Eight-year-old Emily bit her lip as a smiling missionary handed her a small card with a picture of the scriptures on it. The missionaries were visiting Primary this week and handing out pass-along cards to all of the children.
“We want to give you a challenge,” the missionary said. “We want you to share the gospel with a friend. Think of someone you want to share your happiness with, then give the person one of these cards and talk about it.”
“Tell a friend about the gospel?” Emily thought. The idea made her nervous. Did she know anyone who would really listen? She wasn’t sure about that, but she did know someone who would make a wonderful Latter-day Saint—her best friend, Alyssa. She looked down at the card. What would Alyssa say if she gave it to her? Would she think it was strange? Would she laugh? Emily tucked the card inside her scriptures. She loved her friend and she loved the gospel, but she didn’t know if she was brave enough to accept the missionaries’ challenge. It seemed too hard and scary.
The next weekend Emily got all her jobs done early so that she could invite Alyssa over. She couldn’t wait to play their favorite game—Cannonball—which they had invented themselves. They piled up all the blankets and pillows they could find, then leaped into the pile, yelling “Cannonball!”
When they began to pile up the blankets again, Emily’s little brother and sister joined in, helping to make the pile bigger.
“Can we play, too?” her brother asked.
At first, Emily was annoyed. She wanted to play the game with just Alyssa. But then she realized that everyone would be happier if they all played together.
“Sure,” Emily said.
When they were tired out from Cannonball, they all pretended to be deep-sea explorers in a submarine.
“This is so fun!” Alyssa said.
Soon Emily’s brother and sister went outside. Emily took Alyssa to her room and played a new CD of really pretty Church music. Alyssa loved it. She even began to sing along with the chorus of one song. Hearing Alyssa sing about the gospel made Emily happy.
“Time for lunch,” Emily’s mom called. All the children ran to the table, and Emily’s brother reached for a slice of bread.
“Not yet,” Emily’s mom said. “Time for prayer.”
“I’ll say it,” Emily volunteered. Alyssa watched Emily and folded her arms like she did.
After lunch Emily and Alyssa went outside to play on the swings. Emily couldn’t believe it when she saw Alyssa’s mom coming to pick up her daughter. Time went by too quickly when she was having fun with her friend. She said good-bye and went back inside to help her mom.
That night as she opened her scriptures, Emily saw the card. Oh no! She had forgotten the missionaries’ challenge. She had spent the entire day with her friend and hadn’t said one thing about the gospel.
Her mother poked her head through Emily’s doorway, smiling. “I’m so proud of you, sweetheart.”
Emily looked up, surprised. “What for?”
Her mother came in and sat down on the bed. “For sharing the gospel with your friend today.”
Emily shook her head. “But Mom, I didn’t say anything about the gospel.”
“Yes, you did,” her mother said. “When you played with your brother and sister, you taught her that including others makes games fun and that we’re happy when we’re kind to our family.”
Emily thought about it.
“And,” her mother added, “you taught her gospel principles when you shared your Church music with her. You showed her how to pray when you blessed the food at lunchtime.”
Slowly, Emily smiled. It was true. She had shared the gospel with her friend—not with words, but with actions. She thought of how glad she felt when she heard Alyssa singing about being a child of God. Maybe someday Alyssa would remember those words and want to know more. Suddenly Emily felt very happy. She couldn’t wait to go to Primary on Sunday and tell her teacher that it wasn’t hard to share the gospel at all.
“There is no more powerful missionary message … than the example of a loving and happy Latter-day Saint life.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “‘Witnesses unto Me,’” Ensign, May 2001, 14.