Preston loved maps. He had a placemat with a world map that he studied every morning at breakfast. He drew pretend maps of islands with pirate treasure and real maps of his neighborhood. Even the pattern on his bedspread had maps on it.
So when Preston’s Primary teacher, Brother Greene, started drawing a map on the board during Primary class, Preston paid close attention.
“I didn’t know the Bible had maps,” Michael said.
“I know where the maps are,” Preston said.
Brother Greene smiled. “Let’s find the map that has Jerusalem on it.” Brother Greene pointed to a dot on the map he’d drawn on the board. “Here’s Jerusalem. Everybody put your finger on Jerusalem on your map.”
Preston listened while Brother Greene explained how a prophet named Lehi had to leave Jerusalem with his family. As he told the story, Brother Greene drew lines on the board that showed how Lehi’s family traveled all the way to America.
Preston studied the map Brother Greene had drawn. He was fascinated. He’d heard the story of Lehi’s family many times, but no one had ever told him the story with a map before.
On the way home, Preston told his parents all about Brother Greene’s Primary lesson. “And did you know that Lehi lived 600 years before Jesus was born?”
“You’re absolutely right,” Dad said. “You were really listening today.”
“When I get home, I’m going to draw a map just like Brother Greene’s,” Preston said.
Preston worked on his map most of the afternoon. He used his best colored pencils. When it was finished, he showed it to Dad.
“This is a fine map,” Dad said.
“Can we use it for family home evening tomorrow?” Preston asked.
“Hmm,” Dad said. “I’ve invited a friend from work over for dinner, and I asked him to stay for family home evening.”
“Aw, Dad,” Preston said. “I like it when it’s just our family. Just you and Mom and me.” Preston was often shy around people he didn’t know.
Dad put his arm around Preston’s shoulder. “I know, but this is important. We want to let other people see how we live the gospel. Mom has a special lesson planned, so maybe we’ll save the map for another time.”
Dinner on Monday night was not much fun. Dad’s friend, Mr. Shay, was nice, but the grown-ups did most of the talking. Finally it was time to go into the family room to have family home evening. Dad spent a couple of minutes explaining to Mr. Shay what family home evening was all about.
“Before we start our lesson,” Dad said, “are there any questions you’d like to ask?”
“I have one very big question about your church,” Mr. Shay said. “I want to know about the Book of Mormon. Where did it come from? What is it about?”
“I know!” Preston said. “I know where the Book of Mormon came from!” Preston ran to his room and came right back with his map. He showed it to Mr. Shay. Preston put his finger on Jerusalem and told the story of Lehi’s family just like Brother Greene had told it in Primary.
Mr. Shay looked at the map. He looked at Preston. Then he looked at Preston’s dad. “Is that right?” Mr. Shay asked.
Dad smiled and nodded. “I couldn’t have explained it any better myself.”
Mr. Shay looked at the map again. “Did you draw this map yourself?” he asked Preston.
Preston could only nod. He could hardly believe he had told that long story to Mr. Shay. Now that it was finished, Preston felt shy again. The funny thing was, when he was telling the story, he hadn’t felt a bit shy.
“How old are you?” Mr. Shay asked.
“I’ll be seven next month,” Preston answered.
Mr. Shay leaned back in his chair and smiled. “I used to wonder how all those young men can be missionaries for your church when they are only 19 years old. But now I think I understand. If Preston already knows this much about the Book of Mormon, he will be an excellent missionary.”
Preston felt happy and warm inside. He wondered if that’s how missionaries feel when they teach the gospel.
“I think Preston has given us an excellent lesson tonight,” Mom said. “All we need now is a song and a prayer.”
“Don’t forget dessert!” Preston said.
“Creating a gospel-sharing home is the easiest and most effective way that we can share the gospel with others.” 2
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Illustrations by Elise Black