The Gift


As I walked down the dusty, Brazilian country road, my mind strayed to a day in my childhood. Now, I was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was serving the Lord as a missionary. But the setting took my mind back to a loving aunt, a wonderful day, and a promise.

Aunt Rocilda and her family lived on a large farm. Our extended family was very important to us and we loved to visit her. Since a day in the country was a day away from the pressures of everyday life, I always looked forward to our visits to the country—especially Aunt Rocilda’s farm. I could tell that one of her greatest joys in life was making me happy.

One particular day, I had played hard and taken advantage of every opportunity to enjoy the farm. Aunt Rocilda had given me a fish to take home and it seemed that she had shown me her love more than ever that day.

As I prepared to leave, I hugged her and made her a promise; I wanted to somehow repay her for her Christlike love. “Someday,” I said with the sincerity of youth, “I will go to Sao Paolo and I will bring you back a big gift.”

As I grew up, the dream of Sao Paolo never faded, though the remembrance of my promise did. One day I learned that Aunt Rocilda had died. As I mourned, I remembered my promise to her and I grieved that I would never be able to fulfill it.

However, I did go to Sao Paolo and there I met two Latter-day Saint missionaries. After being baptized, I worked toward a mission and the blessings of the temple. As I entered the Missionary Training Center in Sao Paolo, I thought of my aunt. What would be the greatest possible gift I could give her? I felt a strong desire to share the blessings of the gospel with Aunt Rocilda, and I made sure that temple ordinance work was done in her name.

Though Aunt Rocilda didn’t receive the “big gift” in this, earthly life, I feel that she has accepted the greater, eternal gift.

[illustration] Illustrated by Perry Vanshelt