Three Centavos

Three centavos might sound like small change, but finding them added up to a very big change in my life.

“No, bishop, I don’t think I’m going on a mission.”

These were my words as I declined every invitation from my bishop to consider going on a mission. When my family became members of the Church, there were many things we had to learn and unlearn. Being first-generation Church members, in our family going on a mission was something we neither discussed nor considered. It seemed like a big sacrifice.

Still, I was an active member of the Church. I would attend all my meetings and accept responsibilities as they were extended. I was in my second year of studying accounting when the bishop called me to be the financial clerk.

One Wednesday, I was faced with trying to find an error in the records. I felt helpless as I labored to find the three centavos’ difference between the Church’s and the bank’s records. The report was due the next day and that compounded my problem. The only sensible thing to do was to ask for help.

I approached my bishop and explained my predicament. It surprised me that instead of immediately reviewing the report, he invited me to kneel and pray with him as we explained our problem to the Lord. When we got up from our knees, the bishop asked to see the report. Almost immediately and without using a calculator, he pointed to a column and said, “This is where your problem is.”

I totaled the numbers, and, sure enough, he was right. I felt overwhelmed. It seemed I had just witnessed a miracle. My young and feeble testimony of the Church was strengthened. I gained a stronger conviction that this was the true Church.

While I was still wrapped up in this experience, the bishop asked, “Now are you going on a mission?”

This time, I said yes.

As I left the meetinghouse that night, I had with me all the missionary papers I needed to fill out. Within a few months from when my bishop submitted my missionary recommendation form, I was called to serve a full-time mission in the Philippines Baguio Mission.

It has been many years since that night. After completing a two-year mission, I returned to school and obtained my college degree, four years behind the normal age. If I had to do it over again I would still choose to serve.

I’m thankful for a bishop who obeyed a prompting to ask the right question at the right time. I’m also thankful to Heavenly Father who not only helped me find the three centavos to reconcile my report but who also led me to a wealth of missionary experiences without price.

[illustration] Illustrated by Greg Newbold