Bugs for Brother Baugh

By Karen Ahlstrom

(Based on a true story)

The author lives in Utah, USA.

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“Teacher, do you love me? Teacher, will you care for me?” (Children’s Songbook, 178).

Bugs for Brother Baugh

Illustrations by Karen Jones

Lizbeth stared out the car window on the way to church. There was a bug on the outside of the window. She grinned. Bugs were her favorite!

Lizbeth had autism. Sometimes people with autism focus a lot on one thing. Maybe that’s why she loved bugs so much. She couldn’t get enough of them! Lizbeth loved when Mom told her scripture stories with bugs in them—like when God sent locusts to help Moses.

“I almost forgot!” Dad said as he stopped at a red light. “The bishopric is being released today.”

Lizbeth’s eyes got wide. “Brother Baugh too?”

“Yep.”

“I don’t want Brother Baugh to leave!” Lizbeth felt like crying. It was hard for her to deal with changes. She liked things to stay the same.

Mom twisted around in her seat. “He’s not leaving, sweetie. He just won’t be in the bishopric anymore.”

That made Lizbeth feel a little better. “Will he still be on the stand waiting for my pictures?”

“Not after today,” Mom said. “But you can still see him at church.”

Every Sunday, Lizbeth drew a picture for Brother Baugh. It started one week when he visited Lizbeth’s Primary class. Lizbeth drew a praying mantis on the chalkboard of her Primary classroom. She was sad she had to leave before it was finished. Brother Baugh asked Lizbeth to draw a new picture for him on paper. She drew a bright red ladybug with black spots. Brother Baugh liked it a lot! Lizbeth decided to draw a picture for him every week.

Last week she drew him a beetle. Before that she drew an ant colony full of twisty tunnels. Now it won’t be the same, Lizbeth thought.

“What if Brother Baugh doesn’t want my pictures anymore?” she asked Mom and Dad.

“I think he will,” Dad said. “Remember when he brought you an antlion from the desert?”

Lizbeth nodded. That was a really cool bug! It caught ants in its trap.

Dad parked the car, and they all got out. Mom put her arm around Lizbeth as they walked. “What if you draw an extra-special picture for Brother Baugh today? That way you can thank him for being your friend.”

That was a good idea. Lizbeth tried to think of something special to draw. During sacrament meeting, the bishopric shared their testimonies. Brother Baugh said everyone should make Jesus the center of their lives. That gave Lizbeth an idea. She got out her yellow crayon.

First she drew a big beehive. Then she drew some bees. Each one had wings, stripes, stingers, and even a proboscis—a long nose for drinking nectar. She had to hurry to finish her picture during the closing hymn.

After the meeting, Lizbeth showed Brother Baugh her picture. “Look! For bees, the hive is the center of their lives. And Jesus is the center of our lives. We are the bees, and Jesus is our hive.”

Brother Baugh gave Lizbeth a big smile. “That’s wonderful, Lizbeth! Thank you! I hope you’ll keep saying hello to me at church. I may not be in the bishopric anymore, but I still want to see your great pictures.”

Lizbeth felt warm inside. She knew that Brother Baugh put Jesus at the center of his life too and that he loved her, like Jesus did. She walked to her Primary classroom, humming like a bee. What could she draw next week?