I’m Never Going Home Teaching Again!
Christine Francom, California, USA
My 15-year-old son was excited about the many things going on in his life—friends, skateboards, cars, and his learner’s driving permit. He was not, however, excited about his responsibilities as a home teacher.
My heart sank one Sunday when he said, “Home teaching is a waste of time. I’m going to call my adviser and tell him that he needs to get someone else because I’m never going home teaching again!”
Before he had the opportunity to find his priesthood adviser’s name in the ward directory, however, the telephone rang. It was his newly assigned home teaching companion, Brother Bernd Suckow, who spoke with a thick German accent.
“Toby, I’m coming to get you right now,” he said. “You are my new companion, and I thought we could make a few visits. It is good? OK. Good-bye.”
Brother Suckow was either inspired not to wait for a response, or he assumed that Toby’s surprised silence was synonymous with consent. Either way, 10 minutes later there came a knock at the door. Before Toby could protest, an ebullient man had pulled him outside and stuffed a set of car keys into his hand.
“Your name is Toby? Nice to meet you,” Brother Suckow said. “Toby, it is the Sabbath, and I test-drive cars for a living. I think it is not so good for me to drive on the Sabbath since it is my vocation. Can you help me out? Do you have a driving permit? Can you drive us to our home teaching appointments?”
Toby’s jaw dropped as he saw the late-model sports car that Brother Suckow was test-driving that week. He quickly realized that he had almost lost what promised to be a memorable home teaching assignment.
When they returned a short while later, Toby showed Brother Suckow some new computer equipment, and they were soon talking about the latest trends in technology. When he left, Brother Suckow said, “I think it is good if we finish up our home teaching visits next Sunday. What do you think, Toby?”
Toby’s little brother blurted out, “Can I be a home teacher too?”
Toby never hesitated when it came time to home teach with Brother Suckow. After a few months, home teaching was no longer about the nice cars he had the opportunity to drive. Rather, Brother Suckow had become a genuine friend, and Toby learned how important home teaching was to the families they visited.
Brother Suckow and his wife, Barbara, eventually returned to Germany. Our stake misses them greatly. I will never forget Brother Suckow’s powerful example of love for a young man whose testimony of home teaching needed a jump start.
A Long-Lost Treasure
David R. Hanks, Arizona, USA
Not long ago, as I sat waiting for the opening exercises of priesthood meeting, my home teaching companion mentioned that my scriptures were in the ward lost and found.
When I looked to my side, however, I saw that I still had my new set of scriptures, which my wife had given me. As for my old set, they were sitting in a basket next to a chair in our front room. I was puzzled.
“What’s your middle initial?” my companion asked.
“R,” I said.
“That’s what the name said,” he replied. “I’ll go get them for you.”
He returned a moment later and handed me a Bible with my name in faded gold letters on the front. I recognized it immediately. I struggled to unzip the old black cover. The book fell open to the first page, which bore a note in my father’s handwriting. I was holding the Bible that my parents had given me for my 12th birthday.
I was now living in Arizona, and the last time I had seen this Bible, I was living in Utah, preparing for a mission. I took my seminary set of scriptures with me to the mission field and left this Bible home. I found the odds staggering that my old Bible could have somehow made its way, over the course of 30 years, from my parents’ home in Utah to my ward building in Arizona.
My father, a student of the scriptures, instilled in me at an early age a desire to read and study the word of God. A portion of the note he wrote in my Bible gave me counsel as a preface to my receiving the Aaronic Priesthood:
“David, on this, your 12th birthday, you will receive the priesthood of Aaron as a deacon and become a servant of the Lord, even as your namesake, David the king. As he behaved himself wisely, the Lord blessed him.
“So shall it be with you. If you will behave yourself wisely and follow the Lord, He will bless you and call you to serve Him.
“Be strong and faithful, Son. Study this book diligently, and it will give you strength.”
My father’s words are as meaningful to me now as they were 30 years ago, perhaps even more so. How grateful I am to have again received the gift of my first Bible with the timeless counsel of my father.
I Remembered the Savior
Iris Adriana Leal Castilla, Colombia
Some time ago I went through a period in which I was plagued with many personal problems and felt that I had nobody to help me solve them. I was attending church regularly but had not been successful in finding solutions to my difficulties. Fear often overcame me, especially during the night. I was very unhappy.
One day when I was feeling particularly distraught, I tried to get in touch with the mission president. On another day I had a strong desire to reach the President of the Church. I thought if I could just speak with or write to him, he would give me the answers I sought.
While in this troubled state of mind, I attended a session of district conference in Cúcuta, Colombia. I found the answer I needed during a talk by the mission president. When President Canals asked, “When is the last time you had a spiritual experience?” I realized that I had been so preoccupied with trying to find someone to help me solve my problems that I had forgotten the Savior’s call to draw near unto Him (see D&C 88:63). In my rush to find a solution, I had forgotten the Being who had power to give me peace in my afflictions and to answer my prayers.
That very day I started the process of drawing nearer to my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I told Heavenly Father of my fear and anguish, and I prayed in the name of Jesus Christ that I might have His Spirit to be with me. I dropped all of my burdens at the Savior’s feet, remembering His promise: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
I still don’t have all the answers to my personal problems, but I have received strength and comfort. I have also received impressions that if I live a righteous life, keep the commandments, and serve the Lord with all my heart, He will help me solve my problems or give me strength to endure them (see Mosiah 24:14).
The Key to Prayer
Mark Burns, Utah, USA
I had recently returned home from a full-time mission and was blessed to find a job that would enable me to save money for college tuition. I was eager to be productive so my employer would hire other returned missionaries.
My work was simple: I did whatever odd jobs needed to be done for a construction engineering company. This often meant performing simple laboratory tests. On one particular day, I was scheduled to pick up samples of construction materials from several sites and return them to the lab. I was given an old truck to make my rounds, and off I went.
I arrived at the first site, greeted the foreman, and quickly found the samples of concrete and steel. After placing them in the truck, I reached into my pocket for the truck key. To my alarm, my pocket was empty. I checked the ignition and took a quick look around the truck cab but did not find the key. It occurred to me that I might have dropped it while walking through the construction site. As I retraced my steps, I said a silent prayer, but I still couldn’t find the key.
I then searched the truck more thoroughly, even looking under the floor mats. No key. I bowed my head and sincerely prayed, explaining that I wanted to be productive and not be delayed at the first stop of the day. I began searching again while listening for an answer to my prayer. I felt an impression to look under the truck, so I took a quick, doubting glance at the ground near my feet. I still saw no key, so I decided to make another trip around the construction site.
When I returned to the truck, I was still empty-handed. How could I tell my new employer that I had lost the key and hadn’t been able to complete such an easy task? I quietly said one more prayer, and the impression to look under the truck came again. I gave another quick glance, and when I didn’t see the key, I was about to push the impression away. But then I decided to take a few steps away from the truck and look again.
Suddenly I saw it! It must have fallen when I got out of the truck. It was just far enough under the truck that I hadn’t seen it the first two times I looked. I was ashamed that I hadn’t listened better to the promptings of the Spirit.
That day and many times since, I have reflected on how patiently and lovingly the Spirit works with me. When we sing, “I know my Father lives and loves me too” (“I Know My Father Lives,” Hymns, no. 302), my heart swells. I am amazed that our Father loves us so much that He will answer our simplest prayers.
Illustrations by Daniel Lewis