“Hooray!” Andrew yelled when he saw the batch of cookie dough that his mother was putting into the refrigerator. “That means tomorrow is ‘Cookie Sunday!’”
“Yes,” replied his mother. “Do you remember what you must do to earn these cookies?”
“I remember. I just need to tell you one thing that I learned in sacrament meeting. That’s easy.”
“You’re right, Andrew. It’s too easy for a big boy like you. This time I want you to tell me three things that you learned.”
“Three!” Andrew took a closer look at the cookie dough. “Is it chocolate chip?”
His mother nodded. “You know, Andrew, listening longer will help you be reverent longer too.”
When the bishop stood up at church after the sacrament had been passed the next day, Andrew forgot to listen. He was busy looking at his favorite book about Jesus. He especially liked the picture of Jesus with the children. He liked to imagine that he was one of those children and that Jesus was smiling at him.
Mother tapped Andrew on the arm as the first speaker stood up. It was Samuel Jenkins, a friend of Andrew’s big brother. Andrew liked Samuel because he sometimes let Andrew play with his basketball. He gave Samuel a big smile, and Samuel smiled back! Then he started his talk. Andrew listened hard. Samuel said that he was saving his money to go on a mission. I’m saving my money, too, Andrew thought. He had a special box that had a place for his tithing, his missionary savings, and his spending money. He was saving his spending money to buy a red toy truck just like the one Toby had. Where is Toby today? he wondered. Andrew saw Toby’s father and baby brother sitting in front of them, but Toby wasn’t there. Toby was his best friend, and he had taught Andrew how to tie his shoes. Andrew was leaning down to see if his shoes needed tying, when his mother tapped him on the back. Oh-oh, thought Andrew, I’m not listening any more.
Andrew looked up just in time to see Samuel sit down and another man take his place. The man’s name was Jethro Williams. He and his family had just moved into the ward. Andrew thought that Brother Williams had kind eyes. Brother Williams was introducing his family, so Andrew turned around to locate them in the congregation. He didn’t see any boys his age in the family, but there was a little girl. Andrew also looked around for Toby, but he didn’t see him. He did see his friend Jacob, though, and gave him a little wave. Andrew felt his mother’s hand on his shoulder, so he quietly turned around and saw Brother Williams opening his scriptures.
One day I’ll have my own scriptures too, Andrew thought. My scriptures will have a black cover like Dad’s, with pages that make a whispering sound when you turn them. He leaned over and saw that a lot of words in Dad’s scriptures had red-pencil lines under them. That meant that the words were extra special.
Brother Williams was reading something about the Lamanites, so Andrew opened his Book of Mormon Storybook and turned to his favorite story about Samuel the Lamanite. He was still busy looking at the pictures when he heard the organ start to play. Is the meeting over already? Andrew wondered. No, it’s just a rest hymn, he decided as the congregation sang “The Spirit of God.” Andrew sang especially loud on the chorus. In Primary the music leader had said that when the children sang the chorus, they sounded like angels.
After the song, Sister Williams stood up. She had a soft voice that reminded Andrew of his Primary teacher. His Primary teacher often said, “Bless your heart.” Andrew listened hard to hear if Sister Williams would say that, too, but she didn’t. Instead, she said another word a lot. She said, “thankful.” Andrew listened, and he counted on his fingers that she said it five times!
She really is thankful, Andrew thought.
Then Sister Williams began to cry a little. Andrew used to feel funny when grown-ups cried in church, but his mother told him that people sometimes cry when they feel very happy inside because of their blessings. Andrew decided to count his own blessings. He thought of his new bicycle that he was learning to ride and of his pet gerbil, Blacky. Then he thought of Amanda, his baby sister, who was asleep on Dad’s lap. Andrew was reaching over to pat Amanda’s curly head when the organ began to play again. The meeting was almost over! This time it was a hymn that Andrew didn’t know, but he helped hold the book for his mother and hummed softly.
After dinner that afternoon, Andrew’s mother got out the bowl of cookie dough. “Well, Andrew,” she said, “tell me what you learned today.”
Andrew thought hard. “Samuel Jenkins talked about saving for his mission. He told me that when he goes on his mission, he’ll give me his basketball! Isn’t that great?”
Mother nodded. “Yes, that’s great. And I’m glad that you were listening when he talked about being a missionary. What else did you learn?”
“I learned that we have a new girl named Sarah Williams in our Primary class. Her father had her stand up in sacrament meeting. In Primary I found out that she likes chocolate chip cookies, just like me!”
Mother smiled. “OK, Andrew. That counts. Shall we take her some cookies to share with her family today?”
“OK, Mom.” Andrew’s eyes lit up. “And could we take some to Toby too? He wasn’t at church today because he’s sick.”
“That’s a good idea,” said Mother. “But first you need to tell me one more thing that you learned today.”
Andrew spoke slowly, “Well, Sister Williams was thankful for five things, and in church I could only think of three things that I was thankful for. But now I’ve thought of two more.”
“What are they?”
“I’m thankful for all my friends and for chocolate chip cookies to share with them!”