Toby looked down at the ring Jerome had slipped onto his third finger. “It will keep us close while I am on my mission,” Jerome had said, smiling down at his ten-year-old brother.
Toby knew how special this ring was to Jerome. Their great-uncle had made it and given it to him when he was ordained to the priesthood. The band was silver, and Uncle had painstakingly carved “LDS” out of turquoise and soldered it to the band. Toby had never seen the ring off Jerome’s finger. “I won’t take it off my finger until I return it to you in two years,” he had promised the handsome missionary.
“Get up, Wind Wolf,” Grandfather called early the next morning. He used Toby’s Indian name only when he wanted him to hurry. “Today we must plant the corn, and old Grandfather Sun will scorch our backs if we do not begin soon.”
Toby quickly dressed, ate a biscuit, drank a glass of milk, and hurried outside. He loved helping Grandfather plant the corn, and he knew that if he kept busy, he wouldn’t miss Jerome as much.
Grandfather dug holes with the narrow, wooden spade that he had made himself. Toby crawled along the rows, dropping two kernels of corn into each hole from the leather pouch he wore around his neck. The sun caused bright sparkles to dance across the silver band on Jerome’s ring, making Toby squint at times.
When all the corn had been planted, Toby and Grandfather looked around at the large plot, pleased with their work.
Still on his knees, Toby reached up to wipe his forehead. He gasped. “Jerome’s ring! It’s gone!” He jumped up, looking frantically.
Grandfather placed his hand on Toby’s shoulder. “Nothing will be accomplished by acting like a chicken with its head cut off. You walk up and down these rows and look for the ring. I will do the same on the rows over there.”
But they did not find the ring.
“Oh, Grandfather, what can I do? The ring means so much to Jerome.”
“There is One who knows where the ring is,” Grandfather said, kneeling on the ground.
Of course! Heavenly Father knew where the ring was. He would help them find it. Toby knelt beside his wise grandfather.
“Now I am sure that I will find it,” Toby said. He got up and began to slowly walk up and down each row again.
But the ring still couldn’t be found.
“Why doesn’t Heavenly Father show me where the ring is?” Toby asked impatiently. “He knows that Jerome is serving him.”
“We will ask again tonight and look again tomorrow,” Grandfather said.
The next morning Toby was on his hands and knees when the sun cast its first beams across the field. He crawled along each row, looking desperately for the ring. Grandfather found him slumped against the hogan. “Grandfather, I have prayed many times and have gone over every inch of the cornfield. Why doesn’t Heavenly Father show me where it is?”
“Heavenly Father knows where the ring is, Toby. If he wants us to find it, we will—but in his own time.”
“Why wouldn’t he want me to find it right now?”
“Maybe there is something you need to find even more than the ring,” Grandfather answered.
“What would I need to find more than Jerome’s ring?”
“That is something you must find out for yourself.”
Sometimes Grandfather doesn’t make any sense, Toby thought. If my prayer isn’t answered right now, the ring will be lost forever.
But it was not found that day, either.
Each morning Toby got up early and made his way slowly and carefully through the cornfield, hoping to see the turquoise initials popping up through the soil. It did not happen. He was very discouraged, but he continued to ask Heavenly Father to help him find the ring.
“Why don’t you fast about it?” suggested his good friend Vincent.
Toby remembered the lesson his Primary teacher had given on fasting and on how miracles may happen when fasting and prayer are used together. He had thought that that was just for grown-ups. The more he thought about it now, however, the more he liked the idea.
It was hard going to school without breakfast, and even harder when all his friends brought out their lunches, but at the end of the school day, he felt good inside. He did not find the ring as he went through the cornfield that evening, but he did find peace. He felt very close to Heavenly Father.
One early morning a few weeks later, Toby heard his grandfather call, “Wind Wolf, come quickly!”
Toby ran outside wondering what was wrong. “Where are you, Grandfather?”
“Here in the cornfield.”
“What is it? Is something wrong?”
Grandfather pointed at a small, green plant sticking up through the brown soil.
“Jerome’s ring!” Toby fell on his hands and knees to see better. The bright, green cornstalk had grown through the silver band and lifted the ring right out of the ground. “It is as if the cornstalk is handing it to me.” Toby carefully lifted it from the tender seedling.
That evening when Grandfather was hoeing in the cornfield, Toby wanted to be near him. “Grandfather, you are very wise.”
“Many years make much experience; much experience makes much wisdom.” Grandfather smiled at Toby.
“I think I know now what it was that I needed to find more than Jerome’s ring.”
Grandfather sat down and leaned against a fence post. “Tell me,” he said, motioning for Toby to sit beside him.
“Well, if I had found Jerome’s ring right away, I would never have prayed all the times I did. I knew that I really needed Heavenly Father’s help, so I prayed differently than I usually do. I really talked to him. And when I fasted, I felt really good.”
“So what did you find, my grandson?”
“I found Heavenly Father’s love for me, Grandfather.”
Neither Toby nor Grandfather said anything for a time. Then Grandfather said, “Tomorrow you must write to your brother about his first convert.”