“I Knew She’d Be Here Today”

By Ole M. Smith

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    While living in Puerto Rico several years ago, I had a home teaching partner who, like me, was a lifelong Church member and a returned missionary. Both of us were confident of our gospel knowledge. But we were taught an invaluable gospel lesson by an eight-year-old boy who did no more than exercise the simple faith we are all counseled to live by.

    Bill and I had been assigned to home teach Sister Lambert. She was an older lady, one of the first members in Puerto Rico. But when her husband left her, she began to devote more time to her small business of selling plants and seeds. We saw her less and less often at church meetings and activities.

    It also became more difficult to find her at home. However, Bill and I managed to visit her regularly. We showed up each month with specially prepared lessons and did our best to reactivate her, but nothing seemed to work. She said she had a strong testimony of the gospel, and yet she would not attend church.

    One Sunday I called to see if Sister Lambert had arrived home early. When she answered the phone, I knew that Bill and I should visit her right away. But as luck would have it, Bill was away on a high council assignment.

    My mind raced with ideas, but I dismissed them until the right one presented itself: I got Trent, my recently baptized son, to accompany me.

    “Throw on a tie, Trent,” I directed. “You and I are going home teaching.”

    He was surprised, but proudly grabbed his tie, looped it around his neck, and away we went.

    On the way to Sister Lambert’s home, I felt inspired to have Trent give the message. So as I drove, I discussed the topic with him. By the time we arrived, he was ready.

    I can still remember Sister Lambert’s smile when she greeted young Trent. After we had chatted awhile, Trent gave a beautiful lesson. We left feeling good about our visit.

    A few weeks passed, and on the evening before fast Sunday, I reminded Trent of the goal he’d recently set to fast on fast days. I recounted the blessings that fasting brings and explained that a fast should have a purpose. “If it is a righteous desire,” I told him, “the Lord will help you make it a reality.”

    “I know, Dad,” he replied. “I already have a special purpose for my fast.”

    When we entered the chapel the next afternoon, I could hardly believe my eyes. She hadn’t come to church in a long time, but there she was—Sister Lambert.

    It took us awhile, I thought, but Bill and I had finally gotten through to her. She had heard our messages and felt our concern after all.

    Then, to let Trent, too, feel the thrill of the experience, I leaned over and whispered, “Aren’t you happy and amazed that Sister Lambert is here today? You helped, you know.”

    His answer left me speechless. “I’m very happy, Dad,” he said, “but I’m not surprised. I fasted so that she would come back to church. I knew she’d be here today.”

    I was grateful for the chance to see her life—and mine—touched by a child’s faith in fasting.

    Photograph by John Luke