Sarah headed to the back of the room, where some of the popular girls in her class were waiting for her. As she passed Kathy, who was trying to finish her homework before class started, Kathy looked up and said, “Good morning, Sarah.”
Mr. Jones gave homework every night, and if it wasn’t handed in first thing, you had to stay in for both recesses.
“I see your ‘bosom buddy’ is trying to finish her homework—like always,” Roxanne sneered.
“She’s not my ‘bosom buddy,’ Roxanne. You know that.” Sarah felt the eyes of the other girls laughing at her.
The girls giggled as Roxanne went on, “Did you notice what she was wearing today? I wonder where she found that horrible sweater. It looks like a sweater my mom wore in high school.”
“Yeah, it looks like a two-for-one special from the Bargain Barn,” Rachel added.
“And we all know, ‘Two is better than one.’” Roxanne mimicked Crazy Barney from the Bargain Barn commercial. The other girls laughed.
Sarah felt bad for Kathy, but she wished Kathy would quit picking her out to talk to. It was embarrassing in front of these girls.
After school, Mom said, “Sarah, I talked to Sister Simpson today, and she was concerned. Her children don’t have any friends at school. Even the Latter-day Saint students aren’t nice to them. I’m sure that’s why the family hasn’t been to church. Her daughter is in your grade. Could you be her friend and invite her to Primary?”
“Sure, Mom, but there’s nobody named Simpson in my class. She must be in the other fifth-grade class.” Sarah got out some graham crackers.
“No, I’m sure she’s in your class, because her mother said she was having a hard time keeping up with all the homework that Mr. Jones assigns. They had to move a few months after their baptism because Brother Simpson lost his job. He’s working now, but they’ve had a difficult time making ends meet. Let’s see—I wrote her name down. … Here it is—Kathy Burns. Her last name is different from her mother’s. Do you know Kathy?”
The graham crackers suddenly stuck to the sides of Sarah’s mouth. It would be Kathy! What’ll the other girls say? They already tease me because I don’t make fun of her when they do. Now Mom wants me to be her friend. Sarah knew that Roxanne would have a field day with that. Roxanne would have two targets. And, of course, “two is better than one.”
“Sarah, are you all right? You look sick.”
“Yeah, uh, I’m all right, Mom.”
“Well, do you know Kathy Burns?”
“Yes, I know her. But I didn’t know she was a member of the Church. She doesn’t really have any friends. She’s kind of … different.”
Mom looked into her eyes, “Sarah, we’re all different in some ways, but we’re also very much alike. We all need to know of Heavenly Father’s love for us, and we all need friends.”
“I guess so.” Sarah felt a tug-of-war going on inside her as she tried to avoid Mom’s gaze.
That night, Sarah didn’t sleep well. When Dad called her at six-thirty the next morning for scripture study, she groaned. “I think I’m sick, Dad. Can I sleep a little longer?”
Well, it was kind of true—she felt sick at heart.
“Come on downstairs with us, and I bet you’ll feel better after scriptures,” Dad called back.
Sarah rested her head against the couch, not really paying much attention as Mom started reading the sixth chapter of Moroni. But as she began verse three, something made Sarah listen closely:
“‘And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.
“‘And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way …’”
Sarah remembered two years ago when she was baptized, how determined she had felt to always do what Jesus would want her to do. She wondered if Kathy’s family felt like they were really “numbered among the people of the church.”
She looked at the picture on the wall of the Savior. She’d seen it many times and loved it. This morning, however, as she gazed at it, she seemed to feel the love Jesus had for her—and for Kathy. She felt warm inside, and some of His words came into her mind: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”*
Sarah felt a peace come over her, and she knew what she must do. She no longer cared what the in-group at school would say. She would follow Christ with a “determination to serve him to the end.”
As Sarah walked into her classroom, she gazed around the room, looking for Kathy.
“Over here, Sarah,” Rachel called.
“Just a minute,” Sarah called back, still looking for Kathy.
“Are you looking for Santa Claus?” Roxanne laughed. “Come here, silly!”
“I’m looking for Kathy,” Sarah told them matter-of-factly. “Have any of you seen her?”
Roxanne asked the group, mockingly, “Did she say she was looking for Kathy?”
“Yes,” Sarah said, looking each of them in the eye. “I have an invitation for her to the Primary party at our church.”
“Kathy belongs to your church?” Rachel piped up.
“Yes. I just found out yesterday, and I want her to know about the party we’re having next week. Oh, there she is now. I’ll talk to you all later.”
After class began, Mr. Jones asked to talk to Sarah at break. Sarah worried. She had finished her homework, but she had been kind of distracted last night. …
“Sarah, you’re a good student,” Mr. Jones told her, “and I wondered if you’d help me. Kathy and Vickie both need a little extra help understanding fractions. Would you work with them during math time? It shouldn’t take long for them to catch up with the rest of the class, and I don’t think it would put you behind. I think that Kathy likes you—I noticed the two of you talking this morning. What do you think?”
Sarah smiled. “I’d like to help. Kathy likes me fine, but I don’t know about Vickie. She never talks to me. I don’t mind helping her, too, though.”
“Thank you, Sarah, and don’t worry about Vickie. I’m sure you’ll get along well together.”
Sarah and Kathy talked quietly together as they worked on the math assignment. Vickie didn’t say much, but about halfway through math time, she began to get the hang of simplifying fractions and she started to smile. Soon the three girls were whispering and laughing quietly as they worked on the problems together. Sarah had never enjoyed math class as much as she had today.
Sarah could hardly wait as she ran in the door. “Mom! Mom! Guess what?”
“I’m upstairs,” Mom called.
Sarah took the steps two at a time. “You won’t believe it, Mom! I made friends with Kathy—and with another girl, Vickie. I’m helping them during math, and it’s really fun! It’s a lot more fun than working by myself all the time. They’re both really nice, and we ate together at lunchtime. Two new friends in one day—isn’t it great? Two is better than one, right, Mom?”
“Right, Sarah. When it comes to good things, like friendship, two is better than one.”