Pedro’s Time


Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matt. 5:6).

Eleven-year-old Pedro sat quietly on the front steps of his apartment building. It was a warm summer day in Santiago. His father, a city bus driver, had left hours ago for work and would soon be home for lunch. Pedro’s mother was busily preparing arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) in the kitchen. Its aroma floating from the open window made him hungry.

He felt the warm breeze on his cheeks and watched it dance across the long grass that separated his home from the post office. Then he saw them, the two young women with white blouses and dark skirts who came this way every Monday. One resembled him with wiry dark hair and soft brown eyes. The other, blond and freckled, was obviously a North American. Mormons, he thought.

He remembered visiting his cousin Carlos on the coast a few summers ago. When the Mormons had come, his aunt invited them in to give their message.

Pedro had felt his heart burn as the young men told the story of Joseph Smith. They opened a blue book. They said that the book was called the Book of Mormon and that it told of Jesus’ coming to America. Then one of them read a promise from the book: God would tell them it was true, if they would just read it and ask Him about it.

Pedro and Carlos exchanged excited glances. Jesus had come to America! Pedro was eager to read this book. Would the missionaries offer them a Book of Mormon? They did!

“No, thank you.”

Pedro stared in disbelief at his uncle, whose words nearly choked the warmth in his heart. Carlos hung his head.

The missionaries smiled politely and, thanking them, rose from their chairs.

Pedro felt tears coming as he watched the missionaries walk away. He couldn’t let them go—he wanted so much to read the book! Feeling as though he would burst, he jumped up and ran outside. “Wait!” He caught up with the missionaries at the gate. “Please don’t leave!”

Both of them smiled, but Pedro could tell that they were sad. The tall one stooped down and spoke softly. “What is your name?”

“Pedro.”

“Well, Pedro, remember what we taught you. Pray to Father in Heaven, and be a good son. Your time will come.”

Pedro watched sorrowfully as they walked away.

Now, remembering, his eyes began to sting again. He did what the missionaries had told him. He prayed every day to Heavenly Father. And he obeyed his parents. When would his time come?

A shadow fell across the grass in front of him. Surprised, he looked up at the two young women with friendly eyes. He noticed the tags on their blouses—Hermana (Sister) Sanchez and Hermana Cartwright—and, in a canvas bag Hermana Sanchez carried, he saw the blue book.

Buenos días (good morning),” Hermana Cartwright said, smiling. “We noticed you on our way to the post office, and we felt that we should talk to you.”

“Are your parents home?” asked Hermana Sanchez.

Sí! (yes)” Pedro cried. He quickly opened the door and called to his mother. The missionaries were right. His prayers were answered. His time had come at last. He turned back to the sisters and smiled. “You don’t know how long I have waited!”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Julie F. Young