Nothing but Good

by Lisa A. Johnson

Assistant Editor

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    All missionary efforts don’t turn out exactly the way you hope. Even so, you’ll find they usually bring …

    “What a bizarre dream!” I panted as I fought to extricate myself from a wild tangle of blankets and sheets.

    Actually, it wasn’t the dream that had me in such a hyped condition. The dream itself had been very simple, sweet, and straightforward. But the anxiety the dream caused had me tossing and turning in my bed for at least an hour before I had to be up for seminary.

    The dream’s message, straight and clear, was this:

    Write your testimony in a copy of the Book of Mormon and give it to Beau McFadden.

    Beau McFadden? Easier dreamed than done. Beau McFadden was the massive first baseman on our high school baseball team. He was at least six foot three, all muscle, and all male. Although he was friendly enough and smiled often, his lip usually bulged with a wad of chew, and the few words he spoke were punctuated by expletives and spurts of tobacco juice.

    Now, I did have better access to Beau than most girls, since I kept stats for the baseball team and spent long hours in the dugout and on the bus with them. But, as a semi-sheltered female, I always felt a little foreign in their rough, tough “man’s” world. I’d be even more foreign, probably a total pariah, if I tried to introduce religion into that atmosphere.

    Still, the dream had been explicit. I was to share the gospel with Beau McFadden.

    I’d just about written the whole thing off to indigestion from the french fries and hot fudge sundae I’d had for dinner the night before. But when I got to seminary that morning, I knew the dream was not a fluke of my digestive tract. Brother Greaves gave a very intense lesson on missionary work, and he seemed to be looking straight at me the whole time. I always knew that man was inspired.

    So I went to school that day determined to formulate a plan. We had a home game in the afternoon, and Beau went 0 for 3 and made two errors. That wouldn’t exactly put him in high spirits. I wasn’t discouraged though. I thought it might humble him a little. He’d realize he couldn’t rely on the arm of flesh for his happiness (especially not the arm of the pitcher he faced that day). He’d figure he needed some outside help with his life—the kind the Book of Mormon can give.

    With those thoughts in my mind I went home, closed the door of my room, and got down on my knees to say a very long, very sincere prayer. I knew I couldn’t do this without help, and I knew the Lord would provide it. He did. And before long, the testimony was written and the book was ready.

    Now—how to deliver it. It wasn’t exactly the type of thing you toss at someone in the dugout. And if anyone saw me passing it to him in the halls at school, neither one of us would ever live it down. I ended up deciding on the least potentially embarrassing option. I wrapped it in brown paper and sent it to him in the mail.

    Then the waiting started. Since we lived in a relatively small town, I figured it might take three days tops for him to receive the package. So on the third day I went to school with a million expectations. I’d even planned a few words of testimony I would use when he came to thank me for my gesture.

    It was such an inspired idea I was sure he would have eagerly unwrapped it, then immediately sequestered himself in his room to pore over it from cover to cover. He’d emerge the next morning requesting baptism. A mission would follow in a year or two, then … But first he had to come to seek me out, and with gleaming eyes thank me for the best gift he’d ever been given.

    Well, I waited all that day, and all the next week. Could the U.S. mail be so slow? For months I waited, and the months stretched into a couple of years. My best-case scenario never happened. As a matter of fact, nothing ever happened. Absolutely nothing. Beau just kept on smiling, chewing, and cussing, never even acknowledging my gift. And I was too self-conscious to mention it to him.

    But you know what? I’ll never regret doing it. As a matter of fact, I’m really glad I did. To this day I don’t know how it affected Beau, but I know how it affected me. It taught me how to recognize the promptings of the Spirit and how to work with the Lord in following them. It showed the Lord that He could trust me to do His bidding. Later, my experiences with Beau would come in handy as other friends of mine investigated and joined the Church.

    And for all I know, I might have planted some seeds in Beau. If you see a big guy out there, smiling and chewing, try watering those seeds for me, will you? In the meantime, you can use the guidance of the Spirit to plant a few seeds of your own. Even if the response is nothing, I can guarantee you the experience will be nothing but good.

    Photography by Phil Shurtleff