Friend to Friend


Elder Derek A. Cuthbert

“Missionaries from the Western United States knocked on my door in England many years ago. After telling my wife and me that they were representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, they told us that the Book of Mormon was the word of God and that it had been translated from ancient records by the power of God. They told us how this wonderful book came to be. As I looked at it, a warm feeling came over me and I knew that the writings were true. I still had to read more and then pray before I knew that the young boy, Joseph Smith, whom the Lord used to translate the Book of Mormon, was indeed a prophet. My family and I were baptized. A desire to know the truth, coupled with study and prayer, gave me a testimony. Everyone can receive the same blessing through study and prayer. President Benson has challenged every member of the Church to read the Book of Mormon every day because it will bring us nearer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus than any other book.”

Recalling his childhood in the Church of England, Elder Cuthbert said, “I sang in the church choir in three services each Sunday. When I was eleven, the choirmistress went to Zululand, South Africa, as a missionary. Her example helped me become interested in missionary work at an early age.

“After I joined the Lord’s true Church, He called me as a district missionary, then as a stake missionary, and later as a mission president. Now, as a General Authority, I will always be a missionary. A Seventy is a special witness of Jesus Christ to all the world.

“I am sure that you Primary children know many missionaries, some perhaps in your own family. They are examples for you to follow; Jesus wants all of us to be missionaries. One of my favorite scriptures is in Matthew, when Jesus was instructing His apostles just before He ascended into heaven: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’ (Matt. 28:19). He is saying the same to us today through His prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson. Boys and girls, start preparing for your missions now—by study, by prayer, and by helping others.

“I have seen many examples of faith and courage among young missionaries in the Church. Ian Menzies, a missionary in Scotland, said, ‘I must finish my mission,’ even though he had a tumor on his brain. Through faith and determination and priesthood administration, he accomplished what others said was impossible. Peter Chaya, a missionary in Africa, fulfilled his mission on crutches. He had lost the use of both legs through polio when he was a child. Pip Lees served as a stake missionary in England. Her companion pushed her door to door in a wheelchair for two years.

“During December 1987, I had some Church assignments in Bolivia, a beautiful South American country where the Church is growing rapidly. The Regional Representative at that time, Elder Philip Kradolfer, accompanied me, and he had a large suitcase full of toys. Just before Christmas each year, his children give some of their best toys to less fortunate children living in the Altiplano of Bolivia. It was wonderful to see the children’s faces as they received a doll, a game, a book, or a purse. Jesus taught that it is better to give than to receive, and I am sure that you have felt the same happiness when you have been a secret helper.”

Elder Cuthbert said that while serving in South America, “I met many people who had little to eat, living in very poor housing conditions. Many are hearing the gospel and are being baptized. The children are attending Primary and are preparing for missions, just like you.

“In your prayers, would you remember these boys and girls who have a very hard life? As you prayerfully express thanks for the blessings that you enjoy, fill yourself up with gratitude and let it overflow into service. If you help other children, you will not want so much for yourselves.”

[photo] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 28:19).