizzy’s shoes back on her, baby Mark spit up all over his clothes. Three-year-old Crystal had given gum to everyone while her mommy wasn’t looking, and now four-year-old Ashley had gum stuck in her pretty French braid. The only one who wasn’t causing a problem was five-and-a-half-year-old Marilyn, who had been sent into church by her mom to find her father. In the midst of all the confusion, Sister Armstrong sat down and cried.

Suddenly Erin realized that the Armstrong family was the answer to her prayers. She set her scriptures down on the sidewalk and rushed over to the van. Offering Sister Armstrong a tissue, Erin said earnestly, “Let me help you, Sister Armstrong. What can I do first?”

“Erin, you’re a lifesaver!” exclaimed Sister Armstrong as she dried her eyes.

Together they put Lizzy’s shoes back on, cleaned up Mark, and got the gum out of Ashley’s hair. Then Erin grabbed her scriptures before carrying Mark and the diaper bag into church. Partway up the hall they met Brother Armstrong.

“I see you’ve found yourself a Good Samaritan,” he said as he scooped up Mark and led the way into the chapel.

Erin sat with the Armstrongs during opening exercises, then offered to take Lizzy and Crystal to their Primary classes.

“You’ve been a great help this morning, Erin. Thank you very much,” said Sister Armstrong.

“I’d like to help every Sunday, if that’s all right. I can wait outside for you and then sit with you during Sunday School opening exercises.”

Sister Armstrong was very glad to accept Erin’s help. As she walked down the hall to her own class, Erin thought about the smile on Sister Armstrong’s face. A warm tingle flowed from Erin’s head to her toes. She had met the challenge to serve and go the extra mile.

That night as Erin knelt by her bed, she thanked Heavenly Father for guiding her to the Armstrong family and helping her learn how wonderful it felt to serve others and go the extra mile.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki