I grew up in Centerville, Utah, as the oldest of ten; I had four brothers and five sisters. My family had fifty acres of farmland and orchards to care for. We grew plums, peaches, apricots, cherries, and all kinds of vegetables. Every day at 5:30 A.M. my family sold truckloads of produce at the Salt Lake market. Because we did not have refrigerators back then, we harvested the food the day before selling it.
Weekends were always a challenge because we had to find a way to prepare Monday’s produce without working on Sunday. My father’s rule of thumb was “We will do the best we can, but we will always go to our Sunday meetings.” He also said, “The day we miss our Sunday meetings is the day we sell the farm.”
To avoid working on Sunday, we’d harvest late on Saturday, then pack the food in boxes and put wet towels on top so that it wouldn’t dry out. On Sunday we got up very early and did the necessary chores, like milking the cows, so that we could be at church by 9:00 A.M. Because of my parents’ example, it has been easier to teach my children to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Many years ago, when we lived in Connecticut, our oldest son was invited to play baseball. Unfortunately all the games were changed to Sunday. We told our son that he had to decide for himself if he would play or not. We were pleased when he chose to keep God’s commandment and to continue the tradition of observing the Sabbath that my parents had passed on to me.
My parents also set an example of giving. Every Christmas we gathered different fruits and vegetables from our storage and made packages for widows, the poor, and elderly people.
I had an experience when I was a missionary in Australia that taught me a lesson about prayer. One night my companion and I were driving home along a winding road with a deep drop-off on one side. As I turned the steering wheel for a curve, the car continued to go forward. I slammed on the brakes and was able to stop safely. Checking the steering mechanism, I found that it was broken. I drove very slowly down the hill while my companion kicked the tires in the right direction. This all happened about 9:00 P.M. Australia time, which is morning in Utah. During a family prayer about the same time, my four-year-old sister asked the Lord to bless me. This showed me that the Lord really hears the prayers of little children.