As a young missionary, I was assigned to a group of seventeen small islands in the South Pacific. One day a member told us that if we would be at a certain harbor on a particular island when the sun set the next day, a family would meet us there and listen to the discussions.
What joy that news brought! It was like finding a piece of gold. I quickly found four other members who were experienced sailors who agreed to take me to this island the next day.
We made good progress for a few hours, but as the sun climbed higher and the boat got farther from land, the wind began to play out and soon quit altogether, leaving us bobbing aimlessly on a smooth ocean.
Time passed. The sun got higher, the sea calmer. Nothing moved. We soon realized that unless something changed, we would not arrive by sundown. I suggested that we pray and plead with the Lord to send some wind. I offered a prayer. When I finished, things seemed calmer than ever. We continued drifting.
I thought, “There is a family at the harbor that wants to hear the gospel. We are here in the middle of the ocean and want to teach them. The Lord controls the elements [weather]. All that stands between us and the family is a little wind. Why won’t He send it? It’s a righteous desire.”
As I was so wondering, I noticed [a] faithful older brother move to the rear of the boat. He unlashed the tiny lifeboat and carefully lowered it over the side.
He looked at me and softly said, “Get in. I am going to row you to shore, and we need to leave now to make it by sundown.”
I was dumbfounded [speechless]. It was miles to shore. The sun was hot, and this man was old.
The old man did not look up, rest, or talk, but hour after hour he rowed and rowed and rowed.
Just as the sun dipped into the ocean, the skiff [boat] touched the shore of the harbor. A family was waiting. The old man spoke for the first time in hours and said, “Go. Teach them the truth. I’ll wait here.”
I told the family, “When we exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can do things we could not otherwise do. When our hearts are determined to do right, the Lord gives us the power to do so.”
The family believed and eventually was baptized.
How often do we not do more because we pray for wind and none comes? We pray for good things and they don’t seem to happen, so we sit and wait and do no more. We should always pray for help, but we should always listen for inspiration and impressions [promptings] to proceed in ways different from those we may have thought of. On the boat, five men prayed, but only one heard and acted. God does hear our prayers. God knows more than we do. We should never stop moving because we think our way is barred [blocked] or the only door we can go through is closed.
Our responsibility is to ask, “What more can I do?” then listen for the answer, and do it!