Just by Being Friends

By Jill B. Adair for Kellie Rimmasch

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A true storyWherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work (D&C 64:33).

“Look, Mom, there’s our neighbor!” I exclaimed as Mom backed our car out of the driveway.

“Yes, I’ve seen him sitting outside his house the last couple of days.”

I smiled and waved as we drove by. Mom waved, too.

He reminds me of Grandpa, I thought. “What’s his name?” I asked. “He looks like a nice man.”

“I don’t know. We’ve been here almost a year, but I’ve never met him.”

The next day as we got into the car to go to the grocery store, I noticed him again, sitting in his lawn chair under a big shade tree.

I called out, “Hi,” and waved. He smiled and slowly raised his arm to wave back.

“Would it be OK if I went over and met him sometime?” I asked Mom. “He looks like a nice man.”

“Sure,” she said. “Next time we see him, we’ll both go.”

Later that day, we saw him sitting in his chair again. “Hi,” I called, skipping across front yards. “My name is Kellie, and this is my mom.”

He stood up carefully and held out his hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you both. I’m Arthur Dunbar.”

“We live in that house over there,” I told him, pointing.

“Yes, I’ve seen you,” he said with a friendly smile.

“How are you doing?” Mom asked.

“Just a little slower than usual,” he replied. “Ever since my stroke, I haven’t been allowed to drive or go to work.” He looked down at his hands. “I get restless being housebound, so I like to sit outside in the shade—but I expect to be up and around again soon.”

“I have a new ring,” I said, holding out my hand. “I got it for my birthday.”

“That’s a very pretty ring,” he said, “and you’re as cute as a bug. How old are you, Miss Kellie?”

“I’m four years old.”

“A very grown-up four-year-old, right?” Mr. Dunbar asked, smiling.

“Yes,” Mom agreed, also smiling. “We’d better go now and let Mr. Dunbar rest.”

“I’ll come see you tomorrow, OK?” I asked. Mr. Dunbar looked at Mom. Both nodded, and we said good-bye.

Mr. Dunbar and I quickly became friends. When my cousin sent me a postcard, I ran across the yard and asked him to read it to me. When I found a beautiful rock in his flower bed, I brought it to his porch and let him feel its smooth edges. Later, he’d sometimes go to the store with Mom and me. I invited him to my soccer game, and when I played good defense, I could hear him cheering louder than anyone else.

One Sunday as we came home from church, he was sitting in his chair. I jumped out of the car to show him my outfit.

“Well, young lady, where have you been, dressed up so pretty?” he asked.

“Church,” I said, twirling around. As I twirled, I bumped into Dad, who had followed me.

“Hi, Peter,” Mr. Dunbar said. “I see you take your family to church.”

“Yes sir.” Dad looked down at me and grinned, then reached to shake Mr. Dunbar’s hand. “Would you like a ride to church sometime?”

“I’d like that,” Mr. Dunbar said after a pause.

“What church do you go to?” Dad asked.

Mr. Dunbar ran his fingers through his gray hair. “Well, what church do you all attend?”

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” I volunteered.

“Your church would be fine.” He smiled.

I took another spin in my new dress, adding a little jump. “We leave pretty early in the morning,” I told him.

“That’s all right, Miss Kellie,” he said. “I like to get up early and watch the sunrise.”

Mr. Dunbar had a great time at our ward. I introduced him to my friends and told him to go with my dad to classes. Soon after, he came to our house to listen to the missionaries. He said he felt peaceful when he heard the gospel. He decided to be baptized.

At the baptism, one of the speakers said that Brother Dunbar was joining the Church because I had been a good missionary. I was surprised. I hadn’t visited Mr. Dunbar to teach him about Jesus Christ. I just wanted him to be happy. Later, our stake president told me that being a good friend is a big part of being a missionary.

I’m glad that Brother Dunbar is now a member of the Church, and I’m glad to know that even a little child like me can help Heavenly Father—just by being a friend. Mom and Dad and I are still close friends with Brother Dunbar. We always will be.

Illustrated by Brad Teare

Show References

  • Kellie Rimmasch, age 5
    Greenfield Park Ward
    Mesa Arizona Kimball East Stake