Jimmy stared out the icy window, trying to see through the dim evening light. “Please let someone come soon,” he whispered.
“Your sister’s shivering, Jimmy.” Mama’s voice sounded weaker than before. “Will you help her?”
He loosened the blanket from his bare feet. “Here. You can use mine for a while,” he said, tucking it around his sister’s shoulders. He returned to the window and again pressed his face against the glass. Suddenly, he saw a tall man standing at the end of the alley.
“Jimmy! Wait! Where are you going?” Mama called.
Her only answer was the door closing behind him.
Elder Palmer shoved his hand in his overcoat pocket. One silver dollar. That was all he had, but just touching it gave him hope that he would soon find a warm room for the night.
Elder Palmer turned to see a small boy hopping from one foot to the other, trying to keep his bare feet out of the snow.
“Could you give me ten cents to buy some bread for my sick mother and my little sister?”
“Yes! Of course, dear boy,” he said, handing him his silver dollar.
“Oh, thank you, sir. I’ll bring you back your change.”
“No, you keep it. You need it more than I do. What is your name? Where do you live?”
“Jimmy Rose, and I live there.” He pointed to a door a short distance down the alley, then darted toward it.
“Excuse me, sir.”
Dr. Gray whirled around. He hadn’t heard the man enter his office. “Yes?”
“I saw your fire through the window. May I warm myself for a few minutes?”
“By all means. Come in.”
The man put down his traveling bag and sat next to the fire.
“Have you just arrived in town?” Dr. Gray asked.
“Yes. I’m from Utah. I’m a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
“You are a Mormon?” the doctor asked. “Where are you staying? I’d like to talk to you about your religion.”
“I’m traveling as Christ’s Apostles did, without purse or scrip, having faith that the Lord will provide.”
Dr. Gray studied his guest. “If you have that much faith in the Lord,” he said, “then I will be His helper tonight. Please come to my home and have supper with my wife and me.
The next morning someone knocked on Jimmy’s front door. He opened it.
“Hello, young man.”
Jimmy grabbed Elder Palmer’s arm. “Mama,” he said, dragging him to her bedside, “this is the good man who gave me the dollar.”
Mrs. Rose carefully lifted her head. “Thank you so much. I don’t know what we would have done without you. My husband died some time back, and I’ve been too sick to work. Our food and coal ran out yesterday.”
“But we have more now,” Jimmy said, pointing to a bucket of coal. “I bought it last night.”
“It looks like you’ve done a fine job of taking care of your family,” Elder Palmer said.
Jimmy stood a little taller. “I’m trying to, sir.”
Elder Palmer turned back to Jimmy’s mother. “There is something more I can do for you. I am an elder in the true Church of Jesus Christ. That means that I have the authority to act in God’s name and give you a blessing of health, if you desire it and have the faith to be healed.”
Mrs. Rose thought for a long moment. Finally, she said, “Yes, I’d like a blessing.”
A while later there was another knock on the door. The new visitor held up his medical bag and said, “Elder Palmer told me about your mother, and I’ve come to help.”
“I am already well, doctor,” Mrs. Rose said.
Jimmy started to close the door, but the doctor stopped him. “My wife ordered groceries and coal for your family, and they have just arrived. Will you help the deliveryman, Jimmy?”
“Yes, sir!” Jimmy ran outside. When he returned, the doctor was putting away his stethoscope.
“You have been quite sick,” he said to Mrs. Rose, “but you now seem all right. If you’re careful, you should be able to do your usual work.”
“It’s time for me to continue with mine too,” Elder Palmer said.
“I’d like to hear more about your church,” Mrs. Rose said. “Will you please come back and visit us?”
Jimmy grabbed his hand. “Yes, will you?”
“My wife asked that you return to our home too,” Dr. Gray added.
Elder Palmer smiled, “I’d be honored.”
Jimmy led the missionary to the door, but as he put his hand on the latch, he paused. How could he thank this man who had brought so much goodness to his family?
“What is it, Jimmy?” Elder Palmer asked.
Jimmy swallowed hard. “I—I’m glad I saw you through the window!” he said.
“This is our Father’s work, and He has laid upon us a divine injunction [responsibility] to seek out and strengthen those in need and those who are weak.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley, “What This Work is All About,” Ensign, Aug. 2002, 7.