Missing Michael


(Based on a true story)
He who loveth God love his brother also (1 John 4:21).

“There’s the steeple!” Natalie called out. She loved going to church. Sunday was her favorite day of the week, except for one thing—she was sad that her brother, Michael, chose not to go to church with the rest of the family.

As Natalie sat quietly during sacrament meeting, she thought about Michael. When he used to come to church, Natalie liked to sit next to him while she looked at her picture books about Jesus. After sacrament meeting, Michael would take her hand and walk her to Primary. “See you later, Sis,” he would always say. But Michael hadn’t been to church in a long time.

Natalie wished she could tie him up with her jump rope and pull him to church in her little red wagon, but she knew he wouldn’t like that. What else could she do?

In Primary, Sister Chang greeted her class cheerfully. “I am so glad you are all here today,” she said. “It makes me happy to see your smiling faces. But who is missing?”

Natalie looked around the room. She raised her hand. “Jed,” she called out. “Jed isn’t here today.”

“You are right,” Sister Chang said. “Jed wasn’t here last week either.”

“Maybe he’s sick,” Lisa suggested.

“Maybe he’s on a trip,” Boyd said.

“Maybe he just didn’t want to come,” Natalie said quietly.

“We need to let him know we love him and miss him when he’s gone,” Sister Chang said.

“How can we do that?” Natalie asked.

“We’ll tell him,” Sister Chang said. “Little things can often make a big difference. I made a card for you to sign, and you can each draw a special picture for Jed.”

Natalie decided to draw a picture of a mountain and trees because she knew that Jed liked the outdoors. And then Natalie asked her teacher if she could draw another picture to take home.

When Natalie got home from church, she found Michael in his room listening to music. “Hi, Sis,” he greeted her. “What’s up?”

Natalie handed him a folded piece of paper. “I made you a card.”

“For me?” Michael smiled. “Why? It’s not my birthday or anything.”

“Sister Chang helped me write the inside. It says, ‘I miss you when you don’t come to church with us. I love you.’ And I signed my name.”

“Thanks,” Michael said softly. “It’s a nice card. You did a good job.”

“You’re welcome.” Natalie gave her brother a hug and hurried off to help Mom fix dinner. She felt happy inside. She loved her brother so much, and now he knew it too.

The following Sunday, Natalie was so excited when Michael decided to go to church. She held his hand as they entered the chapel. She sat quietly next to him during the service. Natalie saw Jed sitting two rows up and gave him a little wave.

Natalie loved going to church, especially when all her friends and family were there. She decided that from now on, if she missed someone, she would say so, because sometimes little things can make a big difference.

[Our Responsibility]

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“It is our responsibility … to see that every one who is baptized is encouraged and made to feel the wondrous warmth of this gospel of our Lord.” President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep,” Ensign, May 1999, 110.

[illustration] Illustration by Jim Madsen