Illustration by Matt Smith; photograph courtesy of Jane Hales
Marshall was so excited to be in Nebraska. His baseball team, the Aces, had traveled from Utah to play in a tournament. So far it had been an awesome adventure.
“We’re going to win!” Marshall said to his friend Mason as they got ready for the championship game. The Aces were in the lead. All they had to do to win the tournament was beat the Mustangs from Mississippi. If they lost they would have to play a second game against the Mustangs to decide the champion.
Marshall and his teammates played the best they could, but the Aces lost the game. Marshall was disappointed. He was slowly walking back to the dugout when he heard the Mustangs’ coach call, “Hey, boys, come over here!”
“I wonder what he wants,” Marshall complained as he headed to the center of the field. He didn’t feel like being a good sport.
As boys from both teams gathered on the pitcher’s mound, the Mustangs’ coach congratulated them.
“That was a really good game, and you all played really well. We’re excited to play you again tonight. We hope that game will be good too. Now, Tyler,” he said to a boy on his team, “will you please offer a prayer for us?”
Marshall was surprised. He did not expect to be praying in the middle of a baseball field. He forgot about losing as he bowed his head and listened. He left feeling a lot better.
After the game Marshall and his teammates went to visit the nearby Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters. As they walked around with their missionary guide, the boys told her about praying with the other team. Then suddenly Mason said, “Hey, I have an idea! If the Mustangs had enough courage to pray on the field, we should have enough courage to give them copies of the Book of Mormon!”
That sounded like a great idea to Marshall and the other Aces. They asked the missionaries if they could get 15 copies of the Book of Mormon to give to the Mustangs and their coaches.
Before the game all the Aces were excited about playing, but they were even more excited about sharing the gospel. “I hope they’ll read it,” Marshall said as he finished writing his testimony in a Book of Mormon.
The Aces all played hard that night, but they lost again. Marshall didn’t mind as much this time, though, because he was so excited to share his gift. After the game both teams gathered to shake hands and give congratulations. But this time the surprise was for the Mustangs. Marshall handed his book to one of the other boys. “I wanted you to have this. Thanks for playing and praying with us.”
“Thanks,” the boy said.
After the Aces passed out their books, the two teams bowed their heads for another prayer. Marshall was also silently thanking Heavenly Father for giving him the chance to be a missionary.