Instant Messages

By


The Ram Phantom

My friends and I crept up to the darkened porch. We placed the package in the middle of the welcome mat and pressed the doorbell, setting off a ring inside the house. The three of us ran and hid behind some bushes.

A light went on, and we watched as the object of our “attack” opened the front door and looked around before noticing what lay at her feet. She bent down, picked it up, and stood there on the porch reading the letter we’d written just for her. A smile slowly crept across her face, and her eyes scanned the area. Seeing nothing unusual—we were too well-hidden—she took her treat into the house.

It was just after the school year began. A few of us had wanted to make our senior year extra special. We decided to take our fellow seniors some cookies and a special note, telling them something we admired about them and calling ourselves the “Ram Phantom” because our school mascot was a ram. It took only once, and we were addicted. Soon every Saturday night was spent coming up with people we thought needed a pick-me-up.

That night Andrea (name has been changed) was on our list. I was especially excited because she was also in my ward. Andrea was painfully shy, and I had watched her all week at school, noticing that she seemed even more down than usual. So when we were discussing names, I made sure to bring her up.

The next day during Young Women, the lesson was on service. Our teacher asked for examples of service given and received. The entire class was surprised when Andrea’s hand went up. She said she had been having a really hard time lately. In her prayers she had been asking Heavenly Father to show her that someone noticed her, that someone really cared. Then last night, the doorbell rang, and someone had left her cookies and a note. She told us it was an answer to her prayers to know that someone thought good things about her.

At school the next day I noticed a change in Andrea. She looked people in the eye, perhaps wondering if they were the Ram Phantom. I told my friends what Andrea had said, and a feeling of peace settled over us, knowing we’d made a little difference in someone’s life.

[illustration] Illustrated by Sam Lawlor

Laurie Walker is a member of the Granger Sixth Ward, Salt Lake Granger East Stake.

Every Single Cent

I have a 12-year-old brother named Carson, and he knows how to save his money. He pays tithing on everything he earns, and the rest goes straight to savings. Our family had been planning on leaving for a vacation at the end of January, and Carson had saved every dime for a year.

At the time the tsunami hit Indonesia last December, we watched the news night after night and saw the death toll mount. We prayed for the people who were suffering. It was hard for us to imagine the damage done by the tsunami when we have never experienced that kind of disaster, but my brother, Carson, brought a lesson about this tragedy close to home.

The Sunday after the tsunami, our bishop said that extra fast offerings for the Asian countries would be greatly appreciated. As soon as we got home from church that day, Carson ran to his room and got the money that he had been saving so carefully. He had saved over $200! He came downstairs, grabbed a tithing slip, and began filling it out. My mom saw what was happening and broke down in tears. Soon the whole family surrounded our 12-year-old brother to watch him give away every nickel of his vacation money to fast offerings. Carson showed us all that the Lord comes first.

[photo] Photograph by Candelaria Atalaya

Darillyn Bell is a member of the Washington Fields Seventh Ward, St. George Utah Washington Fields Stake.

Right beside Me

My favorite hymn is one of peace and serenity, which eases the more difficult times in my life. This hymn is “Abide with Me; ’Tis Eventide” (Hymns, no. 165). Each time I sing this hymn I can imagine my Savior, Jesus Christ, right beside me—walking, praying, teaching. Memorizing this hymn has helped me remember that although the shadows of gloom come, we are loved, for a new dawn awaits us. He is there, if only we ask.

Scott Reed Cooper is a member of the Lindon Seventh Ward, Lindon Utah Central Stake.