Friend to Friend:

Trust in Others and Yourself

From an interview with Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Seventy, currently serving in the Mexico South Area Presidency; by Callie Buys

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Keep that which is committed to thy trust (1 Tim. 6:20).

Elder Craig C. Christensen

I come from a very close, faithful family. My father worked as a traveling salesman, selling insecticides to farmers. He would typically leave home on a Monday, travel for a few days, come back midweek to fulfill his Church assignments, and then leave again and come back on Friday. I have a brother and a sister, and he always took one of us with him when we weren’t in school. I have many great memories from the times I spent traveling with my father.

My father’s parents died before we were born, so my brother and sister and I never knew our paternal grandparents. My father wanted us to learn about our ancestry, so as we traveled on long stretches of road he taught us about our heritage, along with gospel principles and stories from his own life. It was a great time for us to grow closer to him.

While my father met with customers, I had to either sit in the lobby, wait in the car, or walk around outside. I would frequently get tired of waiting for my father to finish working, so he decided to keep me busy. We went to a bank and bought 40 rolls of pennies and a collection booklet. I sifted through all the pennies and sorted them by year so I could fill up the collection. If I had finished sorting all those pennies by the time he got out of his meeting, we would find another bank and swap pennies.

My father said that if I gave the bank tellers my word that each roll of pennies I was trading had 50 pennies, I wouldn’t have to wait for them to count them. They would simply give me new rolls to replace them. Sure enough, I learned that if I said, “I’ve counted these. I promise that there are 50 pennies in each roll,” the bank tellers trusted me. I learned the importance of living up to my word. I also realized that some other little boy had probably counted the pennies I received, and that I had to rely on him to be honest as well. I never received a roll with fewer than 50 pennies, so I learned to trust others and to be trustworthy in all that I do.

I am grateful for the trips with my father and the gospel principles he taught me. I’m thankful for my penny collection and the lessons it taught me about being trustworthy and trusting others.

1. Elder Christensen at the age of 5.

2. With the Fuentes family in Mexico.

3. Playing guitar in 1964 with his sister Marilee on piano and his brother Roger on bass.

4. Part of his penny collection

5. Elder and Sister Christensen in Mexico City in 1998.

Pennies photographed by Christina Smith