As our family prepared to be sealed in the Logan Utah Temple, we recommitted ourselves to living the gospel of Jesus Christ. In particular, we made a commitment to the Lord that we would always pay tithing. Shortly after our sealing, we moved to Wyoming, USA, to try our hand at farming.
It was late April when we started preparing our 300 acres (121 ha) of land. We burned the sagebrush, leveled the land, and dug ditches. When we finally started to plant, it was late in the planting season. I decided to plant barley, which has a short growing season.
I had planted several acres when a local rancher came over and said, “You are wasting your time, energy, and money in this endeavor. It’s too late. Your crop will freeze by August 21!”
He scooped up a handful of soil and continued, “You have dried out the ground with all your raking, burning, and leveling. Your seeds will not germinate without moisture.”
I knew the soil was too dry, but we had already invested much of our money in the crop, so I decided to keep planting. I had faith that because we had done our best to prepare the land and because we were full-tithe payers, Heavenly Father would assist us. After planting everything, I knelt in prayer with my family, asking for His help.
The next day it began to rain, a perfect rain that was gentle enough that it did not wash away our seeds or the soft soil on the hills. Our fervent prayers and long, hard days of work had not been in vain.
Throughout the spring and summer, we worked 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week, irrigating, fencing, and preparing for the harvest. We also kept our promises to the Lord by paying tithing and serving diligently in our ward callings. The grain grew beautifully and bountifully; the barley plants seemed to jump out of the ground. As the end of the season drew near, however, we worried that it would become too cold for our crops to survive. We prayed that God would preserve our crops, and we had faith that He would fulfill His promise to those who pay tithing: “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground” (Malachi 3:11).
The dreaded day, August 21, came, and so did the frost. But as I went into the fields the next day, I saw that our crops had been preserved. Several weeks later our barley harvest filled many truckloads, which we were able to sell for a considerable profit.
The following summer our acres of alfalfa and barley were a bright green in the middle of that dusty sagebrush landscape. One day in late August, I was irrigating when I saw a powerful dark storm coming. “Oh, no,” I thought, “hail!” I knelt in the field to pray, knowing that our crops could be destroyed. The storm came fast. I could see hail coming down to the north and south of my fields. I walked to our fence line on the north. Hail had fallen just inside the fence line but no farther. I quickly went to our south fence line. There hail had fallen just outside our fence line. Our crops were untouched!
Our neighbors were impressed with how fortunate we had been, and I recalled the words of Malachi that “all nations shall call you blessed” (Malachi 3:12). Truly we had been blessed. I am grateful that as we do our best to obey God’s commands, He keeps His promises.