Rescued on Sunday


Based on a true story
When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God (Mosiah 2:17).

Josh McCauley watched as rainwater splashed into the pots and pans his parents had set around the living and dining rooms.

“Overflow in here!” Mom called. She looked tired. At eight months pregnant, she moved slowly, her face pinched with worry and strain.

Dad appeared with an empty pot and carried away the full one. Returning, he led his wife to a chair, gently pushed her down, and began to rub her shoulders. “You can’t keep this up,” he said. “Josh, get your mom a drink.”

Josh ran out and came back with a glass of water.

Mom accepted it with a tired smile. “Thanks.”

Josh and Sam, his older brother, helped out, emptying the smaller pans. But they couldn’t keep up with the rain that poured in.

Early yesterday morning, Dad had hired a man to help replace a portion of the roof. The man had persuaded them to take off the old shingles, promising that he and Dad could replace them within a day.

Josh knew that his parents weren’t sure about repairing the roof then, but the storm season was approaching. They had bought the old house, knowing that it was a “fixer-upper,” because they couldn’t afford anything else.

When the rain started, Mom and Dad tried to make a joke about it, but the drizzle grew into a downpour. Wind ripped the plastic tarp Dad had nailed to the rafters, leaving large gaps where the water poured through. The man took off, leaving Dad to finish on his own.

“What about church?” Sam asked in a small voice.

Josh exchanged looks with his brother. When Sam had been sick with chicken pox last year, Mom and Dad had taken turns attending meetings, but the family had never completely missed going to church.

“Everybody get ready,” Dad said.

Josh set down a pot. “What about the roof?”

“It’ll still be there when we get back. I hope.” Dad smiled, but the smile did not reach his eyes.

Mom didn’t even try to smile. She pushed herself up from the chair and started for the bedroom.

Josh knew that both his parents were worried. Money had been tight since Dad had decided to return to school to get a degree in engineering. If they didn’t get the new roof on soon, the carpet and floors would be ruined. They had moved the furniture to one side and covered it with plastic tablecloths.

Josh and Sam quickly dressed in their Sunday clothes, without any teasing of each other. Then they helped the two younger children get ready.

Josh barely listened during his Primary lesson. His thoughts were back at the house.

The family all changed clothes immediately after returning from church. They were emptying the overflowing pots and pans when men from their new ward started arriving in work clothes and boots.

Brother Jensen took a heavy pot from Josh’s mom. “I’ll take that,” he said gently. He turned to Josh’s dad. “Brother McCauley, we’d appreciate it if you and your wife would let us help.”

“We brought reinforcements,” Brother Howard added, gesturing to the other men.

Josh recognized the two men as their home teachers. Though the family had been in the house only three months, their home teachers had visited each month.

Mom looked at Dad. Tears glistened in her eyes. Dad held out his hand. “We’d be glad for your help. Thank you.”

Josh gave up trying to count all the men who came, some bearing tools, others ladders and supplies. There was much laughter and jokes about Noah’s flood as the rain continued to pour down.

Relief Society sisters began arriving with food. “We figured you wouldn’t feel much like cooking, Sister McCauley,” one of the ladies said as she placed a pan of rolls on the table. Others set down plates and bowls of food. They stayed to empty pots of water and mop the floor.

Later that night, when the roof was finished, Josh asked his dad, “Why did the men come to work on Sunday?” He knew that Church members didn’t normally work on Sunday. Sundays belong to the Lord.

His dad took a while to answer. “The Lord knows the intent of people’s hearts,” he said at last. “He knew that we needed help today, and he sent it in the form of our friends.” *

[Home Teaching]

President Thomas S. Monson

“Home teaching answers many prayers and permits us to see … living miracles.” President Thomas S. Monson First Counselor in the First Presidency (Ensign, November 1997, page 47.)

[illustrations] Illustrated by Scott Greer